Taoiseach Brian Cowen has told his parliamentary party that Fianna Fáil has to modernise ahead of the next General Election to produce an organisation that is fit for purpose.

A lengthy meeting last night heard contributions from across the party.

Afterwards, Government Chief Whip Pat Carey said Fianna Fáil was 'down but not out'.

A priority would be 'modernising the party in Dublin to make Fianna Fáil a campaigning organisation again', Mr Carey said.

Over 90 TDs and senators attended the four-and-a-half hour post mortem that heard from over 30 speakers.

Brian Cowen opened the meeting with a frank assessment of the election performance.

He said the party would now begin a three-year process of reorganisation ahead of the next General Election.

There had been similar exercises under Lemass and Lynch, he told the meeting.

Some speakers raised the question of a reshuffle of ministers but the main thrust last night appears to have been shortcomings in party organisation.

With both the Greens and Fianna Fáil closing ranks after disastrous elections results there was no open criticism of the leadership.