He was re-elected to the 24th Seanad in 2011, despite pressure on him to resign in order to make way for newer Fianna Fáil candidates, a strategy devised by party leader Micheál Martin due to Fianna Fáil's disastrous result at the 2011 general election.
On 15 September 2011, at a meeting of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party, the issue of the 2011 presidential election was raised. Unexpectedly, Ó Murchú sought to run as an independent candidate. This was widely seen as a challenge to the authority of Micheál Martin. The extended meeting broke up without agreement. The parliamentary party met again on 20 September. Ó Murchú withdrew his request for a nomination and a motion was passed that the party's Oireachtas members would not nominate or endorse any candidate.
He is the Fianna Fáil Seanad spokesperson on Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs.