A family in turmoil. Yes these are the only words to describe a family at war which was the Fianna Fáil party this week.
Last week the news that Dermot Flanagan was putting his name on the ballot paper to help the party here in Mayo gave a lift to the local organisation. (For the younger readers Dermot was one of the men who donned the red and green and tried in vain to bring Sam to Mayo fadó, fadó ). In what must have been one of the shortest campaigns of the grassroots the news broke that Dermot had a change of heart because of work related reasons, well that’s the official line. The word on the street is when he heard Independent local councillor Michael Kilcoyne had not ruled himself out of the race despite it being reported to the contrary, Dermot wisely decided to step aside. It came as a surprise to many people that Westport publican Chris Lavelle was prepared to put his name on the ballot paper. I have great respect for any man or woman who put themselves before the electorate whether it is in a local election for a town council, county council, or in this case Dáil election. This could well be the Independent election, but will Mayo elect two Independent TDs, I think not. Maybe Chris should wait for the next local elections and start there.
Time to go to the park
There is no doubt Brian Cowen is not in a happy place. To quote him, “We are where we are.” With ministers Ahern, Killeen, Dempsey, O’Keefe and Harney standing down from their positions as senior ministers in this Government it is about time Brian has named a date for the election. Numerous Fianna Fáil deputies have indicated their decisions not to put themselves forward for the election so Cowen is surely fighting a losing battle.
It was going to happen sooner or later, but surely bad timing by Micheál Martin in his bid for leadership of the party, or was it? This writer thinks Micheál had a lucky escape but he has surely secured his seat in Cork. Brian Cowen has led us into this mess so he will stay until the electorate tell him what we all know.
Fine Gael can sympathise
Fine Gael supporters will know how the Fianna Fáil faithful are feeling this week as they went through the same leadership challenge not too long ago and it was a particularly worrying time for the Mayo Fine Gaelers but Enda Kenny held on and I am looking forward to the changed landscape that will no doubt come at last to the people of Mayo when we have our own taoiseach with his two Mayo TDs and one Fianna Fáil and one Independent TD all working for Mayo.
The challenge came against Cowen while he was taoiseach. No doubt a challenge will come against Enda when he is taoiseach too. Remember you know where the opposition stand but the enemy is always within your own organisation. It seems like in Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil has those who want to be leaders. I am reminded of “all chiefs and no Indians”.