Amanda, you've made up my mind, McDaid told nurse before quitting
Published 05/11/2010 | 05:00
A quietly spoken nurse's heartfelt contribution to a meeting prompted Jim McDaid to quit politics, the former TD revealed yesterday.
At a meeting in Letterkenny on Monday night, Amanda McCoy had appealed to politicians to stop fighting and turn their attentions toward how best to preserve health services for the people of Donegal.
When the meeting ended, the maverick Fianna Fail TD approached her and said: "I think you have just made up my mind for me."
Hours later, without even the knowledge of his second wife, Siobhan, he had tendered his resignation, bringing to an abrupt end a controversial 21-year political career.
Speaking to the Irish Independent yesterday, Amanda McCoy said she had no idea her words would have had such an impact.
"I was very nervous. It was a very rough meeting. Everyone was getting heckled and it just wasn't nice.
"I had gone there to see how the health services that people need so badly could be preserved and they were not talking about that at all," she explained.
For the former public representative, who had been teetering at the edge of quitting for months, Amanda's contribution compounded his sense of helplessness as a politician.
"She changed the whole tone of the meeting. Generally, I felt useless and helpless because I wasn't able to influence government policy," he said.
In an interview with the Irish Independent yesterday, he described his final years in Fianna Fail, without the party whip, as "hurtful".
"As Roy Keane said, you are just a piece of meat. It did hurt. I could have gone back when they did a u-turn on the cervical cancer vaccination but while I was out, a vacuum developed between myself and party headquarters and they tended to rub my nose in it a bit with different things," he said.
He ruled out any possibility of returning to the political arena as an independent candidate.
"Donegal NE has been a staunchly Fianna Fail stronghold through the years. I have a big backing but they are Fianna Fail people and I would never create another independent Fianna Fail party," he said.
The 61-year-old said he had yet to make his mind up on what to do with the time he now has on his hands.