FF dissenter provokes clash with Cowen
THE dissenting Fianna Fail activist who called for the sacking of six government ministers this weekend once upbraided the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, for his disinterest and failing to listen during a grass roots party meeting in Cork.
Jerry Beades, a member of the party's national executive, wrote an angry letter to Mr Cowen following a heated party meeting in Cork last April. The meeting of national executive members was called to discuss the economy and increasing competitiveness. It ended in angry exchanges between Mr Beades and the Taoiseach, whom he accused of not paying enough attention to what delegates had to say.
It is believed that Mr Beades also criticised the Taoiseach for summoning delegates to Cork in the first place for a lacklustre meeting six weeks before local elections.
Mr Beades caused more upset for Brian Cowen last Friday when he went on the six o'clock news demanding leadership from the Taoiseach. He earmarked Dermot Ahern in Justice, Noel Dempsey in Transport, Martin Cullen in Arts, Sports and Tourism, and Eamon O Cuiv in Community and Gaeltacht affairs, as amongst those who should go.
He called for six new faces to be brought to the cabinet table. "What people want is decisive leadership. Mary Coughlan has been a very poor performer. Dermot Ahern this week hasn't done himself any favours in terms of defending Willie O'Dea," he said.
Mr Beades claimed to be speaking on behalf of the Fianna Fail grass roots who first elected him to the party's national executive in 1995.
Mr Beades refused to comment on his correspondence with the Taoiseach yesterday. He said that his comments on Friday reflected what many ordinary members of the party were thinking. "I have received hundreds of calls since my comments and I hope the Taoiseach listens to what the members of the party are saying," he said.
Mr Beades is a long-standing member of Fianna Fail who is also involved in the Construction Industry Federation and a lobby group for aggrieved banking customers, Friends of Banking.