Friday 9 December 2016

Grealish says he won't join McDowell party

Sam Smyth

Published 18/08/2010 | 05:00

Galway West TD Noel Grealish will not join any new party launched by former PD leader Michael McDowell and insists he will fight the next general election as an independent.

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Mr Grealish spoke about his future plans yesterday after threatening to vote against the Government he has loyally supported since the PDs disbanded last year.

In an interview with the Irish Independent, he said: "I will not be joining Fianna Fail and even if Michael McDowell forms a new party I will still be running as an independent."

Mr Grealish was widely expected to join Fianna Fail after he had talks with Transport Minister Noel Dempsey more than a year ago, when the PDs were splitting. And he disclosed that he had discussions with other parties.

"Fianna Fail approached me and we had talks," said Mr Grealish, but he insisted: "No agreement was made. I will not be joining Fianna Fail."

Mr Grealish's public snub of Fianna Fail comes after he recently threatened to vote against the Government because of cuts to frontline services and health funding.

He has also upped the ante by writing to his former party leader Mary Harney in her role as Health Minister -- and to Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

He is seeking a meeting with both in early September and the outcome could destabilise the Government.

If he was to vote with the opposition, the Government could end up relying on the casting vote of the Ceann Comhairle for its majority.

Speculation about Mr Grealish teaming up with his former leader in the PDs increased through the summer after Mr McDowell spoke about "a gap in the market".

Mr Grealish is building up a formidable organisation in his Galway West constituency.

"I was the only PD to double my vote in the last (2007) general election, when the PD candidates were slaughtered," he said.

"All of the five PD councillors in Galway who ran in the local elections in June last year topped the poll, and in one ward they came first and second," he said.

Irish Independent

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