Thursday 24 October 2019

Galway West: 'Ordinary members of Fianna Fail do not want alliance with Fianna Gael' says Eamon O Cuiv as he tops poll

Eamon O'Cuiv who retained his seat celebrates at the Galway West count centre for the General Election 2016 in the Bailey Allen Hall NUI, Galway
Eamon O'Cuiv who retained his seat celebrates at the Galway West count centre for the General Election 2016 in the Bailey Allen Hall NUI, Galway
Eamon O'Cuiv, who was just elected and his wife Aine (pink top) with their family from left Sean O Bioragra and wife Emer Ni Chuiv with their children Aine, Sean , Eamon, and Mairead Ni Bhioragra, with Anna Murphy and her fiancé Eamon O Cuiv.
Fianna Fail's Éamon Ó Cuív

John Fallon

Eamon O Cuiv said that ordinary members of Fianna Fail do not want an alliance with Fine Gael and he can’t see that position changing.

And the grandson of Eamon de Valera, who topped the poll in Galway West, said doing a deal with Fine Gael would fly in the face of everything they stated they would do on the hustings.

“I certainly wouldn’t advocate it because I believe your word is your bond. And we said that quite clearly in this election, and we fought this election on the basis that we weren’t going with Fine Gael.

“People get cynical about politics when people say one thing in an election and do the opposite and that’s one of the prices that Labour have played.

“They said it was going to be their way not Frankfurt’s way, it turned out to be Frankfurt’s way and the electorate are very annoyed,” he said.

Mr O Cuiv said that it would be up to the general membership of Fianna Fail to initiate a change in direction and until that was forthcoming then he believes a deal can’t be contemplated.

“The second thing is of course this has to go an Ard Fheis of the party, and certainly we were getting the word from our own members in particular who were canvassing. The people who were doing all of the hard work for the party, the people who are the party at the end of the day were elective representatives.

“But the party belongs to the ordinary person who pays the €20 a year like I do. They were sending a very clear message that they wanted us to pursue our policies, that they would see us being totally incompatible with Fine Gael policies.”

Mr O Cuiv said it was very difficult to predict what the party may decide in the future but he said he has not detected any willingness on the ground to get into bed with the arch rivals.

“Maybe an Ard Fheis will vote differently, but certainly the people that I was in contact with definitely do not favour that. But the other thing is, I would see major policy differences between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

“The other possibility of course in the next Dail, is that we move to a more continental manner of doing business. There has been a lot of criticism of the Dail that the government can ram things through. Maybe we can get a Dail that the Dail is in control of the government. And that the government will really have to answer to the Dail and maybe that is no bad thing.”

He said that if party leader Micheal Martin approaches him this week seeking his view on an alliance with Fine Gael, he will have one answer: “What I would say is let’s put it to an Ard Fheis Michael. Let’s put it to our own members.”

The two Fianna Fail members in Galway West who were not elected also reiterated Mr O Cuiv’s view.

County councillor Mary Hoade also said they would have to go back to the grassroots members to get a mandate to join up with Fine Gael.

“We have to seek a mandate from the organisation to ensure that we can go into coalition, or who we are going into coalition with.

“I think it is very important that we have a stable government after a few difficult years for people but we can’t have a change in direction without getting that mandate from the members,”she said.

City councillor John Connolly said there was also a significant difference in the policies of Fine Gael and they would need to be addressed as part of any move to link up with them.

“I’d be very reluctant to see us going in with Fine Gael. They more obsessed with cutting taxes for the wealthy than putting money into public services.

“My personal sense is that what gives politics a bad name is to say one thing prior to an election and then to do the opposite,” he said.

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