Fine Gael TD criticises ‘know your place’ Dail mentality

Eoghan Murphy TD has criticised Fine Gael's mentality

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

A FINE Gael TD has attacked the Dail mentality of "know your place lad and bide your time" in a strong criticism of how his own Government operates.

Dublin South-East TD Eoghan Murphy also said Dail reform should not be contingent on the abolition of the Seanad, which Taoiseach Enda Kenny is proposing.

In a speech to the MacGill Summer School in Glenties, Co Donegal, Mr Murphy sketched a day in the life of a Government backbencher in a speech called 'Show Up and Shut Up'.

He suggested TDs are only there to turn up and vote, criticised how bills are guillotined in the Dail, called for a relaxing of the strict operation of the whip system, and said anyone who speaks up at parliamentary party meetings are labelled as troublemakers.

And Mr Murphy - seen as the leader of the so-called "five-a-side club" of younger Fine Gael TDs who meet privately to discuss policy - also said bill amendments and proposals tabled by backbenchers are unlikely to be adopted by ministers.

Another Government TD, Labour Dublin North-Central deputy Aodhan O'Riordain, said the whip system is "a monster purely of the political parties' making...a by-product of our tribal political landscape".

Independent TD Catherine Murphy also criticised the whip system, and said Dail reforms introduced by Fine Gael and Labour so far have only been about "box-ticking".

The three deputies were speaking at a seminar on the life of a backbencher in the Dail.