Tuesday 16 October 2018

Hometown faithful back a local chieftain who 'did nothing wrong'

Caherciveen; all quiet on the streets
Caherciveen; all quiet on the streets

Barry Duggan

JUST over a fortnight ago, the only conversation that dominated Cahirciveen was whether Kerry could capture a successive All-Ireland senior football title next year.

Yesterday, a bright sun shone down on the Iveragh peninsula, but the mood was in stark contrast to last month's celebrations.

A dark gloom hung over the south Kerry town after the town's most famous resident announced his resignation as Ceann Comhairle.

Mr O'Donoghue's free-spending antics as minister and Speaker of the Dail sparked outrage in almost every corner of the country, but in Kerry most people stood firmly behind their local chieftain.

There was no trace of the Fianna Fail politician at his lavish home. Neither was he seen at his small constituency office.

But throughout the town, there were only words of sympathy and consolation for the Bull. The Fertha bar on the main street is a favoured haunt of O'Donoghue's. Proprietor Noel 'the Fertha' Kelleher said it was a very sad day for the town. "He is a good friend of mine and would come in for lunch now and then," Mr Kelleher said. "Certainly everyone here who would come into the pub would like him. He has done a lot of good for us. We have the marina, the legal aid board and sporting clubs with great facilities thanks to him.

"We wish him all the best and look forward to meeting him here, he is always welcome," he added.

Bridie Fitzmaurice from Fermoyle insisted Mr O'Donoghue "didn't do anything wrong".

"I think it's all very sad, he didn't do anything wrong in my opinion. I hope he goes again in the next election and rises to the top -- he deserves that," said Ms Fitzmaurice.

When asked his opinion, Michael Murphy from Listowel remembered his school days.

"My old principal, Bryan McMahon. . . always told us not to lose the run of ourselves if we ever became successful. Perhaps if John heeded similar advice, he would not be in this position now," he said.

Kerry football legend, Paidi O Se came out strongly on Mr O'Donoghue's side.

"Eamon Gilmore got the head of John O'Donoghue, and what Fine Gael is trying to do now is to get the left ear of his decapitated head," O Se told Newstalk radio.

Dingle Fianna Fail councillor and Mr O'Donoghue's cousin, Michael O'Shea, claimed the Ceann Comhairle had been hounded out of office and crucified by the media.

"I am sure his day will come when he will be allowed to answer the questions being asked of him," Mr O'Shea said.

"A kangaroo court was set up by Mr Gilmore, Mr Kenny and Sinn Fein and he was removed from office without ever getting the opportunity to defend his good name. It is appalling and it is democracy out the window."

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News