Tuesday 24 April 2018

I won't do a George Lee, says FG hopeful

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

THE latest high-profile candidate to run for Fine Gael promised yesterday not to 'do a George Lee' and quit months after he gets elected.

Banking expert Peter Mathews is looking to win a third FG seat in Dublin South -- the constituency which elected Mr Lee -- alongside sitting TDs Alan Shatter and Olivia Mitchell.

Fine Gael held three of the five seats in Dublin South after Mr Lee, a former RTE economics editor, won the June 2009 by-election caused by the death of Fianna Fail's Seamus Brennan.

Mr Lee quit the Dail last February after claiming he had no input into Fine Gael economic policy, a claim strenuously denied by the party.

Mr Mathews -- a regular contributor to television and radio shows, and newspapers -- rejected suggestions he was another "celebrity economist" that would not serve a full five years in the Dail.

"Who's the celebrity economist? I'm a banking analyst. My background is chartered accountancy and people would say that's fairly steady and boring," he said.

"It's five years of really solid work (in the Dail). It's unglamorous but it's worthwhile."

He added that the comparison with Mr Lee is "irrelevant".

Mr Mathews worked with ICC Bank before setting up his own financial consultancy firm and claims that advice he offered to Finance Minister Brian Lenihan in recent years on the banking crisis was ignored.


Mr Shatter said Mr Mathews will be listened to in Fine Gael and insisted Mr Lee was given a role in formulating economic policy. "There's an assumption that George wasn't given a role in the Fine Gael party and he wouldn't be listened to," Mr Shatter said.

"He was given a role in Fine Gael and he had every opportunity to contribution of our economic policy. It is no fault of the Fine Gael party that George Lee walked away."

Irish Independent

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