Sunday 15 December 2019

Ivan Yates: 'The Dáil is full of glorified county councillors'

Ivan Yates
Ivan Yates

Anita McSorley

Former Fine Gael politician Ivan Yates believes the Dáil is “full of glorified county councillors.”

The businessman, broadcaster and former politician opened up about his thoughts on the current political system to Marian Finucane on RTE Radio 1 this morning.

“There is no doubt about it. I really believe strongly our Dáil is full of glorified county councillors,” he said.

“The extent of which needs to be exposed and that’s why I’m stating that only half the Dáil should be made up of glorified county councillors.

“I guarantee when Enda Kenny wakes up the first thing he things about is Castlebar,” he added.

The 55-year-old was also critical of a TD's lifestyle revealing that they are so busy they “don’t have time to think”.

“Ministers, their whole schedule is crazy,” he said.

“They don’t have time to think. Their civil servants work them round the clock.

“Being a TD is not just a job – it’s a lifestyle," he added,

Yates shocked his fellow politicians when he announced he was quitting his Dáil seat in 2002 to concentrate the bookmaking business he had set up.

His Celtic Bookmakers chain expanded to 64 shops across the country before the recession hit and brought €6 million in debt to Yates.

“A banker set me down and said ‘you’ve more than one problem’,” he explained.

“I outlined the journey of trying to get new investors into the business, to sell business, to keep it going.

“But suddenly I notices the turnover wasn’t rising anymore. Suddenly guys over in business sites who had lost their jobs were now not going in and putting €5 on a horse.

“I was like trying to catch a falling knife in that each week the turnover was going down.

“I have to take full responsibility for what was a tits up disaster,” he said.

The father-of-four explained how the enormous pressure he was under affected his family life.

“I really had almost a nervous breakdown," he said.

“When I became bankrupt I learned to deal with the stress. I was very depressed because I thought I’d never get out of it.

“Its been very difficult. My wife just fastened her seatbelt and said 'what now?'

"I’ve drove my mother through the hedge backwards. I’m more to be endured than enjoyed from her perspective," he added.

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