Monday 22 January 2018

McNamara loses the Labour whip - but keeps 'em guessing

Profile: Michael McNamara

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

So there goes Clare's third ever Labour TD in the history of the State.

Lots of people will remember Dr Moosajee Bhamjee, who came in on the 'Spring Tide' in November 1992 and did not stand in the following election in 1997. However, only history buffs will recall Patrick Hogan, who was by turns a Labour TD and senator through the 1930s and 1940s.

The late Mr Hogan was Ceann Comhairle from 1951 until 1967, when he was technically a Clare TD but did not have to contest elections.

Michael McNamara, a barrister and farmer from near Scariff, came to Leinster House in Labour's 'Gilmore Gale' of February 2011. He did not have much of a party base to build upon as the Labour candidate in Clare polled 892 votes in the previous election in 2007.

Aged 41, he worked as a lawyer for the Organisation for Security in Europe and for the UN in Afghanistan before returning to the family farm in 2005. He stood as an independent in the European Parliament elections of 2009 and got almost 13,000 votes or 3pc of the poll.

Mr McNamara was standing against his future father-in-law, the Fianna Fáil candidate Dr John Hillery, a son of the former President, in 2011.

His fiancée Sarah Hillery and he announced their engagement recently.

He has been at odds with Labour on a few occasions. Given the party's low poll ratings and its shallow base in Clare, is Mr McNamara standing as an independent next time?

"I'm a member of the Labour Party. I hope to run as a Labour Party candidate at the next election. But I don't know what the coming days will bring," he replied.

In politics, that's "a definite maybe". John Downing

Irish Independent

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