Sunday 26 January 2020

O'Dea warns FF will 'take on' Leo if he displays his 'nasty streak'

Willie O'Dea
Willie O'Dea

Niall O'Connor

Leo Varadkar has the potential to display a "nasty" streak as Taoiseach, according to his opposite number in Fianna Fáil.

Limerick TD Willie O'Dea yesterday warned that his party would "take on" Mr Varadkar if he consistently resorts to inflammatory language.

Mr O'Dea cited remarks made by Mr Varadkar about former taoiseach Bertie Ahern during his early political days.

In September 2007 - just months after Mr Varadkar was elected to the Dáil - he said Mr Ahern's claim of unexplained money being "won on the horses" was the "defence of drug dealers and pimps".

"The gutter is Bertie Ahern's natural habitat," Mr Varadkar said.

While describing Mr Varadkar as affable and personable, Mr O'Dea said these remarks show "another side" to the Social Protection Minister.

"I think we might expect to see more of that as Taoiseach," Mr O'Dea said.

The TD also responded to attacks made by Mr Varadkar against Micheál Martin in recent weeks.

The minister likened the Fianna Fáil leader to a character in Arnold Schwarzenegger film 'Total Recall'.

"If he is Taoiseach and he indulges in that sort of language, first of all, I don't think it will play out well with general members of the public," Mr O'Dea said.

"If he decides to take that line, well, we are going to have to take him on. We would be prepared to take him on but I don't think it would create a very edifying picture of politics for the public at large."

Read More: Coveney refuses to concede but Varadkar says he's 'confident'

Mr O'Dea made the remarks on the 'Floating Voter','s political podcast.

He said he believes Mr Martin will be the next Taoiseach but he does not anticipate an early election.

"Any obvious attempts to force an early election will be seen through by the public," Mr O'Dea said.

"There isn't any great appetite out there for an election. The problem is, this is politics. The business of politics, of political parties, is to do as well as you can. I don't want a situation whereby we bring down the Government on some issue. And suddenly we are out on the hustings, out on the streets, and everyone is saying, 'didn't we tell you we didn't want an election. Who caused this election?'"

In relation to the Confidence and Supply Agreement between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, Mr O'Dea said certain aspects are not working.

He said bills are left "in limbo" after being passed, adding: "We need to get a grip on that."

Read More: How the FG leadership results will unfold today

Mr O'Dea also joked about his trademark moustache, which was the subject of a rap song by 'The Rubberbandits' comedy duo. He said it became his "badge of identity" after entering politics.

"You know what Oscar Wilde said, 'there is only thing worse about being talked about', when they are singing about you, you have nothing to lose," he said.

"In politics, you've got to stand out from the crowd.

"Leo Varadkar will tell you that. One of his greatest strengths is he stands out from the crowd."

Fine Gael parliamentary party endorsements for leader

The Fine Gael parliamentary party makes up 65pc of the total electorate.

That makes each of the 73 members' votes worth 0.9pc of the total ballot.

Of the remaining electorate, 230 party councillors account for 10pc, while the remaining 25pc is rank and file members.

Leo Varadkar
Simon Coveney

Total: 45

Total: 19

Ministers: 17

Ministers: 5

TDs: 16

TDs: 5

Senators: 11

Senators: 8

MEPs: 1

MEPs: 1

Richard Bruton -MinisterSimon Harris - Minister
Frances Fitzgerald - MinisterDamien English - Minister
Michael Ring - MinisterDara Murphy - Minister
Eoghan Murphy - MinisterDavid Stanton - Minister
Sean Kyne - MinisterMarcella Corcoran Kennedy - Minister
Joe McHugh - MinisterKate O'Connell - TD
Helen McEntee - MinisterMaria Bailey - TD
Charlie Flanagan - MinisterSean Barrett TD
Paul Kehoe -MinisterHildegard Naughton - TD
Patrick O'Donovan - MinisterPeter Fitzpatrick - TD
Regina Doherty - MinisterTim Lombard - Senator
Mary Mitchell O'Connor - MinisterJerry Buttimer - Senator
Paschal Donohoe - MinisterPaudie Coffey - Senator
Heather Humphreys - MinisterJames Reilly - Senator
Pat Breen - MinisterColm Burke - Senator
Catherine Byrne - MinisterJohn O'Mahony - Senator
Andrew Doyle - MinisterPaul Coghlan - Senator
John Paul Phelan - TDGabrielle McFadden - Senator
Noel Rock - TDDeirdre Clune - MEP
Tony McLoughlin - TD 
Alan Farrell - TD 
Michael D'Arcy - TD 
Tom Neville - TD 
Josepha Madigan - TD 
Pat Deering - TD 
Jim Daly - TD 
Brendan Griffin - TD 
Ciaran Cannon - TD 
Colm Brophy - TD 
Peter Burke - TD 
Fergus O'Dowd - TD 
John Deasy - TD 
Joe Carey - TD 
Neale Richmond - Senator 
Catherine Noone - Senator 
Paddy Burke - Senator 
Martin Conway - Senator 
Michelle Mulherin - Senator 
Maura Hopkins - Senator 
Ray Butler - Senator 
Frank Feighan - Senator 
Maria Byrne - Senator 
Joe O'Reilly - Senator 
Kieran O'Donnell - Senator 
Brian Hayes - MEP 
Enda Kenny - Outgoing Party Leader *Martin Heydon - Party Chairman *
Michael Noonan - MinisterMichael Creed - Minister
Bernard Durkan - TDSean Kelly - MEP
Mairead McGuinness MEP  

* Outgoing leader Enda Kenny and party chairman Martin Heydon will not make an endorsement

Irish Independent

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