Tuesday 12 December 2017

Profile: A thorn in the side of Labour

Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

DURING the last general election campaign, he claimed: "Eamon Gilmore wants Colm Keaveney on his team."

Come the next election, the slogan will be: "Micheal Martin wants Colm Keaveney to stay on his team and Eamon Gilmore doesn't want him back."

But Labour isn't sorry to see Mr Keaveney joining Fianna Fail.

After proving to be a thorn in the side of the Labour hierarchy, Fianna Fail will be hoping for a more harmonious relationship with the mercurial TD from Tuam.

The 42-year-old former SIPTU regional organiser will enjoy the status of being back in the big leagues with Fianna Fail.

Married with three children, he was elected in Galway East in the 2011 General Election at the third attempt.

In what was considered a two-fingered gesture to the party leadership, the grassroots then elected the first-time TD as chairman.

A tempestuous relationship followed. He resigned the party whip over the social welfare cuts in Budget 2013. Eventually, he resigned from the party completely last summer.

But even his detractors admit his election as chairman showed Mr Keaveney is an able politician.

He proved this political nous by becoming president of the Union of Students in Ireland in the mid-1990s.

Joining Fianna Fail makes a lot of sense on the electoral front. It provides the prospect of him going head-to-head again with his former Labour colleague, Senator Lorraine Higgins,

Mr Keaveney told his local newspaper the 'Tuam Herald' last year that the height of Ms Higgins' achievements in politics was securing a position in the Oireachtas golf society.

Irish Independent

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