Rebel McDaid plans return to FF fold in wake of move
REBEL Donegal TD Jim McDaid plans to rejoin Fianna Fail in the wake of the announcement of the cervical-cancer vaccination programme for teenage girls.
He resigned the party whip 14 months ago in protest at the Government's refusal to fund such a programme.
His imminent return to the party will be a boost for the Government, which is technically tied with the opposition at 82 votes each.
It has been depending for a working majority on the votes of Mr McDaid and two other ex-Fianna Fail TDs, Eamon Scanlon and Jimmy Devins, both of whom resigned the party whip over the removal of breast-cancer services from Sligo General Hospital.
Dr McDaid told the Irish Independent yesterday that he would now apply to rejoin the party, after Health Minister Mary Harney announced the beginning of the programme for around 30,000 girls in their first year of secondary school.
"I'm absolutely delighted that she is rolling it out," he said. "It's better late than never and it's given me a chance of getting back into the fold again."
Dr McDaid, who is abroad in France on a short break, said: "It is the only cancer against which we have a preventative vaccine. There's no doubt that it will save lives."
He admitted it had been difficult as a technically independent TD for the past 14 months.
"You feel a bit out in the cold but I think colleagues did take it as a principled matter for a person in the medical field."
Government Chief Whip Pat Carey said he would welcome a decision by Dr McDaid to rejoin Fianna Fail parliamentary party.