Sunday 21 January 2018

The four FG rebels who lost the whip

Q Peter Mathews

Constituency: Dublin South

Age: 61

First elected: 2011

One of the most colourful of the new intake of TDs, Mathews has clashed with his own party already over its banking policy and the closure of the embassy to the Vatican.

While his passionate approach cannot be questioned, his "I know best" approach on many subjects has even rankled with many TDs in his own party.

Mathews is now facing a very difficult election next time around in any case, with his Dublin South constituency going from five seats down to three.

Q BRIAN WALSH

Constituency: Galway West

Age: 40

First elected: 2011

A well-regarded TD, he was seen as a long-term holder of a seat for Fine Gael in Galway West.

But he has declared that he cannot support the abortion bill due to his own personal beliefs.

As a result, a promising political career is about to suffer a severe setback.

He has already acknowledged that it is not the "politically prudent" thing to do.

One of his Fine Gael running mates, Senator Fidelma Healy Eames, is also going to be out in the cold because she too is going to vote against the bill.

Q TERENCE FLANAGAN

Constituency: Dublin North-East

Age: 38

First elected: 2007

Comfortably re-elected in 2011. Also a critic of the decision to close the embassy to the Vatican, his other main issue has been dealing with the owners of pyrite-damaged houses in his constituency.

He has been a reliable government backbencher until now but his strong pro-life views have motivated him to vote against the abortion bill. His three-seater constituency is being merged with Dublin North Central to make a five seater. So having lost the whip, he will be up against proven vote-getter Richard Bruton.

Q BILLY TIMMINS

Constituency: Wicklow

Age: 53

First elected: 1997

As an army officer, he served on peacekeeping tours in Cyprus and the Lebanon.

He was a member of Enda Kenny's front bench but lost his place after backing the failed heave against him by Richard Bruton in 2010.

While other rebels have been promoted, he has been left out in the cold.

Having already rebelled once against Mr Kenny, he is even less likely than all the others to be welcomed back into the party fold under this leadership.

Irish Independent

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