Sunday 17 December 2017

Putting the people before the party comes at a price

Willie O'Dea faced a similar dilemma to Denis Naughten 20 years ago and can empathise with the Fine Gael TD

I am probably one of the few people in politics today who really knows what Denis Naughten was going through last week. I had a comparable moment of truth over 20 years ago when I was faced with a similar choice to the one that faced Denis and Frank Feighan last Wednesday.

In 1988, I also stood up to my own party and government when I opted to place loyalty to my constituents' needs above party loyalty and to vote against the closure of Barrington's Hospital in Limerick.

While I had no doubts then, or indeed now, that I had taken the right decision, it was still not an easy move. I was not merely defying the Fianna Fail party; I was defying a party led by Charlie Haughey. This was at the height of the Uno Duce, Uno Voce era.

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