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FG fall-out may be beyond repair -- Deasy

A HIGH-profile Fine Gael TD has said the divisions in the party "are beyond repair if the situation continues".

John Deasy criticised Enda Kenny's claims that the rift in Fine Gael had healed following the failed leadership heave.

Mr Deasy told the Young Fine Gael annual summer school the party was not fulfilling its potential or attracting voters, despite the public's anger at the Government.



HONEST

"The divisions within Fine Gael right now, in my opinion, are beyond repair if the situation continues," he said.

The Waterford TD said it was "untrue" that the party was united in the aftermath of the unsuccessful heave.

"If you want to mend something, you have to be honest about the situation," he said.

"I still think it's correctable. People need to be honest about the problems that exist, you can't continue to avoid the real issue." Mr Deasy, who had opposed Mr Kenny during the leadership contest, said he had accepted the vote of the parliamentary party.

He added the "split in the party" had been present for "quite a long time", even before Richard Bruton's leadership challenge.

Mr Deasy added: "There's a schism, it's very deep. We still have to address the core issue for us as a political party -- we haven't attracted a great deal of support since the last election, at a time when the Government is deeply unpopular."

Mr Deasy added Labour appeared to be attracting most of the "floating voters", adding it would continue to support at Fine Gael's expense. His comments were made at the opening of the summer school in Tramore, Co Waterford, and he had left by the time Mr Kenny arrived.

Other speakers were critical of his contribution. Oireachtas members from Waterford, Maurice Cummins and Paudie Coffey, denounced Mr Deasy's comments.

Mr Kenny made no reference to Mr Deasy's remarks in his address,.

The Fine Gael leader concentrated on economic issues.



SMOKING

Mr Deasy had recently expressed alarm at Fine Gael's performance in opinion polls.

Before the last general election, Mr Kenny had fired off a letter to Mr Deasy, warning him not to mention the leadership issue again before the vote.

Mr Deasy said this week it would be a "failure" if Mr Kenny did not become Taoiseach.

comurphy@herald.ie


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