FIANNA Fail by-election candidate, Aengus O’Rourke rejected suggestion that the party “destroyed the country”.
Mr O’Rourke, a son of former long-time government minister Mary O’Rourke, and a first cousin of the late Finance Minister Brian Lenihan Jr, said Fianna Fail could not be blamed for the country’s economic woes saying that’s “lazy analysis”.
But he also conceded that he would have preferred if Fianna Fail had organised an open by-election selection convention instead of imposing him as the candidate of choice from headquarters.
The Longford-Westmeath contender blamed the country’s economic woes mainly on the failures of the Financial Regulator and the Central Bank to regulate the banks, along with a lack of supervision of these two institutions by the Department of Finance
“That is lazy analysis - this thing that Fianna Fail destroyed the country really is a nonsense to be quite honest,” he said in an on-line interview with the political blogger Johnny Fallon.
Mr O’Rourke argued that his experience on the canvass trail in Longford-Westmeath told him that people were more interested in the future than apportioning blame for the past.
“Obviously Fianna Fail made mistakes. They gave too much away… but the Opposition at the time criticised them for not giving even more away,” he said.
The FF candidate conceded that there had been “too much pomp” attached to government with too much money being spent on things like salaries and quangos. Benchmarking pay in the public services brought some positive things but this also “gave too much away”.
“There was a cocktail of issues and a number of people were asleep at the wheel”, he said. He put the Financial Regulator and the Central Bank in this category but also said the Department of Finance was too trusting of these regulatory bodies.
“In hindsight I would have preferred if the Minister for Finance dragged those people in by the scruff of the neck,” Mr O’Rourke said.