Noel Grealish – going, going, gone
The death of a close neighbour in Galway prevented Noel Grealish from attending the PD’s parliamentary party meeting in Dublin today. The occurrence has certainly put a stay of execution on a party of which he is only one of two TDs and one of four parliamentary party members.
Grealish aligned himself very closely to Michael McDowell in the run-up to the leadership race in 2006 and, from what I’ve heard, he has been semi-detached from the party since the election. Not alone has he been courted by Fianna Fail – he has let the world know about it. It’s interesting that it is Eamon O Cuiv who made the overtures – if (and that should really read ‘when’) Greally makes the jump, it will have no impact on O Cuiv but will have on Frank Fahey who will be fishing from the same pool for votes.
The seat that Grealish occupies is really Bobby Molloy’s seat. When he won it in 2002, he had not forged a sufficient profile for him and was one of three PD candidates who ran in that election. Last year, the PDs still felt they had a need to run multiple candidates to shore up support for Grealish. That illustrates that the seat there isn’t really one based on Grealish’s popularity but one based on the strong base the PDs have in Galway (or properly defined, the strong personal organisation that Bobby Molloy had built up).
Grealish’s behaviour has been odd and (in the eyes of some party members) unhelpful since the election. He backed Ciarán Cannon for the leadership but most of Cannon’s time has been spend trying to persuade Grealish to stay in. Others understand that he gave a commitment to stay until the local election. But it’s clear from his own pronoucements that he wants out.
He gave a ludicrous comment to Jim Fahy earlier this week when he said that newspaper speculation was just that, pure speculation. And who was fuelling all this speculation. Erm, Noel Grealish. He also refused to comment on his future with the party. He has to realise that this is the way that it works. You either declare your loyalty or you don’t.
Nobody is predicting the long-time survival of the PDs. But the growing indications are that it may not survive long past the next parliamentary party meeting.