‘Five-a-siders’ on the ball as Conlon joins Fine Gael national executive
Lucinda Creighton: her recent expulsion gave rise to two vacancies
Fine Gael’s “five-a-side” group of backbenchers who regularly meet to discuss party policy while the Taoiseach and Big Phil pretend to ignore them don’t actually play football.
But thanks to a little fancy footwork they notched up a nice little victory for themselves this week .
Lucinda Creighton’s recent expulsion gave rise to two vacancies.
The first one – her junior ministerial job – was swiftly filled by Enda Kenny with the perpetually humble Paschal Donohoe. The second position was not in the Taoiseach’s gift.
Once she ceased to be a member of the parliamentary party, Lucinda also relinquished her place on the Fine Gael national executive.
The election took place this week, with four names in the ring: deputies John Paul Phelan (Carlow-Kilkenny) and Sean Conlon (Cavan-Monaghan) and Senators Catherine Noone and Martin Conway.
After a discreet lobbying campaign by his fellow five-a-siders, Sean Conlon took the seat, joining Martin Heydon (Kildare South), who is also part of the all-male group of first-time TDs who like to discuss policy over a pint. Membership of the powerful national executive is a coveted position, not least because members have the final say on candidate selection at election time.
The five-a-side boys, who used the cover story of meeting to play football to draw attention away from their first meetings, say relations are well now with Enda.
The group has nine members now: Conlon and Heydon, Paul Connaughton, Pat Deering, Brendan Griffin , Noel Harrington, Sean Kyne, Tony Lawlor and Eoghan Murphy.