Fianna Fáil 'in fight for survival'

 

Fianna Fáil needs to display the highest ethical standards in public life in order to recover as a political party, the MacGill Summer School heard today.

In a speech to delegates in Glenties, Co Donegal, Senator Averil Power acknowledged while breaches of ethical standards occurred in almost all parties, her party had been associated with the worst of those breaches.

“An absolute commitment to upholding – and being seen to uphold - the highest ethical standards must be non-negotiable for all parties on this island, but for Fianna Fáil this is doubly so,” the Senator said.

“In the new Fianna Fáil, our moral compass must never again be thrown off by the magnet of loyalty. In the new Fianna Fáil, there must be no place for anybody who thinks it’s acceptable to claim expenses from the taxpayer from their holiday home.

“And in the new Fianna Fáil, there can be no place for anybody who thinks it’s acceptable to carry around suitcases of cash, give loans to friends from party funds or refuse to answer reasonable questions about their rather unorthodox financial arrangements,” she said.

Senior Fine Gael adviser Frank Flannery said the last general election was “extraordinary” and might well rank as a seminal election like those of 1918 and 1927.

He said Fianna Fáil made “panicky and sometimes fatally-flawed decisions”. However, on the positive side, the party still had a committed activist base.

“Fianna Fáil will not dominate Irish politics again,” he said.

The school also paid tribute to former taoiseach Garret FitzGerald and former finance minister Brian Lenihan, both of whom were former contributors to its deliberations.