McGrath resigns in protest at Wallace U-turn
INDEPENDENT TD Finian McGrath has resigned as chairman of the Dáil technical group as a protest against Wexford Deputy Mick Wallace’s decision to rejoin the group.
Mr McGrath said yesterday that he is also considering his future with the group comprised of 16 TDs who are independent or from small parties.
The Dublin North Central TD announced his decision to the group at its weekly meeting yesterday when he saw that Mr Wallace was in attendance. Both he and the independent Waterford TD John Halligan berated Mr Wallace for applying to rejoin the group, after resigning from it earlier this year when his business’s underdeclaration of VAT was made public.
The Wexford TD signalled last week to Technical Group whip Catherine Murphy that he wanted to rejoin. Under current Dáil standing orders, a technical group cannot block any member of Dáil Éireann from joining nor compel a member to resign.
Speaking after the meeting Mr McGrath said: “Quite frankly, I am completely fed up with the actions of Mr Wallace who is distracting people from the real political issues.”
He cited a number of reasons including the widely reported disclosure by Mr Wallace that he considered hiring a hitman to help force the repayment of a debt.
“This remark is outrageous for a member of the Oireachtas particularly in the current crime crisis,” said Mr McGrath. “Mr Wallace agreed to withdraw from the Technical Group and now wants back. He showed a complete lack of respect to his Independent colleagues.” Mr Halligan also said that Mr Wallace had shown a lack of respect.
Meanwhile it has been learned that Fine Gael will take disciplinary measures against the eight TDs who wrote an article critical of the Croke Park agreement.
Government Chief Whip Paul Kehoe spoke to a number of the backbench TDs yesterday and is expected to talk with the others by the end of the week.
A well-placed source in the party said yesterday that no decision had been taken as to what action would be taken but added: “There will be consequences.”
The article had created huge unrest and there was unhappiness with the group of eight for taking that unilateral action.