Dáil Sketch: Benign Martin feels for FG deputies
‘It was not pretty to see the pressure that deputies Mulherin and O’Mahony came under,’ said indignant Fianna Fáil leader
Martin Micheál : cast politics aside in a remarkable humanitarian gesture Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons
Fianna Fáil has just one seat in the Mayo constituency of Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Fine Gael has the other four.
Yet yesterday, in a remarkable humanitarian gesture, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin cast politics aside and expressed concern for the psychological and, indeed, physical welfare of two of those FG TDs in the face of those rampaging political terrorists Kenny and his Ministers.
Martin had in mind John O’Mahony and Michelle Mulherin, who finally declared their support for the abortion Bill on Wednesday after weeks of uncertainty and following apparently fraught meetings with Kenny and Minister for Health Dr James Reilly. Mulherin made it clear she was supporting the legislation because she did not want to be “booted’’ out of the party.
Martin gave out about Wednesday’s marathon Dáil sitting which dragged on until 5am on Thursday, all the fault, he said, of the Kenny Government. Despite all the commitments in the programme for government on Dáil reform, nobody on the Government side could seriously suggest that going on until 5am represented the much-heralded democratic revolution.
“It was not pretty to see the pressure that deputies Mulherin and O’Mahony came under,’’ said the increasingly indignant Fianna Fáil leader.
Martin portrayed himself as the protective leader of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party, most of whom are opposed to the legislation. Their leader, unlike the deadly Kenny, is a benign and understanding man and gave them a free vote.
Martin warned the public about the approach the all-powerful Government would take if the Seanad was abolished.
“The jackboot!’’ exclaimed Martin’s colleague, Willie O’Dea, who was going to support the legislation but changed his mind when he encountered a political Damascus between Limerick and Dublin. The benign Martin understood. Kenny, by contrast, would surely have hit the metaphorical roof.
Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin batted for the Government.
“The Deputy opposite has, like me, been in this House a long time,’’ he said. “Late-night sittings are nothing new.’’
There was no sign of O’Mahony and Mulherin. But the word from Mayo is that they will sleep more soundly in their beds now that they have Martin’s sympathy.
That is assuming that Kenny is not in the immediate neighbourhood.