TD refuses to join Fine Gael dissidents
Walsh says group may have ‘ulterior agenda’
Brian Walsh TD: said despite their differences on a single issue, Taoiseach Enda Kenny retained his respect and support and he continued to support Fine Gael
Galway West TD Brian Walsh has refused to get involved with other expelled Fine Gael TDs and senators who are trying to establish a new political alliance. Mr Walsh lost the Fine Gael whip for voting against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.
On Monday he met expelled colleagues who are planning to form a new group. He has now written to them, declining to participate in their venture.
“Firstly, I believe the anti-Government standpoint that has been proposed in relation to the forthcoming referendum on the Seanad is at odds with the electoral platform on which we campaigned as Fine Gael candidates in 2011,” he said in the letter.
“Given the importance that we attached to pre-election commitments in the recent debate on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, I contend that it would be cynical and inconsistent to adopt an alternative position now merely to gain relevance in the context of the debate surrounding the future of the Seanad.”
He added that a departure from the core policy positions for which they had received a mandate would suggest that the group’s reasons for voting against the Fine Gael whip last July extended beyond a single issue of conscience.
“It would reasonably be perceived that the group has an ulterior agenda that is rooted in historic divisions within the party and would have the potential to prove damaging and divisive for Fine Gael and its leadership.”
Mr Walsh said he had had a good personal and working relationship with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and, despite their differences on a single issue, Mr Kenny retained his respect and support and he continued to support the party.
Mr Walsh told The Irish Times last night that conciliatory comments from Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar towards those who had lost the whip were a “positive development”, although they had not influenced his decision.