Michael Fitzmaurice says he will not ‘sell himself’ for a job
Independent TD denies holding country to ransom over turf cutting issue
“I stood my ground for a principle,” says Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice after leaving the Independent Alliance. Photograph: The Irish Times
Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice says he will not “sell himself” for a job as he leaves the Independent Alliance over the issue of turf-cutting.
Mr Fitzmaurice announced on Wednesday, that he was leaving the grouping. He was the only member of the Independent Alliance not to support Enda Kenny’s nomination for Taoiseach.
He said that being the only member in Opposition, he had limited access to speaking time and was not allowed to ask leaders’ questions.
Mr Fitzmaurice said that until the issues surrounding turf cutting are resolved and “ordinary people are no longer criminalised for exercising their rights”, that he could not be member of any government.
“I stood my ground for a principle,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.
The Roscommon-Galway TD said “I can’t be in Opposition and government at the same time. I wouldn’t be able to speak on lots of things. I wouldn’t be able to represent my constituency. At least now I’m going to be able to do what I’m doing.”
Mr Fitzmaurice denied a suggestion that he had “held the country to ransom” on the turf cutting issue.
“I told our group that if they were happy outside of my thing, then they should vote for Enda Kenny if they wanted to do so, not to be held up by me or turf cutting.”
He said he is looking forward to the Dáil. “I think it will last. I will support the things that are good in the programme for government, but I won’t be pressing the button to support everything.
“We have to work together, that’s the way forward. I hope everyone will work constructively.”
He said he will join a technical group in the coming days in order to get adequate speaking time in the Dáil.
“I hope that by working with people inside and outside of government I can continue to make a constructive contribution to Dáil business and deliver for my region,” he said.
The Independent Alliance was formed last March by independent politicians Shane Ross and Michael Fitzmaurice.
Mr Ross was recently appointed Minister for Transport.