Backbench FF TD attacks Lenihan


Fianna Fáil TD Ned O’Keeffe today criticised Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan, saying the National Asset Management Agency would not work and could destroy Ireland’s banking system.

However, the Cork East TD said he would continue voting in support of the party despite his views. "I'm a member of the Fianna Fáil party and I will vote with the party".

Mr O’Keeffe said the Government had taken too much advice from economists and claimed Mr  Lenihan's "judgment is not great in the whole area of finance".

The backbencher said he had been a strong supporter of Nama in the past, but  had since changed his view. "At the end of the day it could create a bigger mess for us than we’ve ever seen in our life before," Mr O'Keeffe told RTÉ’s News at One.

“I’m totally opposed to nationalisation," he said. "I come from the private sector, I don’t believe in nationalising any of our financial banks. I believe there’s room for a development bank in the whole area of agriculture and industrial development.

"We have inherited a major problem with Anglo Irish where all the rot started," he said. "That was being flagged two, three and four years ago and we didn’t do much about it”.

Mr O’Keeffe is the latest Fianna Fáil TD to publicly voice disquiet over key Government policies.

Yesterday, Carlow-Kilkenny TD Bobby Aylward said some of his fellow backbenchers may not be prepared to vote for legislation to implement key Green Party measures in the Programme for Government.

He said his support could not be relied on when it comes to votes in the Dáil on issues such as animal welfare, the Planning Bill or a ban on corporate donations.

Another Kilkenny TD, John McGuinness, said yesterday he would challenge the leadership of Taoiseach Brian Cowen directly at the weekly meeting of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party tomorrow night.

The party meeting is scheduled for 5.30pm but this is likely to clash with the major announcement on a rescue plan for the banks by Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan at 6pm.

A third Carlow-Kilkenny TD, MJ Nolan, said last week there “serious discontent” in the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party at every level.