Michael Fitzmaurice: ‘I have no regrets about not being a Minister’

Political jobs not as important as issues and principles, says Independent TD

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice: “I have found some Ministers are just figureheads.”

I had an apprenticeship before I was elected as an Independent to the Dáil in my first general election for Roscommon-Galway a year ago.

I was first elected to the House for Roscommon-South Leitrim in a byelection in 2014. I did not find adjusting to the new constituency that difficult: I know that part of Galway very well.

I had to wait, like everybody else, for the formation of a Government in that long run-in, and I nearly became part of it as a member of the Independent Alliance.

The media was tipping me to be a Minister of State, but to me political jobs are not as important as issues and principles.

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So, after 26 hours of talks, I opted out because I failed to get satisfactory assurances on turf-cutting issues. I had made promises to turf-cutters from Kerry to Donegal and would not break them.

I have no regrets about not being a Minister. I left Independent Alliance and I am on my own again as an Independent. Sometimes you can get things done if the minority Government needs your vote.

I do not believe in being critical all the time. I think Simon Coveney is doing his best on housing, but I am very disappointed with the Government's performance on agriculture. The big farmer gets everything.

I have found some Ministers are just figureheads and spend too much time cutting tapes at public events. That will not solve the country’s problems.

Michael O'Regan

Michael O'Regan

Michael O’Regan is a former parliamentary correspondent of The Irish Times