Quinlivan and O’Dea trade barbs on election and FF-SF sharing power

Limerick politicians clash in wake of Sinn Féin TD ousting Fianna Fáil TD as poll-topper

Maurice Quinlivan topped poll in Limerick City. File photograph. Photgraph: Aidan Crawley

Maurice Quinlivan topped poll in Limerick City. File photograph. Photgraph: Aidan Crawley


Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan and Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea traded sharp words after one of Mr O’Dea’s allies said there was more chance of the former minister for defence sharing power with “Putin or Trump” than Mr Quinlivan.

The Limerick Sinn Féin TD dismissed comments to the Limerick Leader by local councillor Kieran O’Hanlon, one of Mr O’Dea’s closest confidants, that the Fianna Fáil TD would “absolutely not” share power with Mr Quinlivan.

Mr Quinlivan said he believed Mr O’Dea was “really angry” and “really upset” that the long-time Fianna Fáil TD had lost his crown as a regular poll-topper in Limerick City to him and that he was not elected on the first count.

“He just didn’t take the election very well,” said the Sinn Féin TD of his Fianna Fáil opponent.

“People in Limerick have woken up that there is a chance to vote right or left and they voted left, and he didn’t like it in what he would have considered to be his core areas.”

Mr O’Dea told The Irish Times that Mr O’Hanlon “likes to use colourful language” and that he was expressing his, Mr O’Dea’s, opposition to sharing power with Sinn Féin “for all the same reasons that Fianna Fáil does not want to share power”.


Mr O’Dea denied Mr Quinlivan’s claim that he was angry or upset at the election result in Limerick City.

“How did he know whether I was angry? Could he look into my mind and see that I was angry?” Mr O’Dea said.

“I got closer to the quota than any other Fianna Fáil candidate in the country and there was no big runaway vote for Sinn Féin in Limerick.”

He added: “I wasn’t the slightest bit upset; I was in fact very glad that the people of Limerick returned me to Dáil Éireann.”

Mr O’Dea was 28 votes short of the quota after the first count, some 1,546 votes behind Mr Quinlivan.

The Fianna Fáil TD said that Sinn Féin had won a “protest vote” and a “blind vote” from people not taking account of the party’s manifesto.

“As the realisation dawns, there will be a degree of buyers’ regret,” he said.

The two politicians have had a fractious relationship for years.

Mr O’Dea paid compensation to Mr Quinlivan in libel damages after the Sinn Féin politician took a defamation action against the Fianna Fáil TD in a controversy that led to Mr O’Dea’s resignation as minister for defence in 2010.