What TDs are saying privately about the new Dáil

John Deasy echoed sentiments of many in raising ‘futility’ of voting on Labour motion

Deasy’s intervention, born out of considerable frustration with what is playing out in the Dáil, underlined what many TDs, cross-party, feel. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

It was a brief moment of reality in the Dáil’s bogus world of new politics.

Fine Gael TD for Waterford John Deasy, a brooding and realistic presence in the new Dáil, stood up to interrupt proceedings in last week's Order of Business.

He wanted to raise the "futility" of voting on the previous night's Labour Private Member's motion on low pay. The Government had been defeated as Fianna Fáil voted with Labour.

“On a point of order, while we are discussing Private Member’s Bills, may I raise the issue of Private Member’s motions, or, more specifically, the futility of such motions, as was demonstrated last night . . . that succeed but are not worth the paper on which they are written,’’ said Deasy.


Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl moved swiftly. “This is absolutely not in order at this stage,’’ he said. “Will the deputy please resume his seat?’’

“There is no point in voting on them,’’ said Deasy, as time was running out. “Fair enough,’’ said the Ceann Comhairle. “Especially if the Government loses,’’ said Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith.

Deasy’s intervention, born out of considerable frustration with what is playing out in the Dáil, underlined what many TDs, cross-party, feel.

“Enda has made history as a Fine Gael leader to achieve a back-to-back victory as taoiseach,”said a Fine Gael TD. “He is going to hang on as long as he can and he will take care of his pals in the meantime.’’


Some Fianna Fáil TDs are equally scathing about Micheál Martin, believing that he made a major political error in not considering Kenny’s offer of a coalition.

"He went out on the Dáil plinth to boast that he had told Enda Kenny where to go when Kenny offered a coalition,'' said a Fianna Fáil TD.

“It went down well with the grassroots at the time, but now I am not too sure they are happy when we are keeping a minority government in power at a time when hospital waiting lists are getting worse.’’

Kenny is facing the same criticism from some of his backbenchers who have not been made ministers and will look on the chairs of committee as a poor consolation.

“I think he did well as a leader in that he brought us back from oblivion,’’ said a Fine Gael backencher. “But he has to go and soon.’’

The Leinster House consensus before the formation of the current Government was that Kenny and Martin did not get on personally or politically.

“That is a load of nonsense,’’ said a Fianna Fáil TD. “Martin is too friendly with Kenny as far as some of us are concerned.”

Although unspoken, there was intense anger among the Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil bachbenchers about the manner in which Kenny handled the nomination of his 11 nominees to the Seanad.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil TDs privately say they were not consulted.

When Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin raised it in the Dáil last week, Kenny said he would be straight with him.

Kenny said he was leading a partnership government. “I did say if he gave me a couple of nominations from particular sectors I would consider them,’’ said Kenny.

“Can anybody object to the founder of Pieta House being able to give of that experience?”

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil TDs were not impressed. “It was a shoddy deal which Enda didn’t even bother to tell us about,’’ said an Fine Gael TD.

The new politics is dismissed by many TDs. Howlin noted last week that in 3½ months the Dáil has not passed a single Bill.

“I cannot recall in my time here a period of time elapsing like this,’’ Howlin added.

Kenny promised he would have a list of Bills next week. They were really important and Ministers and departments were really anxious to put them through the Oireachtas, he added.

His backbenchers were less than impressed. “Some of us are waiting for chairpersons of a committee,’’ said a Fine Gael TD. “It is a poor consolation for not receiving a junior ministry. I know that is cynical but it is where we are.’’

TDs across parties are saying the same thing: the new politics is not working.