Stephen Donnelly, FF and the new politics


Sir, – Una Mullally’s opinion piece about Stephen Donnelly seems to consider every possible motive that he might have for joining Fianna Fáil except the most obvious one (“Why Stephen Donnelly’s migration to FF is so dispiriting”, Opinion & Analysis, February 6th).

We are entering a period of unparalleled challenge. Brexit, an isolationist United States and now the very real prospect of a Le Pen presidency in France. Any one of these threats has the potential to derail the economic model that has underpinned Irish social progress for the past 50 years. Taken together, they may represent the greatest challenge we have faced as a society since the second World War.

While ordinary people worry about the future, extremes on the left and right plot to capitalise on uncertainty and fear. In these circumstances, the most prudent course of action for public representatives who value economic stability, social cohesion and shared prosperity is to come together and work to reject extremism in all its forms.

Mr Donnelly’s decision to join Fianna Fáil is a prudent move. He joins a well-resourced and organised party that will greatly enhance his ability to effect change and safeguard progress, not just for his constituents in Wicklow, but more importantly for families across Ireland.

No doubt elements of the punditocracy will continue to seek out obscure and cynical motives to explain his move, but for the rest of us the motive is clear. – Yours, etc,


Dún Laoghaire,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – Stephen Donnelly’s move to Fianna Fáil is quite breathtaking in its cynicism. This is a person whose political career developed on his constant denunciation of his new party’s past and current policies. That he now seems to have a Pauline conversion to their cause is beyond logic.

I am confident that those that elected him in the first place and who saw him as a real independent voice now view him as an unrepentant opportunist and will vote in the next election accordingly. – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.

Sir, – I was surprised at the rather sniffy tone of most of the letters about Stephen Donnelly’s move to Fianna Fáil. Despite my being a constituent of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, who could obviously never vote for him, he responded energetically to my concern that an excellent Wicklow charity that helps older people had never received any support from the National Lottery.

His contributions to television panels and discussions has been measured and informed and, to my mind, quite free of the interminable political elbowing and interrupting that distract from what’s actually best for the country. Although I deplore the national goldfish memory that has revived Fianna Fail in the polls, the party can only be congratulated for swallowing Mr Donnelly’s criticisms in order to secure his abilities. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.