Galway Senator Happy For Reform Alliance to Become a Party

Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames
Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames

Reform Alliance member, Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames would be happy for the group to become a political party. She was one of five members, including Lucinda Creighton who left Fine Gael last year over the abortion issue.

“We are a grouping, there to ask questions, to shake up the power, and are looking for accountability, with different views, and we want political reform, and openness in how things are done,” she said. “We want to see people are served better, and we have a real role, in that sense.”

The Galway senator told irishsmokefill, that neither she nor any of the others have any regrets about the decision that they made last year.

“We all have a right to our own conscience and I worked hard with the Taoiseach to have a free vote, which was not forthcoming, and how unwise that was of the Taoiseach,” said the Senator. “Politics is not static; it’s all the time moving on.”

She said that with the Seanad election, the government will be in the minority in the Seanad.

“It’s going to make the Seanad an exciting chamber of debate, where every vote will be fought for,” she said. “There is a future in Reform Alliance, whether it will always be called that or not. I would be happy if it became a party, and have no difficulty with that. The group is evolving, and is a broad church.”

She said they want accountability in politics and are not for stroke politics, and she would like to see a mass movement and mass offering, of left and right.

“It’s wrong to be classed as party of the left or the right, because that construct has failed,” said Senator Healy-Eames.

‘’Fianna Fail are struggling and fortunate enough to have survived,” – Noel Whelan talks to irishsmokefill

Irish Times columnist and author, Noel Whelan made the above comment last week to irishsmokefill, days before the latest opinion poll result, which put FF at 20 percent, down 5 points from the previous MRBI poll.

‘’Fianna Fail are fortunate to have survived the predictions of many, myself included, and the difficulty they have is there is still so much public anger and volatility out there, that anything can happen in Irish politics,’’ said Whelan.  ‘’They are now other alternatives like Sinn Fein, and space for a possible new political party, but I’m not sure if Reform Alliance have positioned themselves well to be a new party, but we’ll have to wait and see.’’

He said that Fianna Fail hasn’t gone away, but has to be more robust in its opposition and show what new vision it has, and what its priority is.

‘’They have to show what will happen for the next five years, and to talk more and focus more on the future,’’ he said.  ‘‘Fianna Fail should be about recognising where their policies are, and what does a recovered Ireland look like.’’

Noel Whelan is one of the editors, along with Mary O’Rourke and Brian Murphy of the new book, ‘Brian Lenihan – In Calm and Crisis’ published by Irish Academic Press.


‘’Politics in Ireland is in an uncertain place, and not necessarily in a good space,’’ – Drennan talks to irishsmokefill

Political commentator and author, John Drennan made the above comment to irishsmokefill last week, and said that there has been some changes in each of the four main parties.

‘’Fianna Fail have not been trusted, and have not appeared to have learned from how they operated in the past, and Fine Gael have learned too well from how Fianna Fail have operated in the past, and are mimicking them in how they operated,’’ said Drennan, who writes for the Sunday Independent.  ‘’Labour are maybe recovering, and probably the best in governing the country, and not the best in getting the support of citizens.  Sinn Fein are much more polite nowadays and are a coming party.’’

However the commentator said he doesn’t believe Sinn Fein will be in government next time, nor does he believe Fine Gael and Fianna Fail will make a coalition.

‘’Sinn Fein won’t be in government next time, and a coalition between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail will be like a merger between Celtic and Rangers, two alpha males in the one room,’’ said Drennan.

John Drennan calls his new book, ‘Paddy Machiavelli: How to Get Ahead in Irish Politics’, a masterclass if you want to become Taoiseach.

‘’It shows what strokes to pull, and what virtues you need, and it’s not all downbeat, and there is case examples, like Enda and Bertie, the most cute and cunning of them all, and Haughey,’’ he said.

John Drennan’s new book, ‘Paddy Machiavelli: How to Get Ahead in Irish Politics’ is published by Gill and McMillan and in bookshops now.


‘’A Plea For the Written Word’’ at Lenihan Book Launch

Editors of the new Brian Lenihan book - Noel Whelan, Mary O'Rourke and Brian Murphy
Editors of the new Brian Lenihan book – Noel Whelan, Mary O’Rourke and Brian Murphy

Mary O’Rourke made what she called ‘’a plea for the written word’’ at the launch of a new book about her late nephew, Brian Lenihan, in the National Library last week.

The book, ‘Brian Lenihan: In Calm and Crisis’ features twenty essays about the late Minister for Finance. Included in the book is an essay about the early days of the subject’s life growing up in Athlone. Brian Lenihan was born in Athlone, and the family left to live in Dublin when he was twelve years old.

‘’There is such wonderful writing in the book, and I dip into it all the time,’’ said Mary O’Rourke.   ‘’I would like to make a plea for the written word, because there are great publishers who keep on publishing, and marvellous brave booksellers, male and female all over the place and I salute every one of them.’’

The former politician said that while people talk of taking their kindles on holiday, she prefers a book in its original form.

‘’A book is shiny and lovely, and the promise of the written word is enormous and it should be encouraged, and people should buy books and newspapers in their local shops,’’ she said. ‘’There is a delight in buying an unopened newspaper, and seeing the skill that went into making that newspaper. Please do buy books and newspapers and be encouraged to buy them.

The new Brian Lenihan book was launched at the National Library, Dublin by RTE broadcaster John Bowman. The former presenter of ‘Questions and Answers’ talked about the death of Brian Lenihan at a young age, and included it with a mention of the death of his own son, Jonathan Philbin Bowman, at age thirty two years.

‘’The book is exceptional and interesting and about a remarkable politician, and I knew him mainly through broadcasting, but he was always a politician with great courtesy,’’ said John Bowman. ‘’My own son died far too young, and I now find that Brian who lived years longer than Jonathan – was also far too young. It’s a great credit to him that so many people are here tonight.’’

Bowman said that the contributions in the book are authored alphabetically, and he highlighted the story of Brian Lenihan’s boyhood in Athlone,

‘’What one would have given to see a book of this quality about figures like Noel Browne or Sean McEntee,’’ he said.

The proceeds of the new book are going to the Irish Cancer Society.