Athlone’s Cllr. Aengus O’Rourke had two chances to get to Seanad Eireann this year. The Fianna Fail councillor ran in the Seanad Election on the Industrial and Commercial panel, and was defeated, and he was also under consideration to be one of the Taoiseach’s eleven nominees to the Seanad – courtesy of Deputy Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran!
Cllr. O’Rourke was defeated on both occasions and he and Deputy Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran confirmed to irishsmokefill that he lobbied for Cllr. O’Rourke to become a Senator.
“When I was going for election, there was a lot of talk about the Seanad, and who was going to make it and Aengus made contact with me, and I promised him three votes, my own, Cllr. Ailish McManus’s and Cllr. Michael O’Brien’s, and I knew Michael wanted to support Aengus anyway,” said Boxer, who is a member of the Independent Alliance. “We delivered our three votes but Aengus didn’t make it, and after that there was talk about the Taoiseach’s nominees, and I rang up Aengus, because the Independent Alliance had no nominees in the midlands, and we met up and had a chat, and I said that I would put his name forward.”
Boxer said he thought it was unfair that Fianna Fail hadn’t run O’Rourke in the General Election, and it was a similar situation to what happened to him, when he was in Fianna Fail.
Boxer left Fianna Fail in 2011 to run as in an Independent in the General Election that year. Cllr. O’Rourke is the son of former Fianna Fail Minister and Deputy Leader, Mary O’Rourke.
“I said I would do my best to fight for him, and my colleagues in the Independent Alliance was shocked that I was doing it but I was thinking if we got an extra person elected for Athlone, we would have more say around the table,” said Boxer. “Fianna Fail is supporting the government and I am a partner in that government, and the Taoiseach was narrowing down his list, but what we didn’t know was that a deal with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael was already done and FF got three, and what surprised me, was that their leader, Micheal Martin didn’t pick Aengus.”
Boxer said that when he put his O’Rourke nomination to the Taoiseach; the Taoiseach replied that this was “definitely new politics,”.
Cllr. O’Rourke also confirmed that he talked with Boxer about getting a Taoiseach’s nomination to the Seanad, writes David Flynn.
“This emerged several weeks after my own race and Boxer phoned me about putting the nomination to the Taoiseach, and we discussed it on a number of occasions and what may surprise some people is that myself and Boxer have more in common than most,” said the Fianna Fail councillor. “We are the same age, went to the same school, and I suppose I got to know him a bit better when the Local Authority condensed to smaller number, and there were few of us wearing the Athlone shirt in Mullingar. We worked together, and his constituency office is on the same street as my own, and we are political colleagues and have never crossed swords except at election times.
“I didn’t know what Enda would make of the nomination, but it’s all water under the bridge now, and it didn’t happen, but I’m grateful to Boxer,” said Cllr. O’Rourke