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After pledging media silence, Ó Cuív goes on Prime Time, VinB and Ireland AM

The former Fianna Fáil deputy leader pledged a media silence in the wake of his announcement that he would remain in the Fianna Fáil party but not speak publicly about the reasons for voting No in the upcoming referendum.

Éamon Ó Cuív appearing on Tonight with Vincent Browne last night
Éamon Ó Cuív appearing on Tonight with Vincent Browne last night
Image: Screengrab via TV3

Updated 11.14am

AFTER INFORMING THE media of his decision to remain silent during the referendum campaign and refrain from any media appearances in order to remain in Fianna Fáil, Éamon Ó Cuív appeared on both Prime Time and Tonight with Vincent Browne last night, then went on Ireland AM this morning.

The former government minister ended much speculation yesterday evening when he said that he was to remain in the party but would refrain from making any public comment on his decision to vote No in the Fiscal Compact referendum, against his party’s position.

“I will not be making any further pronouncements in the media on the referendum” in accordance with the wishes of FF leadership, the TD told the assembled media at Leinster House just after 5pm.

But over the next 16 hours he appeared on three national TV programmes to expand further on his decision to stay in the party.

On RTÉ’s Prime Time (watch here), he denied accusations  that he ‘bottled it’ in deciding to stay in the party that his grandfather Éamon de Valera founded.

He said: “Over the last 24 hours in particular, nearly unanimously, I’d say 90 per cent of people were saying stick in with Fianna Fáil and to work through the party to bring change.

“The choice was either to do that (leave the party) or isolate myself permanently because I have seen over many years how you become isolated when you become an independent,” he added.

“You don’t have the same ability to persuade large numbers of people to your position as you would within your party.”

‘Muzzled’

He cited the decision of Des O’Malley, who was expelled from Fianna Fáil in 1984 over the Anglo-Irish agreement, and said it was the wrong decision which proved as such when O’Malley’s new party, the Progressive Democrats, ended up in a coalition with Fianna Fáíl three years later.

“If it was about saving my political skin the easy answer was to keep the head down and say nought,” Ó Cuív added saying that he had been contacted numerous times by media last week and that “the media is a bit huffed that I didn’t do what they’d have liked me to do”.

Then later in the night, he went on Tonight with Vincent Browne on TV3 (watch here) and said: ”I believe that the Fiscal Compact is unsustainable so I explained that today.

“As I’ve said now I will be saying no more bout the treaty after today and I will be refraining from any discussion on the Fiscal Treaty on the strict instruction of the party leader.”

Ó Cuív then declined to answer questions on the Fiscal Compact because he was under “strict instructions” not to discuss it.

“If people are curious as to why I am muzzled I think they should ask that question of the leadership of Fianna Fáil,” he added.

This morning, appearing on Ireland AM (watch here), Ó Cuív revealed that at one point over the weekend he had decided that leaving the party might be “the best thing to do” before reconsidering because of the “huge support there is for my views among the grassroots of Fianna Fáil”.

He denied that there was anything egotistical about his actions over the last few days, saying that he had been asked for his views about referendum in one interview with Raidió na Gaeltachta last week and had since been pursued by other media.

“I wasn’t the one who made the big story of it, it was the media,” he claimed. “My phone was red hot yesterday,” he added.

Read: Éamon Ó Cuív stays in Fianna Fáil

In full: Fianna Fáil whip’s letter to Éamon Ó Cuív

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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