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Stephen Donnelly is joining Fianna Fáil but he hasn't always been the party's biggest fan

The Wicklow TD has been less than glowing when talking about the party in the past.

HE’S FACED DOWN rumours about joining Fianna Fáil in the past and responded with an unequivocal ‘no’ but, today, it’s been announced that former Social Democrat TD Stephen Donnelly will join Fianna Fáil.

Back in 2013, then-Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore predicted Donnelly would be “wearing the Fianna Fáil jersey at the next General Election”.

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The Wicklow TD responded online, telling his constituents that he had no intention of joining Micheál Martin.

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Gilmore may have been out by a few years but, nonetheless, it appears Donnelly will eventually run under a Fianna Fáil ticket in his Wicklow constituency, where he topped the poll last year.

Donnelly had, with co-leaders Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall, represented the Social Democrats party in the Dáil before he stepped down from the party last September.

At the time, he said that he would love to be in government, but could still make a difference from the opposition benches.

When an independent and in other parties, Donnelly was quick to point out flaws in Fianna Fáil’s conduct, making reference to the party during a debate on Budget 2015.

“Despite this largesse, potentially before an election, government satisfaction ratings continue to drop in the polls,” he said.

Perhaps the public has decided the Fianna Fáil-style of politics should no longer be tolerated.

He also had this to say on the question of funding for the Fianna Fáil party in 2012:

When I compare what I do and what my team and office do here and in Wicklow, it is not apparent to me that there are millions of euro extra things Deputy Micheál Martin does as leader of Fianna Fáil.

“A situation where Deputy Micheál Martin gets more than four times the funding per Fianna Fáil Deputy than I get sounds imbalanced. Maybe it is the case that every single Fianna Fáil Deputy creates at least four times more value in our democracy than I do.”

At other times, Donnelly has publicly taken issue with his new party, including in this Twitter exchange before the general election last year.

And that wasn’t the first time, either. A vocal critic of the Fine Gael governments of recent years, he occasionally drew parallels with the previous Fianna Fáil administrations.

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Read: Stephen Donnelly is joining Fianna Fáil

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Sean Murray

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