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'People are becoming disgusted with the way Fine Gael is being run,' says... Fine Gael TD

John Deasy has launched a scathing attack on his party, the Taoiseach and the current Cabinet.

John Deasy
John Deasy
Image: Gareth Chaney/Photocall Ireland!

Updated 4.40pm

FINE GAEL TD John Deasy has launched a scathing attack on the Taoiseach, the current Cabinet and Fine Gael saying people within the party are becoming “disgusted” with the way it is being run.

Deasy was speaking to RTÉ’s News at One in the wake of the controversy surrounding the appointment of John McNulty to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) days before he was announced as the Fine Gael nominee for the Seanad.

There was criticism of the McNulty issue at the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting last night with some TDs saying it is becoming “Fianna Fáil lite”. Deasy said the issue merely gave frustrated deputies “an opportunity to vent”.

He said that while TDs are happy with the way Finance Minister Michael Noonan is running the economy, many are ”disgusted” with the leadership of Fine Gael, with Enda Kenny at the heart of that.

Deasy said that “people are becoming disgusted with the way Fine Gael is being run” and said that there is an “atmosphere of total non-criticism” within the party.

He said it was “slightly embarrassing” that Arts Minister Heather Humphreys did not address the McNulty issue during last night’s parliamentary party meeting and said that McNulty should withdraw his name from the Seanad by-election process.

On his party leader Enda Kenny, Deasy said: ”The Taoiseach, who likes to give his mobile phone number out to the world, doesn’t really engage or entertain criticism.”

He said that real ability in the party is being overlooked and “an element of insecurity and pettiness has crept into the party leadership” saying the Taoiseach is at the heart of the party’s problems.

Cabinet appointment

Deasy said that some people who have been appointed to Cabinet are “unfit for those positions” but did not name any minister in particular. He said:

“People aren’t qualified for the positions they’re getting. The requisite qualifications are loyalty and – in some cases – being just about able to read a script.”

Responding to Deasy’s comments from the National Ploughing Championships in Laois today, the Taoiseach said he observes very closely the work rate and the range of activities that all the ministers have to contend with.

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He said he had “nothing but respect for them, for the way they have faced into very difficult challenges – unprecedented actually – in the last three years and have worked assiduously in the country’s interests”.

I see that every day at Cabinet subcommittee meetings. My engagement with all the ministers is a feature of that, so it’s not a question of, you know, people lacking in endeavour or lacking in work rate.

Speaking earlier today, Deasy also referred to Health Minister Leo Varadkar’s apparent ‘slapping down’ at the Fine Gael think-in earlier this month, saying:

“People don’t like reasonable, substantive criticism in Fine Gael… Even if the minister in question is doing their job properly, they’re down for a slapping down.”

Despite the criticism, the outspoken Waterford TD said he had no intention of resigning from the party citing his long family links to Fine Gael. The outspoken deputy, first elected in 2002, has an uneasy relationship with the leadership.

He previously clashed with Enda Kenny when he was sacked as frontbench spokesperson on justice in 2004 after lighting a cigarette in the Dáil bar just days after the smoking ban came into effect.

He was later appointed deputy spokesperson on foreign affairs but Deasy did not back Kenny in the attempted heave by Richard Bruton in 2010 and has been on the fringes of the party ever since.

- With additional reporting by Michelle Hennessy.

First published 1.36pm

Read: Overlooked Seanad hopeful Samantha Long quits Fine Gael, says party is ignoring females

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