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Ned O'Keeffe: There were "too many intellectuals" in government

Outgoing – and outspoken – Cork East TD takes to the airwaves to decry lack of businessmen, shopkeepers and farmers in last Cabinet.

Micheal Martin and Ned O'Keeffe in 2009
Micheal Martin and Ned O'Keeffe in 2009
Image: Image: Fianna Fail

OUTGOING FIANNA FAIL TD Ned O’Keeffe has given another doom-laden interview, this time warning that Ireland might have to go “cap in hand back to the UK”. He also said that the recent Cabinet had been short of businessmen and had “too many intellectuals”.

The Cork East TD raised some eyebrows yesterday when he suggested to the Cork Evening Echo that there was a “real possibility” of a military coup happening here. When contacted by TheJournal.ie he stood by that comment, saying he said it because “of the state of the economy”.

In an interview with Matt Cooper on Today FM’s Last Word show this evening, O’Keeffe again stood by his coup remarks, saying:

If the crisis continues someone will have to run the country. If we continue to expand our debts and borrowing, there’ll be no hope for this country.

The outspoken TD said that he had been inspired to make the comments because he was so “shocked” by people’s frustration on the campaign trail. He was speaking by phone from the hustings in Youghal, Co Cork where he is canvassing on behalf of his son Kevin who is running to try and fill Ned’s seat.

O’Keeffe senior also claimed that he had raised the issue of Anglo Irish Bank being in crisis “four years ago” in the Dail and was nearly “laughed out if it”. He said he had gotten his information on Anglo from a “tip from a stockbroker”.

Eschewing Fine Gael’s proposals for the country’s economy, O’Keeffe said that while there is no tradition of military coups in the State’s recent history, “if the government that goes in doesn’t work out, people will be very annoyed and upset”.

Of the most recent government, in which his party was in power with the Greens, O’Keeffe concluded that there had been “too many intellectuals and too many people from outside business” sitting in Cabinet. Shopkeepers, businesspeople and those with a farming background – as O’Keeffe himself has – would be better equipped to get the country back on economic track, he said. He then asked:

Who there in Cabinet ever bought a bale of hay?

Reiterating yesterday’s comments that Charlie Haughey was the best leader Ireland ever had, he also said Ray McSharry had “saved the country in the 1980s from rack and ruin”. Asked for an alternative leader of the country, O’Keeffe namechecked Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary as his suggestion.

Kevin O’Keeffe had said today that he had “no idea what he (Ned) said” but that he would “leave him to his own” (devices). Asked by Matt Cooper this evening what he thought of Kevin’s chances of being elected for Fianna Fail were, Ned told him that he believed there was a chance.

However, he noted that the Youghal area where he was currently canvassing for support had always been a Fianna Fail stronghold but now appeared to be leaning towards Sinn Fein.

Micheal Martin and the army play down Ned O’Keeffe’s ‘army coup’ comments>

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