#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 19°C Sunday 13 June 2021

'Politics is no Cinderella game': No way back for Fine Gael rebels, Kehoe insists

Paul Kehoe has said it’s not nice to have to expel the five TDs and two Senators over the abortion vote but insisted that “politics is no kind of Cinderella game”.

Paul Kehoe
Paul Kehoe
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THE SEVEN FINE Gael rebels who were expelled from the parliamentary party over their vote against the abortion bill will not be allowed to stand for the party at the next election, the Government Chief Whip has insisted.

Paul Kehoe has said that there will be no going back on the decision to expel the five TDs and two Senators from the parliamentary party in July and said they will not be standing for Fine Gael at the next general election.

TDs Lucinda Creighton, Peter Mathews, Billy Timmins, Brian Walsh and Terence Flanagan as well as Senators Paul Bradford and Fidelma Healy-Eames all lost the Fine Gael whip when they opposed the government on the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill.

Kehoe told TheJournal.ie this week: “I think the Taoiseach has made it quite clear from the time the people voted against the government that there were consequences.

“The consequences were they were expelled from the parliamentary party and they wouldn’t be standing for Fine Gael in the next general election, and that’s a decision the party has made. There’ll be no going back on that decision.”

Outside of the pale

Kehoe said he feels sorry for the seven “outside of the pale” but said that these are the consequences of their decision to break a pledge they signed when they ran for Fine Gael in the general election.

“[It] states clearly in the party pledge that you vote accordingly with what way the party decides,” he said. “The party decided to bring this legislation forward [and] to support the legislation.”

“Look I feel sorry for the people outside of the pale, of course it’s a decision they don’t take lightly because there is huge consequences: not being able to go to parliamentary party meetings, not being involved in the day-to-day decision making of the party… they find themselves outside, being removed from committees, removed from their offices. That is not nice.”

Kehoe does not have any qualms about having removed the expelled TDs from their offices and placed them in new surroundings away from the main Fine Gael block in Leinster House saying “that’s the way it is and has been for years”.

“It’s something that I don’t like doing, it’s unfortunate [but] that’s part of government and that’s a part of politics,” he said.

“Politics is no kind of Cinderella game, it’s tough, it’s not a bed of roses and anyonewho goes into politics, they know that.

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

Peter Mathews

Kehoe also dealt with claims from one Fine Gael rebel, Peter Mathews, that phones were disconnected in his office before he could move to new offices which he is unhappy with, claiming that grates on the windows are a fire hazard.

“Peter is in the very same office that he was in when he came into the Dáil first and he found no problem with his office [then],” Kehoe  claimed.

He rejected suggestions that phones were disconnected saying that Mathews was moved to a new office and his phones were connected to that office.

“[The phones] were connected to his new office as were his computers and all he had to do was walk straight in. He had a suite of offices, he has his own office, his staff have their own offices.

“I can assure you there are many people working in office life who would love to have Peter Mathews’ office in the spacious capacity that he’s in at the moment.”

Brian Walsh: ‘Seanad abolition is Enda Kenny’s baby and I won’t go against it’

Explainer: Why can’t the Fine Gael rebels form a new political party?

Read: Government rules out Fine Gael rebels’ bid to form second Dáil technical group

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

Read next: