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Talk to Timmy

Why is this TD so incredibly upbeat about Fianna Fáil?

Timmy Dooley spoke to about sexy heaves, grand ideas and stagnant poll numbers today.

TIMMY DOOLEY IS considered by some to be Fianna Fáil’s enforcer, marshalling the restless troops and staunchly defending the leadership amid wobbles over poor poll numbers.

“Stagnant” and not “poor” is the word that the Clare TD applies to the party’s current ‘becalmed’ polls numbers.

The latest figures have prompted another round of public commentary from some peeved party backbenchers, notably Éamon Ó Cuív.

Timmy smile gif

With all the talk of Micheál Martin’s leadership being under threat in recent days we thought it was a good time to speak to one of his loyal lieutenants.

Here’s what some of what we learned when Dooley visited‘s offices earlier today…

1. Heaves are sexier than transport policy

An argument made in recent weeks is that some Fianna Fáil TDs are working harder than others. Here’s what Dooley said:

Everybody works to their own ability, works to their own rate… some people work more on the national stage, some people work more on the local stage. I don’t know any TD that gets elected successively that doesn’t work.

But the Clare deputy believes the problem is the media’s perception. The press will always focus on the internal battles and not policies, he thinks.

Media, as it is, will concentrate on the sexy end of things, which is usually around an internal battle or a heave or whatever.

Video: Nicky Ryan /

2. He has a pretty positive outlook 

Far from the doom and gloom of other Fianna Fáil deputies in the media, Dooley believes the party has done incredibly well to come back from its position 2011 when “the general narrative was that Fianna Fáil are finished”.

He said that the strategy pursued in opposition has paid off when it came to the local elections – it’s now the largest party in local government – and as a result the party has a “suite of new people and candidates” ready for the general election.

Video: Nicky Ryan /

3. “Fianna Fáil shouldn’t exist just for Fianna Fáil’s sake” 

Earlier this week, party veteran Éamon Ó Cuív suggested that there was a complete collapse in self-belief within Fianna Fáil ranks. Dooley does not share his view and argues that all this introspection isn’t helping:

The more we look inward and convulse ourselves about how we’re doing in the polls, then that takes up all the oxygen in the minds of the people, rather than saying what is it that Fianna Fáil are about.

Video / YouTube

4. What does Fianna Fáil stand for? 

It’s a problem and a question that won’t go away. Dooley said he has ideas but it’s not as easy as just putting them out there:

“I can have a whole lot of grand ideas, and I have them… We’re not going to fight the election like the Labour Party did the last time in some kind of a bubble that’s not related to the economic reality. That has bedevilled politics for so long.”

In the below clip – which is worth your time – we asked Dooley exactly what does Fianna Fáil stand for. He launched into an anecdote about an old friend of his:

Video: Nicky Ryan /

5. Micheál Martin is safe

We asked Dooley if he thinks his party leader is safe from a heave… and whether he has any leadership ambitions of his own. Here are the very brief and definitive responses:

Video: Nicky Ryan /

There will be more from our interview with Timmy Dooley on tomorrow and in the coming days. 

Read and watch: 7 things we learned from our VERY revealing interview with Ronan Mullen

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