Flannery Dropped as FG Director of Elections
Update: The Irish Times say that it is not a “demotion” but that the director of elections position was not a continuous role.
For those not up to speed, Flannery said during the recent election campaign that Fine Gael would consider the possibility of a coalition with Sinn Féin after a general election. Following the remarks Kenny and others then jumped up and said that Flannery was only expressing a personal opinion.
Flannery’s comments were clearly rubber-stamped by the party, it was a kite-flying exercise that went wrong. Colm Burke, FG MEP in South who lost his seat, came out after the count and said he believed it impacted his transfers [looking for cite link, racking brains], I’m sure there are others in Fine Gael who agree.
To me, shifting Flannery looks like a move designed to show Kenny’s leadership qualities. It is being done to reassert his full control in the eyes of the core-vote. Flannery has been relieved of his director of elections role, but not as director of organisation. Don’t be surprised if he’s still running things behind the scenes when the next election rolls ‘round.
The Indo have a quote from a senior TD saying “Enda had to address it today and he did. No unelected person will be talking on behalf of the party”. So maybe there was some collective feathers ruffled in de’grassroots caused by a non-elected spokesperson speaking on policy.
Deaglan DeBreadun has an excellent post on the Irish Times politics blog partly about the hypocrisy of the whole FG/SF situation.
DeBreadun says -
The carry-on over Fine Gael and Sinn Féin was “a bit of craic”. Frank Flannery dropped a heavy hint to his party’s supporters that it was ok now to transfer to the “Shinners”. It apparently went down like the proverbial lead balloon with the core-vote Blueshirts.
As the Americans say, “I don’t have a dog in this fight” but I can’t help noticing that we expect the unionists up North to share power with these people, so what’s the big deal south of the Border?
Many members of the unionist community actually died at the hands of the Provisional IRA, yet the DUP and UUP are called bigots if they don’t go into government with the political wing of the Provos. Can someone out there explain why it is different down here?
The political permeations within Fine Gael get more interesting by the day, at least for political anoraks.