Art, the Fine Gael Leadership Race and Beyond

On the hustings: Kerry Young Fine Gael Chairman, Art O'Mahony out on the hustings in Castleisland with Minister Jimmy Deenihan prior to the last general election. ©Photograph: John Reidy
On the hustings: Kerry Young Fine Gael Chairman, Art O’Mahony out on the hustings in Castleisland with Minister Jimmy Deenihan prior to the last general election. ©Photograph: John Reidy

On his own estimation, local political activist, Art O’Mahony has a busy year ahead of him.

Art, who is chairman of the Kerry branch of Young Fine Gael, is facing into the leaving certificate this summer.

But the busy-ness doesn’t end there as far as he’s concerned. He feels he’ll be out knocking on doors before the year is out or shortly after.

For most of his young life, Art has immersed himself in politics and those of Fine Gael in particular.

Doorstep Aspect of Politics

He got his first real taste of the ‘doorstep’ aspect of politics in the run-in to the last general election when he accompanied outgoing TD and Minister Jimmy Deenihan on his rounds.

Only Deenihan himself could have more disappointed than Art as the reality of the count in Killarney began to unfold.

I asked Art to give us his views on the recent developments within the party he so clearly and dearly loves and, while he makes no preference apparent to us, he has clear cut views as to what the new leader and Taoiseach should do.

Enda Kenny in Castleisland  14/3/2007
Clearing out: Taoiseach Edna Kenny showing that he can manouvre a wheel barrow with the best of them during a notable visit to Castleisland in March 2007. ©Photograph: john Reidy 14-3-2007

Acknowledgement of Enda Kenny’s Contribution

“First and foremost, it is important to acknowledge Enda Kenny’s parting from political life. Enda had the necessary hunger, tenacity and belief that Fine Gael needed in 2002 and beyond to resurrect the party of Collins – like a phoenix from the ashes.

It is no coincidence that he stamped the same legacy on the coinage of Irish history by being the Taoiseach who brought Ireland back from the brink and reduced unemployment by almost two-thirds.

Lemass was not appreciated for his greatness until decades later and almost lost both the 1961 and 1965 elections.

Dáil ÉireannWith that in mind, I maintain history will be kind to Enda Kenny, a politician of real integrity. 

Moving forward, the task of our new leader and Taoiseach, however, will be to mend the societal damage that the recession caused by rewarding those who shouldered Ireland through the crisis. From the plumber to the nurse, from the farmer to the merchant, we should prudently move to insure that enterprise and labour are encouraged.

Fine Gael needs to unashamedly differentiate itself from the crowded left -we believe in equality of opportunity and crucially, that people are better at spending their hard-earned money than Big Government.

We are lucky to have two fantastic candidates in Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar to pass on the torch, but there can only be one winner.

Undoubtedly, it seems the Dublin West doctor has clinched the prize, with a contagious energy I believe will stand to the party come the next election.

My own view is that the new Taoiseach should request a dissolution of Dáil Éireann before the summer ends and hold an election to gain a fresh, stronger mandate.

‘New Politics’ is getting old. It might work in Norway or god knows where else, but the clog-up in legislation is worrying, especially in the midst of Brexit.

In any event, I assume I’ll be knocking at doors before Christmas is out.” Contact-banner

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