The John Deasy Transcript



John Deasy TD

You may recall John Deasy’s interview with Richard Crowley on RTÉ’s News At One yesterday in which he rounded on his party’s leadership in fairly splutter-making fashion.

Here’s the transcript.

Apologies for the delay.

Grab a tay.

John Deasy: “I think it’s probably indicative of what’s been going on in Fine Gael for some time. I think the calculation from the Taoiseach is that he can pretty much do anything he wants right now. And as long as the economy continues to improve, the public really won’t care and, you know, maybe he’s right.”

Richard Crowley: “What was said last night, at the parliamentary party meeting or, rather, what answers did you get to the questions that you asked?”

Deasy: “Well, no answers whatsoever. We all know what happened. It really was a case of pointing that out and asking for some accountability with regard to the process here, which was clearly manipulated and abused and, you know, this appointment to the IMMA board was to construct a credential, to allow Mr McNulty to pursue the Senate nomination.”

Crowley: “Do you not accept his bona fides, in terms of his suitability, as a candidate for that particular panel on the Senate?”

Deasy: “Not after reading the Irish Independent today, to be honest with you. I didn’t realise a High Court judge, I didn’t realise a complaint had been lodged, I didn’t realise that a High Court judge was sitting, I didn’t realise that people were not informed that the appointment to the board, made a few days previously, so no, the whole thing was bit of a farce. So, no, I, no is the answer.”

Crowley: “Who appointed him to the board of IMMA?”

Deasy: “The IMMA mechanism, or vehicle, was constructed, besides the point. This really was about just putting somebody into the Senate, building a profile and running them in a general election and it’s not, what came across very clearly , last night in the parliamentary party, was, people are getting sick of the way this is being conducted and it doesn’t really strike people as being what we, as a party, phrased as new politics.”

Crowley: “I want to come back to that more substantive point in a moment. But just on the appointment of John McNulty to IMMA, it was the Minister for Arts and Culture [Heather Humphreys] who appointed him and she would have done so, one would presume, at the request of the Taoiseach.”

“I presume so, yeah.”

Crowley: “And she would have, should have satisfied herself, as to his credentials, as a board member surely, one would imagine that anyway?”

Deasy: ”I wouldn’t imagine that at all. I’d say she did what she was told to do.”

Crowley: “Without asking any questions?”

Deasy: “Possibly, yeah.”

Crowley: “She was at your parliamentary party meeting last night.”

Deasy: “ Yeah.”

Crowley: “Did she answer any questions in that regard?”

Deasy: “I don’t believe so.”

Crowley: “Did you, what questions did you ask her? that she did answer?”

Deasy: “Nobody asked any questions of the minister.”

Crowley: “Did she have anything to say?”

Deasy: “No, it was slightly embarrassing that it occurred in that way. But that is unfortunately what happened yeah.”

Crowley: “Did anybody speak up for the party, in a sense that, did anybody defend what has happened?”

Deasy: “At the end of…about 12, maybe 15, people got up and asked for some accountability with regards to the decisions that had been taken and I think a few people did…probably what was most uncomfortable for the meeting was that a few people expressed the view that, if it was something that Fianna Fáil, or akin to something that Fianna Fáil would have done years ago, so what. And that the economy was improving and and that people would forget about it in a couple of days and that we should be allowed to do whatever we like. It was an uncomfortable viewpoint. It was countered by one particular deputy, very strongly, that, you know, I didn’t join this party, to be Fianna Fail-light, so I think the essence and the mood of the meeting was that it was a ridiculous standpoint and that people deserve some accountability with regard to, as I said, the manipulation and the abuse of the system.

Crowley: “But was there a sense this is not just about John McNulty in IMMA, this is about other appointments, this is about how the party operates, generally?”

Deasy: “I think that the parliamentary party is very happy with the way Michael Noonan is running the economy. I think people are becoming disgusted with the way Fine Gael is being run, if that answers your question? And I think it wasn’t just about Mr McNulty’s nomination, I think it was about a lot of things within the parliamentary party. I think an element of insecurity, pettiness, has grown into the party leadership and I think people are getting sick of it. It is an atmosphere of total non-criticism, even if it’s reasonable and constructive and I think it’s fair to say that the Taoiseach, who likes to give his mobile phone number out to the world, doesn’t really engage or entertain criticism. In actual fact, reacts against it, which is unfortunate. And I think that sense and that atmosphere, within the parliamentary is growing and I think it’s destructive. And I think what we got last night was a taste of people reacting to it, and I think the McNulty issue gave people an opportunity to vent, yeah. “

Crowley: “Is there a sense that the power is being centralised and, not alone is it being centralised but it is now revolving around a cohort of a number of key individuals, some of whom were elected, and some of whom are not, these are unelected advisors?”

Deasy: “A bit more than that, I think that’s the case in any Government. I think it kind of resides in a couple of people’s decision-making ability. I think that’s not abnormal, I think it’s a lot to do with the people who’ve been appointed to particular positions, very senior positions in some cases. By all accounts, the credentials for those positions or those promotions seem to be, well, one, if you can grovel to the Taoiseach long enough and, secondly, if you can read a script and I think you’re in. If you can do both those things. With regard to real ability in the party, it’s completely overlooked and it’s down to being a supporter of the Taoiseach or not.”

Crowley: “What positions are you talking about?”

Deasy: “A lot. Not a cast of thousands, but a lot.”

Crowley: “Such as?”

Deasy: “A lot.”

Crowley: “But that’s a bit of a scattergun accusation, John…”

Deasy: “Not if you’re in Fine Gael and you’re there long enough, I think it’s a lot.”

Crowley: “But can you give me an example of …”

Deasy: “I’m not going to pick out particular individuals, no…”

Crowley: “But you’re not talking about particular appointments, of people as ministers are you?”

Deasy: “Yeah, I am, of course I am.”

Crowley: “Again…that’s a bit of a wide accusation, can you focus it a bit more? What are you talking about? Or are you talking about all..”

Deasy: “Well I think did focus it. I think it’s very clear what I’m saying. I’m saying people aren’t qualified for the positions that they’re getting and the requisite qualifications are loyalty and being able to, in some cases, just about read a script. Some of these senior positions affect people’s lives in this country. And I think it is serious and I think that some people, who have been appointed, even to Cabinet, are unfit for those positions…and I think that’s very serious. And I think we’re seeing some of it recently. I think that it’s common knowledge within Fine Gael unfortunately. And I think last night people, for the first time being able to vent that opinion, people are just getting sick of it.”

Crowley: “This could be read as the resentment of the young turks who were passed over for power?”

Deasy: “Yeah and I can imagine that that will be the reaction to this. Unfortunately, if you go back to Fota [where the Fine Gael think-in took place recently], you go back to the reaction to Leo Varadkar doing his job properly , I think you get a sense of the atmosphere within Fine Gael. Leo shouldn’t have been appointed to that position if people didn’t expect him to do his job. The reaction to what he’s been doing, which is very sensible, is borne out of insecurity and pettiness. People don’t like reasonable, substantive criticism within Fine Gael, if it affects certain individuals, their profile. Even if the individual in question or the minister in question is doing their job correctly and properly, you know, I’m afraid they’re down for a slapping down.”

Crowley: “And how does that slapping down manifest itself? How is dissent silenced?”

Deasy: “It’s silenced by non-preferment with regard to promotion in many cases, subtle threats with regard to nominations, when it comes to the General Election. In many ways, it’s made clear to people – and there’s a sense of fear within the parliamentary party these days that, if you don’t toe the line, well then you’ll be punished. That has been carried out over a number of years and I suppose in all political parties, there’s an element of that but it’s got to the point now where people are becoming disgusted by the way Fine Gael is being run and I think last night [parliamentary party meeting] was a venting of that.”

Crowley: “If it’s as bad as you say it is, you should surely resign from the party.”

Deasy: “No my family has represented Fine Gael since the 1960s. I don’t believe it’s representative of Fine Gael as a political party, I think there are elements within Fine Gael that are unrepresentative of the entire grassroots and representation ranks within Fine Gael, so no I’m not going to do that. I think it’s important that people actually say how they feel about what’s going on. Again I think the calculation is that pretty much anything can be done to any individual and, as long the economy improves, no-one really cares in the public and maybe they’re right. But I think it’s important for some people in Fine Gael to actually stop this now cause it’s ugly.”

Crowley: “And is the Taoiseach at the heart of this?”

Deasy: “Well I think it’s very clear from what I’m saying that he is, yes.”

Crowley: “He’s directing it?”

Deasy: “Yeah, course he is.”

Crowley: “What should John McNulty do, or how should Fine Gael fix this mess over IMMA and the nominations?”

Deasy: “I think he should step down, I think if we preach new politics and have done so with regard to the appointments to State boards and I think if it’s clear that there’s been a manipulation of the process here, I think he should step down from this. It’s not a big deal, he won’t be in the Senate but he’ll probably still run for the general election for Fine Gael. Will that happen? I doubt it.”

Listen back here

Previously: The Artless Dodgers

Deasy Does It

Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland


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10 thoughts on “The John Deasy Transcript

  1. Clampers Outside!

    Thanks for this, Deasy seemed to deliver that with some candour rarely ever heard from any TD.

    Fair play like, but is this a flash in the pan or is Deasy normally like this, he’s not a TD I’m particularly aware of…. (I keep picturing that Royston Brady twit in my head)

    1. Mick Flavin

      If I remember correctly, he was one of the first out of the blocks against Enda in Richard Bruton’s ballsed-up heave in 2010. If he had been given a junior ministry or somesuch in the recent reshuffle I doubt there’d be a peep out of him now. Not that I don’t agree with what he’s saying, I just don’t trust his motives.

      Interesting aside: His da, Austin was a serial malcontent too…

    1. Just sayin'

      I should also add that he got his seat rom his Daddy, in true Irish political fashion and his dad tried to unseat Bruton in a similar manner to how Deasy tried to get rid of Kenny in 2007. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree there.

      1. Hosannah in the Hiace

        he got his seat because he was elected. before that he was a high profile councillor.

        name recognition helps, a lot, but what you posted isn’t very smart

  2. The florist

    Got it right in first statement ” as long as the economy improves people dont care” people don’t care, it’s the economy stupid!

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