Dan Boyle: The Legend Of Dara Murphy


From top: Fine Gael’s Dara Murphy after retaining his seat in the Cork North Central constituency at the 2016 General Election; Dan Boyle

I was in Leinster House when Dara Murphy was coming through Cork City Council. I had left the Oireachtas while he became a Minister of State with responsibility for Europe.

I thought he had done a good job as Lord Mayor of Cork. I felt that in the Dáil he had been over-promoted, something the current Taoiseach seems to have agreed with.

He achieved a degree of notoriety when he insisted that a Garda patrol car drive him from Cork to Dublin, when his own car had broken down.

His political timing had been impeccable. Within months of ending his term of office as Lord Mayor, the 2011 general election also saw the retirement of long time and popular Fine Gael flag bearer, Bernard Allen.

His became the more obvious name for the Fine Gael seat in Cork North Central. When he failed to be reappointed as Minister of State he seemed to go into something of a funk.

Nevertheless he had used his European brief to impress someone in the European People’s Party of his otherwise not very obvious abilities.

The EPP the political home of Berlusconi and Orbán. The umbrella group of the right and the centre right political parties in Europe. It must take a particular type of charm to succeed in the EPP.

Such charm allowed Dara become an EPP director of elections for the 2019 European Elections. In those elections the EPP lost seats.

This must have especially annoyed the appointed leader of the group, Germany’s Manfred Weber, who up until then had been considered a shoe in to become the next President of the European Commission.

Despite this, Dara’s now legendary European charm has seen him parlay himself into another job. This time with the European Commission. Fair play to him I say, even if he risks becoming identified as a political manifestation of the Peter Principle.

Ostensibly since 2017 Dara Murphy has been largely absent without leave from the public office to which he had been entrusted.

For this period of double jobbing he seems to have had the tacit approval of the Fine Gael leadership. Beleaguered Eoghan Murphy has said that Dara Murphy’s EPP position was a more important job!

Dara Murphy certainly must have had the co-operation if not the collusion of the Fine Gael whips office. In a minority government his regular absences would have had to be accounted for somehow.

His viewing of his elected position, along with the endorsement of his party colleagues, as a secondary position, has been a calculated insult to the body politic.

His siphoning off of all available moneys associated with his position as a Teachta Dála, without accompanying effort, has to be seen as an obscenity.

Through the years our paths have intersected though we have taken wildly different journeys. If success is measured by the pay cheque that pertains to the position, then I will gladly admit defeat.

His is a road I wouldn’t want to travel on. It is a moral cul de sac.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator and serves as a Green Party councillor on Cork City Council. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

Pic via The Echo

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26 thoughts on “Dan Boyle: The Legend Of Dara Murphy

  1. Bud Flanagan

    The salient point being, of course, FG knew what he was up to but kept schtum.
    FF must have had a good idea too.
    Makes you wonder how many others are on the take.

      1. BobbyJ

        Will you raise it at your local FG meeting?

        Will you question why the top dogs in FG allowed it to happen?

        Or will you just say that it is “very bad form” on the internet and continue with being a FG cheerleader?

        1. Rob_G

          I would have no interest in attending a FG meeting, personally, but I will certainly bring it up to any FG candidate who comes looking for my vote come springtime.

  2. I Never Comment Anymore

    So to summarise he gains from the same sort of obscene patronage that has also kept yourself milking the public teat Dan?

  3. Clampers Outside

    I hope this is a one off, as I do like your pieces on here Dan, but I would hope that it doesn’t become a rant space for political sniping, even if what is said is true.

    An avid well meaning reader of your posts :)

  4. Treasa

    Yes, Dan, as Clampers said, I hope this critique of our self-enriching betters is a one-off. Heaven forbid anyone would highlight corruption, venality or anything else like that in Irish political life. Let’s keep the gravy train on the rails, and please think of this poor man’s ability to ride it into the ground. And thanks, Clampers, always a pleasure to read one of your totally reasonable viewpoints.

    1. Cian

      Treasa, there is a difference between a “critique of our self-enriching betters” and “rant space for political sniping”.

      Dan could have written a similar piece where he (rightly) criticises Dara’s work ethic, his dubious expenses, and his abandonment of his voters in Cork without crossing the line into political sniping – the likes of this:

      he had used his European brief to impress someone in the EPP of his otherwise not very obvious abilities.

      The EPP the political home of Berlusconi and Orbán. The umbrella group of the right and the centre right political parties in Europe. It must take a particular type of charm to succeed in the EPP.

      This is unwarranted.

      1. Brother Barnabas

        perhaps unpalatable if you’re of a particular political persuasion, but it’s certainly not unwarranted

        murphy is utterly unqualified for the position – and there’s nothing in his background or (non-existent) list of accomplishments to suggest he’s worth a salary of 150k per annum

  5. italia'90

    You’re not wrong Dan,
    but you haven’t criticised the system, a cosy system bereft of moral hazard,
    which allows such obscenity to manifest and go unpunished?
    It’s quite obvious to us the voters, the tax-payers, the entrepreneurs, the early risers,
    that drastic changes are needed to make SIPO laws on a par with CAB!
    It’s too late to tinker around and cross your fingers and hope for the best.

    The rot set in many years ago, it’s now time to surgically remove the parasitical elements
    and disinfect the patient so it can be productive, efficient and fit for purpose.
    Otherwise, we will be left with a defunct and very expensive doss house,
    full of panto characters and charlatans waiting their turn on the poitical roundabout.

    As Vanessa quite rightly said on another thread about Dara Murphy,
    why must she “be held to a higher standard of accountability,
    probity and ethical standard than a member of the Dáil or any other elected officer?”

    I’d like to see some concrete proposals from the Green Party, or any other party,
    before I vote for them in Finga next year.

  6. V

    In fairness
    This is one of the better columns dedicated to former Minister and full time gouger Dara Murphy. (Although I think his return to the Fine Gael Backbenches was more likely a wound from the Leadership Wars.)

    However, I do think that moral cul-de-sac you made sure to flout was self-serving.

    Having said that Dan, I do respect and admire you enormously, both as a writer and a public representative who found the backbone and decency to walk your talk, and put yourself back in front of the people; that took enormous courage. And if you opt to run next year I’ll canvas for you.

    Mind you I just might take a stab at it myself, it seems the people of Cork North Central will elect anyone. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        1. Bud Flanagan

          I concur.
          Whenever I’m on Leeside I have a thoroughly enjoyable time.
          Most recently for a splendid evening with a few old chums for a few snifters at Craft followed by a marvellous dinner at Jacques Restaurant.
          Such a splendid city to footle around compared to the unflushed toilet that is Dublin.

          1. Bud Flanagan

            I haven’t a clue what you’re talking about.
            Mind you, I often have that trouble when I’m in Cork,like.

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