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.
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