Tag Archives: Michael Fitzmaurice

Friday.

Dáil Eireann.

Roscommon-Galway independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice made a passionate response to news of new covid restrictions….

“When I saw stuff coming up on my phone today, it reminded me of the song about “the day the music died”. For the youngsters of this country, the announcement this evening is devastating. It is devastating not alone for them but for any person who talks about being a politician or being involved in politics because we politicians saw what was coming from NPHET today on our phones. It was not from a Minister. We did not get any briefing.

It is similar to every bit of emergency legislation that has come in to this Dáil in the past year. Some of it was got ready on a Thursday or Friday and, over the weekend, every journalist was able to write about what we would look at next week. If we are elected by the people, we should be informed.

Government Ministers, especially, should be informed of what is coming down the line and not reading it on a phone, like we did two to three hours ago, before our Taoiseach came out to tell the people. It was not a new story because it was on the phones before he came out. We knew what was going to happen.

Unfortunately, Ministers are in a no-win position. The likes of NPHET will make their decisions. If a Minister does not go with it, he or she is made a pariah in the media.

Between the media and the doctors running this country, we are like the last link in the chain. We come in here and we vote one way or the other, be it on a Wednesday, Friday or Saturday evening, but all we are really doing is endorsing what unelected people have advised be done.

I worry where we as a nation are going. Sometimes, you have to stand up and be counted. Everyone in this House and society in general wants to suppress Covid and to get rid of it. Some of the youngsters in Ireland have never been to a disco. That is sad.

It is all right for us, we have lived life, been to places and we did not have to wear masks for years, but the youngsters who are of an age to go out do not know what is to go into a normal place. This will be the second Christmas they do not have a lot to look forward to. This Christmas they will be under the feet of their mothers and fathers, which is not a normal Christmas.

If I want to travel from some other country into this country, I have to get a negative PCR test 72 hours beforehand or a negative antigen test 48 hours beforehand and I can sit beside another person on the aeroplane for up to two hours while, at the same time, when it comes to the local pub, I cannot go to the bar, I cannot sit at a table with more than six persons and I have to produce a document confirming that I am vaccinated and, if not, I have to go outside to a shed with my drink. Where are we going as a country? We need to make sure that we bring people with us.

I worry about democracy. There will always be debate, disagreement, people who have different views, right and wrong, and people to whom you could not tell one thing or the other. I worry when I look at what is happening in Australia and what is being talked about in Austria and in Germany by the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and her sidekick, Ursula.

I hope Ireland does not go down that road. I believe in democracy and the political system, whether on one side or the other. We should always respect each other. We should not shut down debate and questioning. Unfortunately, in the media you are put into a box. You could be the biggest supporter of something, but if you ask a question against it you are now put into a little corner and you are one of them. That is not the way politics should be done.

“I worry as well about powers. We were told by the so-called experts that if we reached an 85% or 90% vaccination rate, it would be happy days, happy Christmas and happy everything. I talk to people from around the country.

Ordinary, hard-working people are asking me if this is ever going to end. They were told this and that a year ago, something else six months ago and now we are back to square one. I understand that Covid is a virus and that nobody knows the ins and outs of it but, my God, we are at a crossroads in our country.

We need to give people hope, in particular those working in the hospitality sector. In a normal year, disc jockeys would have 16 nights’ work over Christmas. This year, they will have none and they will get only approximately €200 per week because the PUP will come back. They are not part of an employment because they are subcontractors. That is the reality. What did they earn in the past year? The PUP came down and because they had no tax, they were not open.

Will this be a happy Christmas for them? Definitely not. Make hay when the sun shines is a lesson we in rural Ireland always learned. Unfortunately, those people have gone into darkness tonight. I urge the Government to think of all aspects of the hospitality sector.

“As a Dáil, we need to start scrutinising some of the decisions that are coming forward. The Government cannot keep wobbling, twisting and turning. We need leadership or we will lose the people around this country who, in fairness, have made an honest effort this past year.

“We need to bring everybody with us. If someone has a reaction to a vaccine, let us not be afraid to talk about it. Let us talk about it and not shut it down. In being open and transparent we bring people with us.

“I do not believe in bringing in more and more powers. Powers will not solve this. I have trust in the people of Ireland, who are making an honest effort. We do not need to make criminals out of them.”

Earlier: Derek Mooney: Filtering NPHET

Meanwhile…

Hmm.

The panel on RTÉ’s Saturday with Claire Byrne at the weekend

At the weekend.

On Saturday with Claire Byrne.

Claire was joined today by Sinn Fein MP Francie Molloy, political editor of the Irish Examiner Daniel McConnell, Fianna Fail TD Darragh O’Brien, Independent Alliance TD Michael Fitzmaurice, Fine Gael party chairman Martin Heydon and Irish Times political reporter Mary Minihan.

During their discussion, Michael Fitzmaurice was asked about why he will not be supporting the nomination of Leo Varadkar for Taoiseach in the Dail tomorrow.

Claire Byrne: “Michael, you’re not going to vote for Leo [Varadkar]. You’re going to vote against Leo. You abstained when it was Enda Kenny but you’re voting against Leo. What did he do to you?”

Michael Fitzmaurice: “Leo did nothing. I made it very clear that, first of all, it’s nothing against him. It would be the same if it was Simon Coveney and I wish him luck by the way. But the last time I was at talks and, look it, it went up to the very last few minutes but a Programme for Government was put together and that Programme for Government and all the people, in fairness Fianna Fáil were involved at the time, and Independents were involved and we drove up and down the road many a day to try and put a document together and, unfortunately, there are lots of parts of that Programme for Government that would be important and parts that I would have been very involved in myself, like agriculture, and rural, you know, things in rural Ireland that haven’t been delivered on. Look it, it has basically been…”

Byrne: “So it’s a protest vote really?”

Fitzmaurice: “Look it, there’s no point in voting, there’s no point in spending 80 days up and down a road to have a piece of paper that you look at above in a frame and nothing happening on it. And that’s the reason and that’s the only reason. There’s absolutely nothing against Leo Varadkar. As I say, I wish him the best of luck. But that’s my stand and I’m taking it.”

Daniel McConnell: “Michael, Michael, come on, would you not be honest like, cause we’ve spoken about this before and others who have spoken about this before. You know Simon Coveney was one who was very involved in the talks but Leo Varadkar, all the way through, was a very disinterested figure, he was more interested in looking at his phone than he was looking in the eyes of the Independents. Is that not more the reason for not voting for him than the failure to put the stuff through like?”

Fitzmaurice: “If you want to deal with, you’re dealing with two different issues there and you’re asking me two different questions and I’ll deal with both questions very frank and clear. In fairness to Simon Coveney, he put in hours and hours and there was many a row during it and, in fairness to him, he never threw the baby out with the bathwater.

“Yeah, there was less interest from Leo but that’s absolutely nothing got to do today with, when you agree a Programme for Government or when it’s there, it’s about delivering and, yes, some things have been delivered on, I’m not going to go saying or slating that nothing has been delivered. But the important things and especially, you know, I see things in agriculture – cause that’s the type of rural area I come from – that’s ferociously important to keeping families in rural areas that hasn’t seen the boom thankfully that Dublin has seen and Galway city has seen. And that’s good and job numbers and more people working is good things. I’m not being critical of everything.”

Byrne: “And you did say that if Simon had won the contest that you would take the same stance.”

Fitzmaurice: “Yes…”

Listen back in full here

Pic: Saturday with Claire Byrne

Turf-cutter-Michael-Fitzm-007

Independent TD for Roscommon-South Leitrim Michael Fitzmaurice

Last night, Independent TD for Roscommon–South Leitrim Michael Fitzmaurice spoke during the debate on the motion of no confidence against Tánaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton.

It followed her appointment of former leader of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions David Begg as chair of the Pensions Authority – a process which did not involve the official public service advertising or appointments process.

Grab a tay.

Michael Fitzmaurice: “Yesterday evening I came in to listen to the debate, but all I heard from the across the floor was what Fianna Fáil did in its last five years. The following contributor then spoke about people who had connections with bankers and what they did and said during those years. I am not long here, but I have seen all of that on television and it is all history now. A government is like a football team. It should take up the mantle and go forward and should not keep blaming the opposition for losing the match.”

The reason this motion has been put forward is simple. It is because of cronyism. It is not because of what Fianna Fáil did in its last five years in government. It is not because of what Deputy Shane Ross did or did not say in those years. It is not a blame game, but simply because of cronyism, an issue we heard about on radio in 2011. We were told then there would be no more cronyism, no more nods and winks, and that politics would be done in a new way.”

“Anybody in business who wants to take on a new employee goes through a system. They advertise the position, people apply for and submit CVs. The employer examines the CVs and whittles the numbers down to the eight or ten most suitable people for the job and interviews them. Employers do not just take people in on a nod and a wink. Nobody suggests that the person in question in this case is not suitable. What they are saying is that due process should take place.”

Derek Keating: “Some are. The Deputy should have been here earlier.”

Seán Barrett: “Quiet please.”

Michael Fitzmaurice: “Everybody can make a mistake, but the sad thing about people in politics is that we are not able to put up our hands and admit them. The people have great respect for those who admit they made a genuine mistake, that they should not have done it and will change it.”

Let us not hide behind a line in legislation. We can have all the legislation in the world, all the dos and don’ts and can hide behind the provisions, but we must still be able to look ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves whether we did it right, whether it was fair, whether we did it for the people of Ireland, whether we did it for the future of pensions and whether we did for our country.”

Arthur Spring: “Yes.”

Joan Burton: “Absolutely, I did.”

Fitzmaurice: “One thing the Tánaiste cannot say when she looks in the mirror is that she did it for the people of Ireland. It is cronyism at its best. This is what peeves people. In a poll yesterday evening, 80% of people said it was cronyism. Are they wrong…”

Finian McGrath: “That is right.”

Fitzmaurice: “…or are we not in touch with the people?”

Burton: “The Deputy is out of touch.”

Fitzmaurice: “Listening to the people on the ground, they are fed up with what is going on in politics – the nod and the wink. I am not long here, but I have seen appointments of judges and appointments to different boards. This is happening day after day.”

Burton: “Who has been appointing judges?”

Fitzmaurice: The way these appointments are being made is completely wrong. If mistakes are made, let us change the system. Let us not continue with the hoodwink system that is going on. If the Tánaiste or if I make a mistake, let us be brave, let us stand up and be counted and admit it. Let us not hide behind the curtain or veil of the protection of others. One of the members of the Tánaiste’s party admitted openly their disagreement with the appointment. We need honesty.”

“The people will judge each and every one of us in the next month or six weeks and there will be no protective curtain in front of us. There will be no veil to protect us. We will have to be open, honest and transparent and they will judge what has gone on here.”

Previously: Labour Movement

Etc, Etc

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie