Barry Andrews

Barry Andrews

WHAT A rabble-rousing politician MEP Barry Andrews has turned out to be, reverting to the more direct, radical tone of his grandfather Todd Andrews rather than his more patrician sounding father, former minister David Andrews.

In recent months Andrews has verbally lashed moderate unionist, Irish Times columnist Newton Emerson, British premier, Boris Johnson, foreign minister Simon ‘Covetous’ Coveney and the government.

Barry lacerated Newt in a letter to the IT for his “deliberately misleading” language about EU legislation concerning the north and his “spurious assertion” that the EU parliament is not a proper parliament (the idea!), among other things in a muscular polemic for such a refined MEP.

Before that, Andrews had a pop at Covetous for expressing gratitude to the Chinese on the release of his constituent Richard O’Halloran, who had been held hostage until last January in that controversial aviation dispute. “It implies the Chinese were blameless in the matter and clearly they weren’t”, he thundered. For good measure, he also criticised the Department of Foreign Affairs for not using the EU delegation in Beijing to assist in O’Halloran’s case.

In late November, Andrews criticised the European Commission for blocking an EU parliament motion to waive patents for vaccines to enable mass production of vaccines in developing countries. He also attacked the Irish government for failing to support such a waiver. And in a unifying Anglo-Irish gesture he also condemned Boris for banning flights from South Africa when the Omicron Covid variant was discovered there. Boris, said Barry, had never done anything that was scientifically motivated, it’s always politically motivated.

O’Halloran is personally known to Andrews which helps to explain the tenor of his outburst in that situation. But the other targets can be explained partly by the fact that Andrews will be one of the first in line against the Sinn Féin candidates now massing for the first stage of their electoral invasion in 2024, ie, the Euro (and local) elections, just two years away.

In 2019 SF had a disastrous performance in the local and EU elections and in Dublin this meant that Lynn Boylan crashed out of the EU parliament while Andrews, who polled just 14% of the first preferences, managed to snatch the last of the four seats in Dublin. SF will secure a multiple of their 2019 figure of 11% first preferences in the 2024 EU election and will surely take back Boylan’s seat.

If Andrews wants to retain his seat he may have to target Clare Daly (the other two MEPs in the four-seater are Ciaran Cuffe and Frances Fitzgerald) who will face a Red/Putin scare over Ukraine and who managed just 11.7 first preferences last time. Thus, Andrews’ assaults on Unionist, Emerson and British Tory leader, Johnson. Oh and Blueshirt colleague and minister, Coveney.

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