Cormac Devlin FF

Cormac Devlin

MORE THAN one media reference last weekend to Fianna Fáil backbenchers’ anger at Helen McEntee spells internal coalition trouble for the justice minister, especially as the FF group consists of more than just a few backbenchers. And the group has been campaigning on law and order issues for some time.

The Dublin Parliamentary Party Group is composed of all Dublin TDs and senators, including ministers Darragh O’Brien and Jack Chambers as well as justice spokesperson Jim O’Callaghan, senator Mary Fitzpatrick and its spokesperson, Dún Laoghaire TD Cormac Devlin. It has campaigned for some time about crime in Dublin, with a particular demand being the creation of a dedicated Garda transport unit.

The group has been irritated at the unenthusiastic response from Fine Gael, Helen McEntee in particular (naturally), to this and other suggestions and its members pushed for the Garda transport unit proposal to be included in the Programme for Government in 2020. Apparently, this was blocked and the FFers blame this on the Blueshirts, supposedly the party of law’n’order, as the FF group members derisively describe them.

In 2022 the FF Dubs commissioned a survey of passengers about their experiences of and views on crime and got some pretty strong and alarming responses. This year they commissioned another survey about passengers experiences of anti-social behaviour, again producing predictable responses.

A follow-up meeting with Simon Harris – he was then selflessly filling in for his party leadership rival, Helen, while she was on maternity leave – produced much harmony and confluence of ideas, but little subsequent action. And would you believe it Helen, not Simon, is the one now getting the blame for this tardy response.

We can expect more from this FF ginger group given the times we live in and the justice minister in particular can anticipate a loud response to her utterances this week and into the future.
Whether Micheál Martin can suppress his suddenly vigorous TDs – with O’Callaghan and another dissident, John Lahart, central to the group – will be interesting to behold.

However, back in FG, even those who would like to burn poor McEntee at the stake for her recent blundering behaviour know that it could be quite dangerous to dispense with her. The view at the very top of the party is that getting rid of Helen means that there would then be no scapegoat between Vlad and the next bus that comes trundling along.

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