Limerick TDs accused of being cowardly in marriage campaign

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by Alan Jacques

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Former Fianna F‡il Senator Averil Power with Amnesty International director Colm O'Gorman in the grounds of Dublin Castle after the announcement of the marriage referendum results on Saturday.
Former Fianna F‡il Senator Averil Power with Amnesty International director Colm O’Gorman in the grounds of Dublin Castle after the announcement of the marriage referendum results on Saturday.

SINN Féin councillor Maurice Quinlivan believes his recent comments about Fianna Fáil’s lack of involvement in the marriage equality referendum campaign in Limerick have been vindicated by the resignation of Senator Averil Power.

The City North representative this week claimed that the “cynical and cowardly” nature of Fianna Fáil was exposed by one of their own prominent members. Senator Power announced this Tuesday that Fianna Fáil’s lack of support for the marriage equality referendum was the “final straw” and that she was quitting the party with a “heavy heart”.

Cllr Quinlivan believes that Ms Power did the decent thing and abandoned discredited Fianna Fáil.

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“Will others have the political integrity to follow her lead?” he asked.

“I highlighted the fact that Limerick Fianna Fáil was invisible in the marriage referendum campaign. I made the point that despite Deputy Niall Collins being Fianna Fail’s referendum director that surprisingly no activity was taking place in Limerick. Not a single poster had been erected, not a single leaflet delivered, nor a single door was knocked on by Fianna Fáil,” said Cllr Quinlivan.

“I felt that Fianna Fáil’s Willie O’Dea had taken an uncharacteristic vow of silence on matters relating to the marriage referendum. My observations unleashed a torrent of abuse from Fianna Fáil TDs Willie O’Dea and Niall Collins against both Sinn Féin and myself. Indeed Deputy Collins feebly tried to accuse me of playing ‘petty politics’.”

Cllr Quinlivan insists that his comments have now been “totally vindicated”, despite all the fulminations from Deputies O’Dea and Collins.

“Both Willie O’Dea and Niall Collins had an opportunity to show political leadership in Limerick and bottled it yet again. Their political cowardice has not gone unnoticed by the electorate or the many enthusiastic young people voting for the first time,” he commented.

In response, Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea stated that he had yet to meet one person who was canvassed or received a leaflet from Sinn Fein.

“Cllr Quinlivan’s tactics are typical of the organisation he represents. They never do anything for anybody, but specialise in turning up to claim credit when it’s done.”

“This was a victory for the grass-roots of the Yes campaign and has nothing to do with Sinn Fein or any other political party. Cllr Quinlivan would be better employed apologising to Maria Cahill for the disgraceful further slur on her character by his leader Gerry Adams and while he’s at it, he should apologise — all be it nearly 20 years later — to the McCabe family. After all, one of Jerry McCabe’s killers was Mr Pearse McAuley with whom people close to Cllr Quinlivan would be very familiar,” the Limerick TD said.

Deputy O’Dea went on to say that Averil Power left Fianna Fail because the party refused her demand to be the only General Election candidate in her constituency without even having a selection convention.

“A number of Sinn Fein people left their party for more serious reasons such as cover up of child abuse, kangaroo courts, and people being disappeared,” he added.