The Kilkenny Journal

Monday, 25th September 2017
Latest Edition

With the retirement of Taoiseach Enda Kenny this evening it appears at this moment in time that there will be two main challengers for the leadership of Fine Gael and Taoiseach of the country. 

In a few words Varadkar is a publicly practising homosexual in a partnership with a young medical doctor  while Coveney is a Bilderberger in league with the UN Director of mass immigration Peter Sutherland, the former Irish attorney general who wants to force more mass immigration in on his native country. Varadkar is of Indian extraction , his father being Indian. 

Thus so far Fine gael presents itself with an unenviable political choice in leadership terms, a homosexual half Indian or a Bilderberger sworn to sell his country out to the international bankers and globalists and overcome the natural Irish population with a million more immigrants as the Irish are driven out. 

Phew, with such a horrible choice, a veritable Hobson's choice, we thank God we are not Fine Gaelers!
 
It's not the first time the country was faced with such a choice - Eamonn De Valera's father was a Cuban Spanish Jew of New York .  Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowan presided while the country was sold out to the bankers, the globalists and the hordes of immigrants were allowed to flood in costing more billions again. 

Varadkar is the media darling , some would say the media puppet , while Coveney was caught on film in Copenhagen in 2014 for the annual Bilderberg meeting that took place in that city in that year.  The hated Sutherland , a banker turned into a real enemy of the Irish people, would have massive say in any government led by Coveney. 

So it would be much to the benefit of the Fine Gael party, the country and the people  if a compromise candidate were to emerge. We think that that candidate should be John Deasy TD of Waterford who has challenged Kenny in the past and held that there is no principle left in Irish politics. If forced between Varadkar and Coveney, we would choose Varadkar as the lesser danger to the country. Ideally, in a decent world, it would be John Deasy. 

 

Published in Front

DEASY THE BEST MAN TO LEAD FINE GAEL AND THE COUNTRY.

The best man for rural Ireland. 
Great American political training and experience.

John Deasy TD is the most principled and outspoken TD in Dail Eireann. He is fearless. He is the one TD that does not think first of his own safety. More important , he has his head screwed on, he is a practical politician and he is right. He can be counted on never to have any truck with Sinn Fein/IRA.

He would restore principle and integrity to Fine Gael and back into the government. More important he would restore Ireland's pride - and he is a better businessman than any minister in the cabinet. He is shrewd and hard-working and is ready to give it a lash as a young, tough and fearless leader of his party and for his country above all.

Unlike Leo, John Deasy does not play up to the media. Unlike Simon Coveney he doesn't play up to Peter Sutherland and the Bilderberger bankers. He is unsullied by power , he is up for the challenge. He would take no messing from Brussels but would be a strong man for Ireland on the Council of Ministers. he is beholden to nobody.

John Deasy is a powerful and passionate speaker, a true son of Fine Gael , yet the most outspoken politician in that party in years. He has a compassionate side that would concern himself with the homeless, he's the most down-to-earth politician there is. He is the maverick that could turn Fine Gael around and make the party great again!

Above all he is a genuinely decent man. He's young and full of fire and ideals for his party and his country. Fine gael need look no further than Deputy John Deasy at next weekend 's party Ard Fheis.

https://en.wikipedia.org/…/John_Deasy_(Fine_Gael_politician)

http://www.thejournal.ie/fine-gael-td-principles-3011141-O…/

John Deasy also reckons Enda Kenny would be “dragged out of the place, kicking and screaming”.
THEJOURNAL.IE|BY PAUL HOSFORD

 

Published in Front
Saturday, 03 June 2017 15:17

JOHN PAUL ROCKS IT FOR LEO.

Campaign for Leo: The inside story of how Varadkar beat Simon Coveney

JOHN PAUL ROCKS IT FOR LEO - BUT PARTY MEMBERS VOTE AGAINST LEO TWO-TO-ONE  ON GROUNDS OF HIS ORIENTATION. 

They also voted with Leo's origins to the forefront.  Coveney the asexual Cork Irishman appealed more to the members rather than the more cosmopolitan tanned -looking Dubliner. But there was also a subscript against Coveney that he is the chosen one of UN Commissioner for Mass Immigration Peter Sutherland and his shady Bilderberg bankers. Leo was, to our mind, the better candidate, but the contest was about sexuality and racial origin at the grassroots of the 25,000 party members across the country. So it's just as well that Leo has announced that he will keep his liaison in the background while Taoiseach at public events while two thirds of the party membership are opposed to it. 

All that said Leo is the better man. he is not of the liberal elite like Coveney, nor will he pander to the Left as Coveney would and has done. Leo is by nature a conservative and as such he wants his private life kept that way and rightly so. Leftists should also remember that Indians are very conservative people , as is Leo's dad, and his Irish mother as well, thus he comes from a pretty traditional background where no extremes are considered.

He doesn't want abortion, for instance, but he'll live with a little of it if he has to. He is not in favour of mass immigration, he is certainly not going to continue paying an estimated 4 billions in finance of mass immigration. Welfare regulations will be brought in to ensure that African and Asian neighbourhoods get up early in the morning from now on. Leo will be  a good decent middle-of-the-road Taoiseach who will take no more lip from the Left and a leader like him has been badly needed to get this country right again. 

John Paul Phelan will be delighted with Leo's derision of abortion and all its works. Leo has described the person in the womb as a child and not as a foetus. On immigration he ran into a lot of Dublin Leftie and liberal flack back in 2008 when he proposed that idle immigrants here be paid six months welfare to leave on the basis that they were not ever going to do any good in Ireland and contribute to the economy, and though he won't repeat that statement that's his internal logic. 

Leo is the Taoiseach that the liberal leftist Micheal Martin and Fianna Fail are afraid of - he will definitely outperform Fianna Fail and the others, especially Sinn Fein, in the looming general election and could form an overall Fine Gael coalition government with some right-thinking opposition TDs. The Fianna Fail front bench doesn't look up to much these days. 

You're going to see the very capable John Deasy TD as a junior minister below in Waterford and John Paul Phelan probably as chief whip, though hopefully a full minister replacing Simon Coveney in the Custom House. Pat Deering TD over in Carlow should get a decent junior ministry. Leo's success augurs well for Carlow-Kilkenny and the South-East. 

The country desperately needs a solid one-party government and Leo Varadkar is the man to provide it. We wish him well, let Leo lead on!  

Irish Times Political Editor Pat Leahy looks back at Leo Varadkar's life and rapid rise through politics to become the youngest ever leader of the Fine Gael party. Video: Enda O'Dowd

 

Buying pints on an early-summer evening in Dublin may have seemed a pleasant task, but it was work all the same. John Paul Phelan, the Fine Gael TD for Carlow-Kilkenny, has supported Leo Varadkar for years, and one of the more useful services he rendered to his friend was playing political gatecrasher on Tuesday, May 23rd.

Word had filtered back to Varadkar’s leadership-campaign team that a TD in their column, the Clare representative Joe Carey, had been spotted in the Ginger Man pub, on Fenian Street in Dublin, in the company of Seán Barrett, the former ceann comhairle, who’s a Simon Coveney supporter. The Ginger Man, just metres from Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s Dublin apartment, is a well-known Fine Gael haunt.

Barrett, the long-time TD for Dún Laoghaire, is friendly with Carey’s father, Donal, a former deputy. Phelan was sent to ensure there were no attempts to turn Carey jnr Coveney’s way. All he had to do was join them at the bar and buy a few drinks. He left the pub with his task completed, his wallet a bit lighter.

Leo Varadkar’s victory: the new Fine Gael leader and his election rival, Simon Coveney, on the hustings. Photograph: Alan BetsonLeo Varadkar’s victory: the new Fine Gael leader and his election rival, Simon Coveney, on the hustings. Photograph: Alan Betson

The result of the Fine Gael leadership contest was never in doubt after the opening 48 hours, when Varadkar blitzed Coveney with early declarations of support from fellow members of the parliamentary party – TDs, Senators and MEPs – but he had to ensure there was no slippage in his support all the same. There was never likely to be, despite Coveney’s efforts to turn support his way.

Varadkar’s strong victory yesterday was sealed in those crucial two days after Kenny stood aside, but the shock and awe was made possible only by years of preparation. Carefully cultivated relationships ensured that Varadkar’s campaign organisers knew they could call on formidable support when they needed it.

Coveney’s supporters were right when they argued that the contest to succeed Kenny was sealed in Leinster House.The Varadkar camp had focused on the parliamentary party. But they were wrong to argue that it had been done in two days. It had taken much, much longer than that.

“If I rang Leo he’d answer or at least call back within an hour,” one backbencher said this week. “It wasn’t like that with Simon. And you always thought, What would it be like if he were taoiseach? If I can’t get him now, as a Minister, will I be able to get him on the phone if he is taoiseach and a factory closes down in my constituency?”

Leo Varadkar’s victory: Simon Coveney at Fine Gael headquarters with Kate O’Connell, Simon Harris and other supporters. Photograph: Cyril ByrneLeo Varadkar’s victory: Simon Coveney at Fine Gael headquarters with Kate O’Connell, Simon Harris and other supporters. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Ministerial machine

Varadkar had built a ministerial machine around him that was widely viewed as the most responsive to the political needs of backbenchers and councillors. John Carroll, who is now chief executive of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland, acted as liaison with the parliamentary party, looking after local concerns of TDs and Senators that came under Varadkar’s departments.

When Carroll moved on his position was filled by Philip O’Callaghan, a young political operative. One source describes Carroll, who came back on board for Varadkar’s leadership campaign, and O’Callaghan as “Fine Gael people who know what politicians want and need”. Both were employed as constituency staff but took on greater responsibilities.

In addition, Varadkar has had the same two key people by his side since his appointment as minister for transport, tourism and sport, in 2011. Brian Murphy, his special adviser, has come up through the ranks in Fine Gael. He served as chairman of Young Fine Gael and later chaired the party’s executive council: he knows the organisation to its core. To the public at large he is best known as the man who asked the question, on RTÉ’s Questions and Answers, that led to the downfall of Brian Lenihan snr, the late Fianna Fáil tánaiste, during his run for the presidency, 27 years ago.

Nick Miller, Varadkar’s press adviser, brought a political edge to communications sometimes lacking in some of his colleagues.

The Varadkar machine has been on the road for years, ever since his appointment to cabinet. The three positions he has held – in transport, tourism and sport; health; and social protection – gave him opportunities to meet party activists and councillors as he travelled the country.

He has been building relationships with three factors in mind: the possibility of a leadership run; cultivating the friends a minister needs when he or she is in difficulty; and making staff available to service the needs of politicians. Above all of it has been the availability of Varadkar himself to his electorate, as well as his abilities as a politician.

Leo Varadkar’s victory: Fine Gael’s new leader launches his manifesto during his election campaign. Photograph: Brenda FitzsimonsLeo Varadkar’s victory: Fine Gael’s new leader launches his manifesto during his election campaign. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Despite all the years of preparation it was just as this Government stuttered into existence that Varadkar began to tell people he wanted to be leader of Fine Gael. An obvious answer to an obvious question, perhaps, but it still takes an expression of desire from the candidate for those gathering around to take it seriously.

Snap election

Fine Gael was preparing for the eventuality of a snap election if the talks to piece together a minority administration after the general election of February 2016 failed, and Kenny had already said it would be his last election as leader. The clock began ticking the minute those words passed Kenny’s lips.

Tom Curran, the Fine Gael general secretary, had already identified Paschal Donohoe as an honest broker among the competing ambitions at the top of the party. Curran spoke to Donohoe about scenarios in which Fine Gael could choose a new leader rapidly in the event of a snap election.

Everyone knew the serious candidates would be Varadkar and Coveney, and Donohoe’s position that he did not want to stand was taken seriously. He would be trusted with helping to organise a contest that most likely would have been confined to the parliamentary party, rather than also being put before councillors and the wider membership; nor would there have been the hustings of recent weeks.

Leo Varadkar’s victory: the new Fine Gael leader campaigns in Dublin with Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe. Photograph: Cyril ByrneLeo Varadkar’s victory: the new Fine Gael leader campaigns in Dublin with Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

But it never came to that. Kenny was elected Taoiseach at the fourth time of asking, on May 6th, 2016, yet the issue of his leadership lingered over the first year of this minority Government.

As they supped pints in the evening, or chatted after the marathon negotiating sessions, Kenny repeatedly told his senior Ministers that he wouldn’t be hanging on indefinitely. “He said to us, ‘I’m not going to be around forever,’ ” one person privy to those discussions said. “That was a signal.”

It was a signal to get ready. And the past few weeks have shown that Varadkar was much more prepared than Coveney. Even Fine Gael headquarters had been preparing for a contest for a year, with Curran and Gerry O’Connell, the returning officer for the leadership election, meeting every week to finesse the process.

It was around the uncertain period of government-formation talks that Varadkar confided to Eoghan Murphy, the Dublin Bay South TD who would help orchestrate his campaign, that he wanted to lead the party, and that he was ready for it.

Kenny’s leadership was also an issue within the party in late 2014, when the then Fine Gael-Labour coalition was at its lowest ebb, as it reeled from the introduction of water charges. Some looked to Varadkar then, but he was not yet interested.

Coming out

Vardkar had another issue to deal with: he had yet to come out publicly as a gay man. He did so in January 2015, months before the marriage-equality referendum, in an interview on RTÉ Radio 1 with Miriam O’Callaghan. Varadkar’s sexuality by that stage was on open secret in political and media circles. Radio was the natural outlet for the announcement, his advisers believed, because it was live and could not be sensationalised. His rapport with O’Callaghan was also cited.

The uncertainty about his ambitions had vanished by the spring of 2016. He told Murphy – and, later, others – that he wanted to lead. He had previously tried to conceal his ambitions, and divert the suspicions of those around Kenny, by claiming that he wanted to take a gap year, or career break, a ruse that he dropped when it began feeding a narrative that he perhaps did not want to be taoiseach at all.

When the Government was formed Kenny appointed Varadkar to a ministry that would allow him to spend a lot of time on the road, visiting councillors, TDs and the Fine Gael organisation generally – even if that had not been Kenny’s original intention.

Varadkar’s move from the Department of Health to the Department of Social Protection – after he had effectively asked Kenny for more money and the ability to pay sought-after staff higher salaries, both of which were seen as impossible demands – meant he had more time than Coveney, over at the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, to woo the electorate.

“I think he knew that he needed to be doing it in a more structured way. When you were landing in a town you were making sure you hit all the right places, in terms of who you were meeting,” a source said.

Leo Varadkar’s victory: Fine Gael votes are counted at the Mansion House in Dublin. Photograph: Alan BetsonLeo Varadkar’s victory: Fine Gael votes are counted at the Mansion House in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

Varadkar’s critics said he ran away from the challenge of health, whereas Coveney embraced the challenge of his department. It meant that Coveney would not turn his eyes towards the leadership until it was too late to catch Varadkar.

Kehoe sought Varadkar out. .. He told him he would support his candidacy on one, strict condition: there would be no move to take Kenny out.

Politicians follow wherever power shifts. Pledges of support for Varadkar’s leadership bid came in three phases. The first pledges were from people who offered him support if and when the vacancy arose. The second batch came through meeting people for lunch or drinks and allowing a future run to come up in conversation. The final phase was the canvassing of recent months.

A crucial encounter came in the summer of 2016, as the Government tried to find its feet. Kenny’s leadership suffered its most significant buffeting in years when his position at the top of Fine Gael was openly questioned for the first time since the failed heave of 2010.

A combination of anger about James Reilly’s reappointment as deputy leader of Fine Gael and criticism of the granting of a free vote to the Independent Alliance on an abortion Bill in the Dáil caused a mini rebellion at the parliamentary-party meeting of Wednesday, July 6th.

Deputies Jim DalyBrendan Griffin, Fergus O’Dowd, Michael W D’Arcy and Patrick Deering all spoke up that week, either at the meeting or in the media. There were calls for Kenny to stand down after that October’s budget, an early marker that a small group were determined to cause trouble.

During the failed heave against Kenny by Richard Bruton in June 2010, Paul Kehoe, the Wexford TD, had, along with Phil Hogan, helped to see off the rebels – who then, of course, included Varadkar and Coveney.

Now Kehoe sought Varadkar out. The National Day of Commemoration takes place on the Sunday closest to July 11th each year, to mark the Irish men and Irish women who have died in wars or in service with the United Nations; the date remembers the signing, in 1921, of the truce that ended the War of Independence.

The President, the Cabinet, TDs, Senators and dignitaries gather at the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham to pay their respects. The ceremony took place on July 10th last year, and Kehoe asked Varadkar for lunch afterwards.

He told Varadkar he would support his candidacy for the leadership, and help him to win the contest, on one, strict condition: there would be no move to take Kenny out. “There will be f***ing war” if that happens, Kehoe said. Varadkar could win over the party loyalists whom Kehoe was associated with if he gave the Taoiseach time and space to stand aside.

It was a view Varadkar was to hold even as motions of no confidence in Kenny came on the agenda in the months ahead. Hogan, Kenny’s main defender in 2010, also offered advice regularly and spoke to Varadkar by phone every week.

D’Arcy and Kehoe, who are constituency colleagues in Wexford, have an uneasy relationship, yet they, along with Phelan, were key operators for Varadkar in the parliamentary party.

Phelan and D’Arcy were associated with the anti-Kenny wing of Fine Gael, and they largely helped to manage relationships among that group of TDs and Senators. They also tried to box Coveney into his Cork base by tying up the support of as many Oireachtas members and councillors as they could from everywhere else in the State.

Campaign structure

The structure of the Varadkar campaign was taking shape as the Dáil went into recess last summer, and the Minister continued to meet TDs, open constituency offices and engage in more soft canvassing over the holiday months. But the level of preparation would shift up a gear with the Dáil’s return.

The annual think-ins that political parties hold are a tired format, disliked by politicians and media alike. But behind the socialising they can provide an opportunity for a party to put its best foot forward – and Kenny attempted to use the gathering last September, in Newbridge, Co Kildare, to claim he had got his mojo back. Instead he was met with renewed calls for leadership change from Griffin, Daly and other TDs.

By this stage the rebel deputies were causing difficulty for Varadkar. They were known to support him. He could not alienate them by seriously criticising them, but, despite suggestions to the contrary, he was not orchestrating the attacks on Kenny. “We could not dump on them,” but “they were giving a little push at a time when a little push was needed,” a source said.

A key decision was made that week that would advance Varadkar’s preparations even further. A belief took hold in his camp that even if he was not behind any move against Kenny he would be associated with it anyway. Better off, then, to prepare for a contest, whenever it came. This did not, however, mean drawing up lists of likely supporters.

“The lesson from 2010 was not to waste precious time sitting around with bull**** lists talking about what Frankie and Paddy might do,” a source said. “Better to spend that time talking to Frankie and Paddy.”

The Paddy in question is Paddy Burke.

Burke is not a national figure, but he is significant in Fine Gael. A keen golfer from Castlebar, in Co Mayo, Burke is a career Senator who served as cathaoirleach between 2011 and 2016. He had been appointed by Kenny, his old friend, although Leinster House gossip has it that the pair have become estranged of late, for reasons nobody can decipher. Burke and Kenny were councillors in Co Mayo together for 20 years; they now have little contact.

Varadkar met Burke in the weeks after the think-in and solicited his support. Burke is a political warhorse who fought with Kehoe and Hogan to save Kenny’s skin in 2010 and was cute enough to know why Varadkar had approached him so early – earlier, in fact, than he had approached the Cabinet.

In the language of the Varadkar camp he was an influencer. In the language of old politics he was someone who could bring others in the Seanad with him.

Ireland’s next taoiseach: Leo Varadkar arrives at the Fine Gael count on Friday. Photograph: Alan BetsonIreland’s next taoiseach: Leo Varadkar arrives at the Fine Gael count on Friday. Photograph: Alan Betson

By contrast the Coveney camp did not contact the Mayo man until two weeks before Kenny officially stood down, last month. Burke did not tell Coveney that he was supporting Varadkar until the night before he ushered nine Senators before a bank of microphones, on the opening day of the leadership campaign. In doing so he helped to demolish a belief in the Coveney camp that they would win the Seanad. One of the nine was the aforementioned Frankie: Frank Feighan, a Roscommon Senator.

Varadkar’s sheer preparedness helped to dissuade colleagues from standing. “I could see other candidates who had put in a lot of work to get to that point – one in particular,” a Minister who was mulling a run said.

As Varadkar began to spread his base in the parliamentary party, rumblings against Kenny continued, with periodic speculation about a motion of no confidence. Those around Government Buildings were aware of the danger, and were prepared to fight one if it came, although it was seen as unlikely. Kenny knew he had the numbers.

“If that eventuality had have happened, it would have been fought and it would have been defeated,” a source close to Kenny said. “He knew he’d win it,” a Minister close to the Taoiseach confirmed. Despite grumblings there was never a desire to see Kenny forced out of office because of a motion tabled by a small group. 

The Varadkar team checked in after Easter to see if anyone they were counting on felt like switching sides after a visit from their rival

Varadkar’s backers in the parliamentary party could be divided in half: those who wanted Kenny removed as quickly as possible and those who wanted him to go in his own time.

Conscious that they would be defeated if they tabled a motion against Kenny, the hardcore rebels stayed quiet. They concluded that a move against the Taoiseach would be defeated – and only lengthen his tenure by another 18 months, at least.

“What got Kenny was that we all shut up,” one said. “They expected a fight, and they would have won it, even though there may have been worth to having it. But we shut up and let events happen, and that’s what did it.”

Varadkar was never going to move against Kenny, despite being urged to do so by some, yet there was concern about what to do were a motion tabled without his knowledge or approval.

John Deasy, the Waterford TD, has long been a critic of Kenny’s, yet he largely stayed away from overt criticism of the Taoiseach during this Dáil. But he socialised with Daly and others, and he was able to read their mood. Around Christmas Varadkar met Deasy and asked after his friends’ intentions. Deasy confirmed that there would be no motion and that Daly, Griffin and others were happy to let events take their course.

It chimed with Varadkar’s stance of not moving against Kenny, although events would soon lead to more pressure for him to do so. It also ensured that he kept together his coalition of TDs, who had diverging views of Kenny. As the rebels stayed quiet they looked to Varadkar and Coveney to take responsibility for the leadership of the party.

It was often suggested that the two should tell Kenny to stand down, or outline a timetable for his departure. Both insisted that would never happen, although it is understood that such a prospect was mooted in a conversation between the pair last summer or autumn.

Sources said they discussed hypotheticals, possible scenarios, leaning towards asking Kenny for a transition plan rather than an immediate departure. A spokesman for Coveney said he had no knowledge of such a discussion.

Whistleblower

The controversy about the Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe eventually brought matters to a head. This period saw the first serious discussion of a motion of no confidence in Kenny, with divided opinion in Varadkar’s group. True to his original interactions with Varadkar, Kehoe was strongly against it, as were D’Arcy and Varadkar himself.

The “basic equation” was trying to ascertain what Coveney and his supporters would do; once the Minister for Housing made clear that he was going to be loyal to Kenny a motion was a nonrunner.

“If Enda Kenny would have called a vote himself he would have won, and maybe he’d still be leader,” a source added. “One of the lessons of 2010: only put down a motion of no confidence if you know you’ll be on the winning side.”

But those close to Kenny insist that he always intended to go by this summer. He may have departed a little earlier than planned, they say, but he had ample opportunity to lengthen his stay if he so wished.

“Since he made the original commitment” not to lead the party into another general election “there have been several opportunities to reset that if he wanted to, not least Brexit. The reality is he didn’t change his position.”

But the dynamic completely changed when Varadkar, followed by Coveney, took to his feet at the parliamentary-party meeting on February 15th this year, in the middle of the McCabe controversy. They both said Fine Gael needed to be ready for an election, which was interpreted as a signal to Kenny that he had to stand down soon. Both men were responding to concern from TDs that the party, then engulfed by the biggest crisis of this Government, could be pitched into an election with Kenny at the helm.

Numerous sources insist that both interventions were spontaneous. Varadkar and Coveney had a one-to-one meeting in the ministerial corridor in Leinster House shortly after that party gathering.

Kenny read the signs and told his parliamentary party the following week that he would deal with his leadership “effectively and conclusively” when he got back from his St Patrick’s Day visit to Washington, DC. He may have stretched his timetable somewhat, but that week settled Kenny’s fate. It was now only a matter of when, not if, he would depart.

“That was it. There was no need after that,” one rebel TD said. “The game was up.” For Varadkar and Coveney it meant their campaigns could come out from the shadows.

By now Varadkar had moved to tie up support among the Cabinet. He personally canvassed for all his votes in the parliamentary party; Kehoe, D’Arcy and Phelan, with Eoghan Murphy at the apex, helped to manage relationships once the votes were won. Only Brian Murphy, Eoghan Murphy and Varadkar himself knew exactly whose support had been secured.

It was different with the Cabinet: Varadkar managed those relationships himself. He approached one senior Minister in February. “We had a cup of coffee, and he asked me would I support him when the time came. Simon approached me the week before the Taoiseach made his announcement at the parliamentary party” – which is to say in early May.

Another Minister confirmed the pattern: “Simon didn’t approach me until Easter.”

“Leo handled the Ministers himself,” a source added. Charlie Flanagan “had been boxed off from a long way out. Leo had been working him for months.”

Coveney used the Easter break to travel the country, meeting TDs, councillors and Senators. Coveney’s campaign manager, Damien English, often made the first approach.

The Varadkar team checked in after Easter to see if anyone they were counting on felt like switching sides after a visit from their rival. They felt reassured that any slippage was minimal.

Leo Varadkar’s victory: the new Fine Gael leader and his election rival Simon Coveney. Photograph: Alan BetsonLeo Varadkar’s victory: the new Fine Gael leader and his election rival Simon Coveney. Photograph: Alan Betson

Sexuality

Although almost everything else was planned, the Varadkar camp maintain that they never made contingencies for his sexuality to become an issue. In late February, however, the Irish Independent ran an article that included photographs of Varadkar with his partner, Matthew Barrett.

It came as a surprise, and the campaign discussed how to react. They decided to do nothing, as any action could be perceived as playing the sympathy card. “We never had a discussion around the gay thing in the campaign,” a source said. “It was just not something that we felt we needed to consider. So it wasn’t how we were going to manage this issue. It was never anything like that. As far as we were concerned the Indo moved too early and took it off the table.”

But Varadkar’s sexuality was an issue for some Fine Gael members. One of his team was speaking to The Irish Times on his mobile while out canvassing in his constituency on a Friday morning. As he approached the door of a Fine Gael-supporting older woman he put his phone by his side, but the line was still open. He canvassed hard for Varadkar, but the woman was sceptical. “I don’t know. He’d be living up there with a man,” she said.

The campaign continued to lock down support. Once a vote was confirmed the information was fed back to the top of the campaign. Alan Holmes, who helps Eoghan Murphy with the logistics of his constituency campaigns, designed a system that allocated every Oireachtas member a number. Whenever one of them committed to vote for Varadkar, Holmes relayed the information back to Murphy, who fed the corresponding number into a grid, to maintain confidentiality.

It was a sophisticated operation that almost immediately had to be abandoned, as it was overly complicated. But the two Murphys, along with Varadkar, were still the only two who knew everything. The secrecy of their operation helped to manage expectations. They were both pleased, and somewhat astonished, when they saw the Coveney camp talk up its chances in the press, claiming, among other things, that they would win a majority in the Cabinet and the Seanad.

Olwyn Enright, the former Fine Gael TD for Laois-Offaly, came on board to help out; her input was particularly valued for its non-Dublin perspective, according to a source.

Her role included work on public relations and policy formulation, and on prepping Varadkar for debates and media questions. Others worked on “relationship intelligence”; a campaign source said, “If you had concerns over people, if you weren’t sure what way someone was going to vote, you’d have one or two people have a chat with him. ‘Leo tried speaking to X; X seems a bit cold; who do we know who can approach them subtly and find out what they really think?’ That kind of stuff.”

The wait went on for Kenny to formally announce his retirement. At times he seemed to be enjoying toying with his tormentors. On May 10th, at the parliamentary-party meeting the week before he stood down, he sat in his usual position, behind a table at the top of the room.

Some party members thought this was dog-whistle homophobia, but the Varadkar camp said it was merely the cut and thrust of the campaign

Kenny sat at one end, with James Reilly, the deputy leader, and Martin Heydon, the chairman of the parliamentary party, in the middle. As secretary, the Dublin North-West TD Noel Rock sat at the far end. Kenny scribbled a note to be passed to Rock, who had repeatedly called on the Taoiseach to relinquish the Fine Gael leadership.

Rock unfolded the note. “Dear Noel,” it began. It then mentioned that it had been a year since Rock nominated him four times as Taoiseach in the Dáil, and thanked the deputy for his support in the time since. Kenny, who had simply signed the note “E”, leaned back and chuckled as Rock read its contents. The old fox had some roguery left in him.

Resignation

The campaign officially began a week later, on Wednesday, May 17th, when Kenny announced his resignation. The Varadkar strategy, largely drawn up by Eoghan Murphy and John Carroll, was to kill the contest off in the 48 hours between the time Paddy Burke brought out his Senators on the Thursday morning and the formal campaign launch, on the Saturday morning, when Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald and Michael Ring, Kenny’s fellow Mayo TD, would introduce Varadkar. The offensive was managed by Eoghan Murphy, D’Arcy and Phelan from the campaign base, on Mount Street, and from a discreet apartment off Molesworth Street.

If the parliamentary party, which commands 65 per cent of the votes under the electoral college that decides the leadership, was effectively wrapped up, the media launches, the hustings and the remainder of the contest could be used to introduce Varadkar and his ideas to the public.

Fitzgerald had considered a run but eventually decided against it. Although a number of sources said the Tánaiste made clear that she was backing Varadkar only the day after Kenny announced his retirement, others said that she had previously told Varadkar she would support him if she did not run herself. Only Varadkar and Fitzgerald know exactly what passed between them.

Paschal Donohoe was always expected to support Varadkar, but he too had seriously thought about standing. He had been urged to run by party colleagues before Christmas, but he decided against it. He was always widely expected to support Varadkar, but he confirmed his support only after Kenny’s statement that he would deal with his leadership after St Patrick’s Day.

Donohoe – who was to play Coveney in mock hustings with Varadkar – then informed the Minister for Housing of his decision, in a short phone call.

The Dublin Central TD is tipped to take on the duties of Minister for Finance, in addition to his existing role as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, before a merging of the two departments back into one.

Richard Bruton declared for Varadkar on the first day of the campaign. He said he told the candidates of his plans only that morning, although there are suggestions that he had told Varadkar beforehand. Sources close to Bruton believe he was never serious about running. If he had run and lost it would have been a hat-trick of defeats in leadership contests.

By the Saturday morning of his launch Varadkar had secured 46 per cent of available votes. Undeclared TDs and Senators, particularly those who had suffered after choosing the wrong side in the 2010 heave against Kenny, were under pressure to come onside.

Leo Varadkar’s victory: counting begins in the Fine Gael leadership election on Friday. Photograph: Paulo Nunes dos Santos/AFP/GettyLeo Varadkar’s victory: counting begins in the Fine Gael leadership election on Friday. Photograph: Paulo Nunes dos Santos/AFP/Getty

The previous evening Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture Andrew Doyle saw off pressure to encourage him to declare for Varadkar immediately. He said he would make his mind up by the time Varadkar visited his Wicklow constituency, the next Monday – and he duly declared his support for the Dublin West TD. Another Oireachtas member was warned not to mess up as he had in 2010.

Of the Varadkar campaign team only Eoghan Murphy believed Coveney might withdraw after the first 48 hours. He was in regular contact with Damien English, his counterpart in the Coveney camp. On the Saturday morning a wobble became apparent among some of the Corkman’s supporters.

Tom Curran, the general secretary of the party, had also been in touch with English that morning to complain about comments made by Kate O’Connell, the Dublin Bay South TD, at a rally in Co Clare the previous evening, when she described Varadkar supporters as “choirboys” who were “singing for their supper”.

Some party members thought this was dog-whistle homophobia, but the Varadkar camp said it was merely the cut and thrust of the campaign. They had in fact been prepared to hit Coveney with heavy criticism about how unprepared he was, but they held off after O’Connell’s comments. Responding would merely make them look as if they were trading tit for tat.

Nominations closed that evening, and Curran wanted to know if headquarters might not have needed to begin a contest at all. Although some Coveney supporters wanted him to withdraw, multiple sources claim that he never seriously considered the possibility himself and that he decided to plough on and hold a scheduled rally in Cork that night.

“When he made his decision that was it, but the question was, does it make any sense?” one of the Coveney team said. “The rally in Cork settled it. His speech was brilliant.”

Amid the confusion of that day a rumour also spread to damage Simon Harris, Coveney’s most senior supporter. Harris and Varadkar do not get on. The Minister for Health has his enemies among Varadkar’s supporters and will need to rebuild his political capital in the party. He has spoken to the Varadkar camp about negative media stories about his new leader, although sources differ on whether he told them he was not responsible or if he was told they knew he was not to blame.

The contest was over, despite Coveney’s admirable fighting on. His handsome victory among the rank-and-file members was a testament to it – and possibly a reward for hanging in.

One Minister described Coveney as naive and overly optimistic in his earlier dealings with TDs and Senators, a trait some claim they saw during the government-formation talks with Fianna Fáil and in his recent belief that Fianna Fáil would eventually accept some sort of water-charging regime.

Although he said he had been promised support by people who eventually backed Varadkar because they wanted to be on the winning side, Ministers believe Coveney did not pick up on the signals in conversations with colleagues. “I think there were people trying not to be offensive to Simon, trying to be gracious to him,” one said. “I think the wrong end of the stick was taken in conversations then.”

Varadkar was described as direct, whereas Coveney was “woollier” in his very recent approaches. “Six weeks out, max,” was the time frame one Cabinet Minister put between Coveney’s approaches and Kenny’s retirement.

Yet despite some disappointment in the parliamentary party about Coveney’s tactics as he tried to claw his way back into the race – particularly his supporters’ giving journalists the names of TDs they believed might switch from Varadkar, and encouraging rank-and-file members to pressurise their local representatives into changing – his decision to fight on is widely acknowledged to have been the correct one.

His positioning to the left of Varadkar, and his attempt to portray his rival as a dangerous right-winger, is accepted as a necessary part of political campaigning. “I would have done the same thing,” a Varadkar-backing Minister said.

Coveney’s supporters also offered Cabinet positions as enticements to potential switchers, but that is an understandable reaction to the impossible situation they found themselves in.

The Cork man has built up significant credit for participating in a process that has revitalised the Fine Gael organisation. The hustings, in particular, are acknowledged to have been a huge success. Varadkar says he wants to return more power to the grassroots and make ardfheiseanna forums for debates once more rather than just window dressing around a leader’s speech.

A problem Varadkar has now is that Coveney can cast himself as the voice of the members. At the hustings the Cork man said he would continue to fight for his Just Society principles even if he lost. The party grassroots have given him the political strength to do so.

Coveney supporters said that a lot of preparation work was done on policy rather than campaigning, but they are adamant that TDs who were inclined to support Coveney changed their minds as the Varadkar juggernaut gathered pace. “Damien English is a serious politician. Simon Coveney has been around for 20 years. It is too simple to say they just got it wrong. Something changed.”

Another said Coveney was “absolutely immersed” in his ministry. “He was flat out with housing and water.

Maybe it could be argued that, another year in the portfolio, he might have got out of the immediate phase of putting plans together and have more discretionary time.”

But Coveney took on the position of Minister for Housing for that very reason. His pitch was based on being a serious politician who could solve difficult tasks. “You would hear people in the party say he was naive in the politics of this,” an observer who has operated at the sharpest end of Fine Gael politics for almost two decades said. “Others would say earnest. But a service has been done to the party in allowing this go to the end.”

Varadkar understood that the oldest rules of politics will always apply: the electorate wants to be loved, and votes must be asked for. “It was based on strong personal relationships,” a backbencher said. “He developed strong personal relationships; the other fella let some drop. Coveney didn’t go up to enough people and say, ‘I’m asking, vote for me.’

“That was it. That was the basis of the blitzkrieg. They used that strategy because they were confident of their numbers and of their people.

“It was done over four or five years.”

Published in Front
Wednesday, 17 May 2017 17:23

JOHN DEASY TD FOR TAOISEACH!

ENDA KENNY'S NEMESIS JOHN DEASY T.D. ON RED ALERT. Featured

Written by  
  •  font size decrease font size increase font size
Rate this item
(1 Vote)

Separate Sex and Politics!

ENDA KENNY'S NEMESIS JOHN DEASY T.D.

John Deasy is the most outspoken TD in Dail Eireann. And most of that bluntness has been directed against his party leader Enda Kenny over the past dozen years and more.

Deasy is now expected to join in the fray to hasten Kenny's departure. And he is one of the most qualified politicians in Dail Eireann, having started his career with a Washington political apprenticeship. He may well emerge as a compromise candidate for the conservative wing of Fine Gael - that now threatens to desert en masse to Fianna Fail should Varadkar become Taoiseach as they will not serve under him as leader.

None of the conservative wing will ever say this openly - they're saying it to one another - but they will do all possible to stop Leo. They feel that he would be an embarrassment to the party and to the country - particularly in any dealings with the US and the Trump-Pence Administration. "For God's sake, Pence might even try to 'cure' Varadkar", a Kilkenny Fine Gael member remarked to The Kilkenny Journal. Another prominent city Fine gaeler told the Kilkenny Journal that they want to "separate sex and politics, but Leo's election would only encourage more mixing of sex and politics."

To come back to Deputy John Deasy, he has been condemned to the back benches for all of this century by Kenny even though he is a most capable politician. He makes a formidable foe and has threatened to run against Kenny before, ten years ago back in 2007. There has been a festering sore between them since Kenny dropped Deasy back in 2004 for smoking in the Dail bar.

John Deasy is son of a former Fine Gael great, the legendary Austin Deasy who was a minister for agriculture in former Fine Gael governments. As such he has a traditional support around the country that he will not hesitate to mobilise now against Kenny.

Deasy is the hope of all traditional Fine Gaelers around the country to win their party back from the forces of pink liberalism that has affected the party under Kenny in recent years. These conservatives oppose abortion that Kenny is bringing in under the cloak of the "Citizens Assembly" well known to be packed with abortionists. They want to take the party back from the liberals and the left and make it a great conservative bulwark for traditional values again - in fact John Deasy is an outspoken admirer of President Trump and as such he would foster closer US-Irish co-operation in all spheres of economic activity and public life.

There would also be a rowing back from the mass immigration project that is bedevilling Ireland as it is destabilising Europe, under Deasy and the conservative traditionalists. In fact Deputy John Deasy would be the only candidate for party leader that would have a distinct policy and a patriotic mission on behalf of the Nation.

As such his candidature for the Fine Gael party leadership would be broadly welcomed all over the country by the silent majority who are voiceless with the mainstream Irish media driving people to extremes with their trotskyist programme and marxist message. John Deasy would be a welcome relief to the country to steer us away from all of that madness that has taken hold of the liberal elite in Irish society. His entry into the Fine Gael leadership race would be timely and most welcome.

Image may contain: 1 person, suit and outdoor
Read 433 times
Published in Front

Irish people have shown themselves to be remarkably tolerant and wise towards migrants, by Kevin Myers.

THIS WAS WRITTEN BY LEADING IRISH JOURNALIST KEVIN MYERS SIX YEARS AGO. TODAY THE SITUATION IS MUCH WORSE WITH A MILLION IMMIGRANTS HERE AMOUNTING TO TWENTY PER CENT OF THE POPULATION. TODAY WE HAVE A NATIONAL DEBATE AMONGST THE TWO CONTENDERS  FOR TAOISEACH - BUT NOT A WORD ABOUT THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM, ONGOING MASS IMMIGRATION INTO IRELAND THAT IS CRIPPLING THE NATION MORE THAN ANY OR ALL OTHER ISSUES. 

Back to Kevin Myers as he writes: 

‘Migrants have been assaulted, urinated on and forced to leave their homes, a study on racism has found”: thus ran the opening line of a newspaper report on an ‘investigation’ by the Immigrant Council of Ireland. One would assume that the Immigrant Council’s allegations were based on a careful and extensive study of Irish society.

Not true. The report was based on interviews with just 24 people, all of whom had presented themselves at the ICI Racist Incidents Support and Referral Service. This is like making an overall assessment of relations between men and women in Ireland by talking to just two dozen victims in the Rape Crisis Centre. So, careful reading of the ICI report shows that the allegation that “migrants have been … urinated on” actually means “one migrant”, and is based on a single disgusting attack on an African driver on Dublin Bus. Such conduct is utterly depraved: but was it racism? Because how many such attacks have happened to white Irish bus drivers?

One African complainant, whose family were subjected to racist taunts from teenagers in a Dublin housing estate, told ICI: “One can wonder why so far we have not made a statement to the police. We have so far taken a cautious approach and the support we have been receiving from our Irish friends and neighbours has been tremendous. It is also fair to say that since the people who have been abusing us were by and large young, we were hoping that they were going to change through the education system! This has not been the case, however. It is true that we did not make an effort to talk to their parents mainly because we felt that it could backfire on us.”

Therefore, the reality was the majority of the local Irish people were welcoming and protective of this African family (which, naturally, was not something that the ICI highlighted). So much so, indeed, that these clearly very nice and very trusting immigrants themselves did not complain to the Garda or the miscreant’s families, thinking that the trouble would cease if they did nothing. Alas, evil does not go away of its own accord anywhere, whether in Laos, Lagos or Laois. Moreover, immigrants cannot possibly understand that there are many Irish thugs, who come midnight, are looking for a fight. Any minor difference is sufficient to provoke it, race merely being one. As a Dublin Bus inspector told an African driver who complained about being abused: “We all get it.”

But ICI’s response to this self-evident truth was that we must now create a sensitivity that can determine the differences between “bullying” and “racist bullying”. Which is, of course, the kind of reflex, ideological gibberish that quangos utter as a substitute for thought.

Moreover, implicit in the ICI ideology is firstly that the host community is racist, and secondly, that only the ICI is prepared to speak out about it. That such generalisations might actually be a priori racist about the Irish is perhaps a subtlety beyond the dogmas driving our self-appointed race-relations industry.

Actually, I think Irish people have behaved with remarkable restraint at the amazing transformation of our society by mass-immigration. Quite as astonishing has been the almost complete absence of political or media commentary about these changes. Why the silence? Well, from the outset, the race-relations industry denounced any scepticism about large-scale immigration as “racism”. Even Leo Varadkar TD, himself the son of an immigrant, said he would never speak on the subject again, so bitter were the baseless allegations of racism that were thrown at him following his calls for immigration controls.

Remember: we took in over 400,000 immigrants, almost overnight, overwhelming many schools and creating such serious housing shortages that we then threw up what later turned into our “ghost housing estates”. To be sure, one reason for these was a Fianna Fail ploy to keep the economy primed. But no one actually thought these houses would be empty: they were genuinely built as homes for incomers. As recently as August 2005, the economist Jim Power forecast that Ireland would still need yet another 300,000 migrant workers to keep our economy growing. Had they come, with their dependents, maybe one in five of the Irish population would by now have been foreign. And that would have been a cultural, demographic and social madness, of a kind that no country anywhere has ever freely inflicted upon itself.

Racism is stupid, ruinous and evil — it is the creed of idiots. But the history of mankind shows that a distrust of “the other” is a commonplace, especially at times of economic hardship. The acceptance of unfettered immigration by the Fianna-Fail-PD government was a folly that was socially provocative, morally cowardly and intellectually lazy. Fortunately, the Irish people, on the whole, have shown themselves to be remarkably tolerant and wise. So if anything, we are to be congratulated by the ICI. But that would probably put it out of work: and, of course, the primary and overriding duty of any quango is to issue reports which, regardless of reality, will justify its continued existence.

Kevin Myers, Irish Journalist. 

Published in Front

DEASY THE BEST MAN TO LEAD FINE GAEL AND THE COUNTRY.

The best man for rural Ireland. 
Great American political training and experience.

John Deasy TD is the most principled and outspoken TD in Dail Eireann. He is fearless. He is the one TD that does not think first of his own safety. More important , he has his head screwed on, he is a practical politician and he is right. He can be counted on never to have any truck with Sinn Fein/IRA.

He would restore principle and integrity to Fine Gael and back into the government. More important he would restore Ireland's pride - and he is a better businessman than any minister in the cabinet. He is shrewd and hard-working and is ready to give it a lash as a young, tough and fearless leader of his party and for his country above all.

Unlike Leo, John Deasy does not play up to the media. Unlike Simon Coveney he doesn't play up to Peter Sutherland and the Bilderberger bankers. He is unsullied by power , he is up for the challenge. He would take no messing from Brussels but would be a strong man for Ireland on the Council of Ministers. he is beholden to nobody.

John Deasy is a powerful and passionate speaker, a true son of Fine Gael , yet the most outspoken politician in that party in years. He has a compassionate side that would concern himself with the homeless, he's the most down-to-earth politician there is. He is the maverick that could turn Fine Gael around and make the party great again!

Above all he is a genuinely decent man. He's young and full of fire and ideals for his party and his country. Fine gael need look no further than Deputy John Deasy at next weekend 's party Ard Fheis.

https://en.wikipedia.org/…/John_Deasy_(Fine_Gael_politician)

http://www.thejournal.ie/fine-gael-td-principles-3011141-O…/

Published in Front

The local TD says its not something he’s discussed with Leo Varadkar.

5
SHARES

Deputy John Paul Phelan is playing down rumours that there is a cabinet seat with his name on it should Leo Varadkar become the next Taoiseach. However he wouldn't mind to get Minister for Housing, Planning  and Local Government where he could make his name. 

The Carlow Kilkenny Deputy is hotly tipped to get a Ministerial portfolio and admits he would be honoured if it does happen.

He is the prime supporter of Leo Varadkar for Taoiseach. 

But he says its not something he’s discussed with Leo Varadkar.

Leetherm
Published in Front
Monday, 19 June 2017 18:26

JOHN PAUL FOR LOCAL GOVT./HOUSING.

JOHN PAUL PHELAN TIPPED FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT/HOUSING MINISTER.

John Paul Phelan is tipped to get a junior ministry in the Housing/Local Government area in the Custom House tomorrow. This is the word around the local media and we think it came from the Dublin media.

Taoiseach Leo is media friendly so what he thinks tends to make it into the papers. ...

See more
Image may contain: 1 person, glasses
Published in Front

Fine Gael enjoy massive boost as Fianna Fail suffers badly in latest poll

The party has soared five points and is now at 29pc in the latest opinion poll.

Fianna Fail has suffered badly in the latest poll - dropping a massive seven points to 21pc. Micheal Martin’s party is now trailing Fine Gael by a huge gap of eight points.

The Independent Alliance which is in Government with Fine Gael has increased its support by one point to 3pc. Sinn Fein dropped three points to 15pc in the Sunday Business Post/Red C opinion poll.

Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar22Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar

The Labour Party is unchanged at 6pc, the Social Democrats are also unchanged at 4pc and Solidarity-People Before Profit is down one to 3pc The Green Party is unchanged at 3pc and Renua is at 1pc. Independents are up four points to 14pc.

Read More: Varadkar's claim over Cabinet support "simply not true", says Harris

Published in Front
Page 1 of 2

Advertise With Us

Advertise Here
Kilkenny's veteran professional photographer
Click here for more information

Get our Newsletter

Just enter your email address to keep up to date with the Kilkenny Journal News.

Filter News by Date

« September 2017 »
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30  

Joomla! Debug Console

Session

Profile Information

Memory Usage

Database Queries