A third of Fine Gael TDs ‘don’t have guts’ to run for election, Ó Broin says

A Third Of Fine Gael Tds ‘Don’t Have Guts’ To Run For Election, Ó Broin Says
Eoin Ó Broin said he was 'genuinely taken aback' that health and housing were not mentioned in Simon Harris’s speech. Photo: PA
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By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

A third of Fine Gael’s parliamentary party “don’t have the guts” to run for election, Sinn Féin’s housing spokesman has said.

Eoin Ó Broin took aim at the party for replacing Leo Varadkar after his shock resignation last week instead of calling a general election.


Eleven TDs from Fine Gael have said they will not stand in the next general election.

These include former enterprise minister Richard Bruton, former education minister Joe McHugh, former agriculture minister Michael Creed, Carlow-Kilkenny TD John Paul Phelan and Galway East TD Ciaran Cannon.

MEPs Frances Fitzgerald, Deirdre Clune and Colm Markey have said they will not contest the European elections in June.

At the weekend, Josepha Madigan said she was resigning as Minister of State and would not be seeking re-election, while Kerry TD Brendan Griffin said that Simon Harris’ leadership did not change his mind on leaving politics.


In a speech at a Fine Gael convention on Sunday, Mr Harris said his leadership marked a moment for Fine Gael “to reconnect” and “renew”.

Fine Gael leadership
Simon Harris speaks to the media after being confirmed as the new leader of Fine Gael. Photo: Eamon Ward/PA.

Opposition parties have been pushing for a general election to be called; Mr Harris’s nomination for Taoiseach is to be put to the Dáil on Tuesday, April 9th.


Mr Ó Broin said he had listened to Mr Harris’ speech and said he was “genuinely taken aback” that health and housing were not mentioned.

Speaking on Monday, Mr Ó Broin said it was “interesting” that Mr Harris said during his speech at a Fine Gael convention on Sunday that he wants to serve out his full term.

“Of course he does,” Mr Ó Broin said.

“He desperately wants to avoid putting his party’s disastrous record on housing, health and cost of living to the people – a third of his own parliamentary party don’t have the guts to contest the next general election and hear the verdict of the people.


“That’s hardly a vote of confidence in the party’s record. So what do we want? We want to see a general election.”

Asked if they would commit to calling for an election if in government and their leader resigned, Mr Ó Broin said: “We have no plans to change our leader and let’s deal with government formation on the other side of the general election.

“The priority now is to have that general election.”

He added: “There’s a palpable sense in many communities that, in fact, despite the fact that the so-called party of law and order has been in government for so long, there simply isn’t enough law and order about the place.


“So I don’t think anybody watching the thumping speech of Simon Harris yesterday would be in any way reassured that this government is going to do anything different in terms of ensuring that our streets are safe, and our communities are safe.

“I’d like to hear what the minister is going to do to address for example, garda numbers, to address city crime, and to address other key issues, particularly in those parts of the community where crime is at its worst.

“There was very little of substance that I heard from the minister yesterday, that’s where my real concern is.”

Mr O Broin was speaking as he launched a bill that aims to give gardaí additional powers to stop illegal evictions, which the TD said would act as a deterrent.

Asked whether a new leader would bring about better energy in the Dáil, he said: “The people I represent don’t need energy, they need homes.

“The people I represent need hospital appointments, their children need vital surgery for life-changing conditions.

“So Simon Harris might have some energy on TikTok. What people want to know is, is he going to do anything different?”

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