herald

Saturday 24 September 2016

Reilly to stay on as deputy leader of FG

James Reilly
James Reilly

Former minister James Reilly is to continue as deputy leader of Fine Gael when he enters the Seanad next week.

It had been thought that Taoiseach Enda Kenny would appoint a new deputy after Dr Reilly lost his seat in the general election, but his subsequent nomination to the Seanad means he can continue in the role.

A party spokesperson confirmed Dr Reilly's position, adding that any future changes would be "solely the prerogative of the leader".

Dr Reilly told the Herald he was happy to remain as deputy leader and feels he will have more time to work with members now that he is not in government.

"I have very much enjoyed being deputy leader. I've relished the opportunity. I look forward to putting more time into it now," he said.

Meanwhile, a Fine Gael backbencher has called for TDs to be allowed a free vote on private members motions in the Dail.

Waterford TD John Deasy said the passing of a Labour Party motion earlier this week would lead to nothing.

"Parliamentarians are in danger of masquerading as decision-makers with these motions. It makes a parody of what the parliament should be doing," he said.

Mr Deasy said parties would now seek to defeat the Government every week, and the Dail was "in danger of turning into a weekly parliamentary charade".

Forced

He believes that if TDs are not forced to vote in line with their party, it could give more meaning to debates.

"I want to propose that the whip be taken off Fine Gael members for private member motions," he said.

"I think there is a realisation across all parties of what I'm saying. We should either give legislative effect or discontinue the practice altogether. It's worse than a talking shop."

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