CORK South West Fianna Fáil TD Christopher O’Sullivan has denied there is any rift with former TD Margaret Murphy O’Mahony, after she criticised a tweet he posted last week.
Deputy O’Sullivan tweeted on Friday that it was time for the party to ‘move on’ following some high profile appointment rows.
‘There’s no time to sit around feeling sorry for ourselves,’ he wrote, ‘and being p***ed off for being overlooked for certain positions.’
But his FF constituency colleague, former TD Margaret re-tweeted the comments, adding: ‘Is there not a more private forum to convey this message to your colleagues?’
Speaking to The Southern Star, Deputy O’Sullivan said he stood over his tweet and dismissed any notion of a rift between him and his party colleague.
‘Because there hadn’t been a parliamentary party meeting for me to express my feelings, I tweeted it. Margaret is perfectly entitled to her view, and so am I, as an elected TD,’ said Deputy O’Sullivan.
The two also denied any split in the camp earlier this year when, in a surprise move, both politicians found themselves contesting the general election in February, when Christopher was a late addition to the ticket.
Margaret subsequently lost her seat and Christopher became a first-time TD.
She told a Southern Star election podcast in January that ‘Chris and myself are friends, as well as colleagues’ ... adding: ‘I know Chris well enough to know there won’t be any in-fighting, and I think we will just both get on with it.’
The former TD did not return our calls this week, but Deputy O’Sullivan said he ‘completely respected’ her point of view and that she had ‘represented the people of Cork South West incredibly well during her term’.
John Loughnan, chair of Fianna Fáil Comhairle Dáil Ceantair West Cork, said he hasn’t detected any bad feeling between the pair and said that he encourages openness and transparency in debate through all forums, including social media.
‘Once you respect the person’s dignity on the forum at all times then there shouldn’t be a problem expressing your own opinions,’ he said.
Cork North West FF Deputy Michael Moynihan also raised some eyebrows last week when he launched a scathing attack on Taoiseach Micheál Martin for not appointing him to a junior ministry.
He said he would be a ‘thorn in the side’ of the new government, and that his community had been let down by his lack of a more senior role. ‘He [Taoiseach] has insulted me and my community’ he said, adding: ‘I have taken a lot of s**t for Mr Martin over the years.’
Deputy O’Sullivan said that while his Dáil colleague was right to feel aggrieved about not getting a ministerial position, airing it publicly wasn’t doing the party any good. ‘I’ve no problem with that and he’s completely entitled to his opinion on that. But there was about five or six more complaining about not getting posts and I just thought to myself “this isn’t doing us any good or helping the country”.’
The deputy added that July is an extremely busy month. ‘We need to focus on suppressing Covid-19 and helping small businesses and draw a line on the disappointments and get over it.’
Pointing out that Cork South West doesn’t have a ministerial representative since TD Michael Creed lost his agriculture role, Deputy O’Sullivan said he could have easily complained about being overlooked.
‘I thought to myself, I’m better off serving the people of Cork South West and my time will come. I also think people have now got it out of their system and they’re moving on.’
Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil MEP for Ireland South Billy Kelleher has apologised for not self-isolating at home after flying from Brussels to attend the election of the Taoisaech.
‘I accept that the risk could not have been eliminated fully and I should have followed HSE advice and remained at home,’ he said.