Family dynasties no longer guarantee a safe Dáil seat

World of Politics with Harry McGee

Charlie Flanagan announced this week that he’s stepping down from politics – and if Fine Gael keeps on haemorrhaging TDs at this rate, it’s not going to have anyone left to stand in the next general election.

By my count, that’s now six – Flanagan, Richard Bruton, Brendan Griffin, David Staunton, John Paul Phelan and Michael Creed. That’s about a fifth of its Deputies and, as sure as night follows day, there are more to come.

Flanagan is one of his party’s big bears. During his career, he has held senior ministerial portfolios including Foreign Affairs, Justice and Children. He would have been a Justice Minister in the Fine Gael vein – strong on law and order.

In his statement on Monday night, Flanagan referred to his father, another well-known – if reactionary and archly conservative – figure, Oliver J Flanagan.

Flanagan the Younger did not share his late father’s worldview and supported many of the society-changing referendums in recent year – particularly on same-sex marriage and on abortion.

He said: “It is now 36 years since I was first elected to Dáil Éireann. Between my father Oliver J and myself, that’s 80 years of public service and 23 General Elections. In my view now it’s time to pass the baton to a younger generation.”

Another interesting aspect of Flanagan’s statement was a reference to the increasingly toxic atmosphere that surrounds modern politics.

“Politics is an ever demanding and increasingly high-pressure career,” he said.

“The volatile nature of social media has added significantly to the helter-skelter and often chaotic workload of a TD. But having spent all my adulthood doing this job there’s no doubting that being a political representative connects you daily to the very lifeblood of the country.”

Pictured: Charlie Flanagan…end of a political era.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

More like this:

Sign Up To get Weekly Sports UPDATES

Go Up