O'Malley's view

Letter in yesterday’s Irish Times


Noel Whelan (Opinion, March 24th) suggested expelling Bertie Ahern was of a different order to the expulsions of Neil Blaney in 1972 and of me in 1985, because in this case the party is expelling a former leader.

He is wrong.

Blaney’s and my expulsions, both for “conduct unbecoming” a member of the party, were about the future direction of Fianna Fáil.

In 1972 the party chose constitutional republicanism over ethnic bigotry, and in 1985 Fianna Fáil chose corruption and personal aggrandisement over basic ethical standards. Those expulsions mattered.

Expelling Bertie Ahern was an attempt at damage limitation and to re-cast the party’s position on past events.

But Ahern epitomised the Fianna Fáil approach to politics since Haughey took over the party’s leadership.

It will take more than his expulsion to rid the party of the stain with which successive leaders and senior members have tarnished it.

Yours, etc

Desmond O’Malley