Interesting breaking news in the south concerning Wicklow/East Carlow Independent TD Stephen Donnelly. As The Journal notes “sources say the Wicklow TD had been “actively interested” in joining a political party.”
He had been a founding member of the Social Democrats till last summer.
He’s shown an impressive grasp of policy ever since coming into the Dail in the wake FF’s defenestration in 2011, but I suspect his search for a party home is born out of frustration at having little speaking time in the Dail, and the inability to scale his ambitions.
It’s a coup for Martin, and not just because it consolidates numbers but because he’s a quality player. His recruitment also helps underwrite a narrative germ from the last election (and a clear component of the Fianna Fail leader’s statement today):
… [the] process of rebuilding continues and the decision of Deputy Stephen Donnelly to join our team is very encouraging. Stephen has made a serious impact nationally in his time as a TD.
In his various roles he has demonstrated a commitment to the principles of fairness and social democracy that underpin the values and policies of the Fianna Fáil party.
According to the Irish Times, he’s being slotted in on the front bench as spokesman for Brexit. Since the government don’t have one (insisting it’s not needed) we should watch this space to see if Donnelly’s inputs force a change of heart on the part of the government.