Saturday, July 01, 2006

O'Malley Hare & Hound

Fiona O’Malley is the PD TD for Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown constituency who, hopefully, will lose her seat at the next election. She has the annoying habit of appearing on various radio programmes sounding off like a member of the opposition while she is, in fact, sitting on the government benches.

There’s no evidence that she ever inputs her top-of-head populist whinges at her own party meetings. If she does they’re clearly ignored as the government juggernaut trundles on regardless.

Smelling trouble ahead at next years general election, she’s now taken to writing to the Irish Times (see below). “Madam” is herself a former PD TD for the same constituency so I’m not holding my breath that she’ll publish my riposte which follows the O’Malley letter here.

Fiona O'Malley's letter published in Irish Times

Madam, - From Booterstown to the edge of Bray, there is rarely a household to which I call to during my constituency canvass where the issue of affordable housing is not raised.
While the Government has tried valiantly to deal with this issue, including writing commitments into the Partnership Agreement, it is obvious that something more radical is required.
James Pike (June 27th) points to work done by the All Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution in 2004 which recommends a return to the Kenny Report of the 1970s. The principal recommendation of that report was that land required by a local authority would be purchased at existing use value plus 25 per cent. Land costs contribute enormously to housing prices.
In my county of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, we know all about it. The council has a very limited land bank. When land is sold, it attracts such high prices that very few houses, particularly for families, are available for less than €800,000. We are in danger of becoming a community where young families are being excluded by the cost of housing. This is unsustainable.
It is difficult to mount a credible defence of Government policy on the doorsteps when there is an obvious start that can be made. The Government should dust down the Kenny Report, prepare legislation and focus on an issue of real import to its citizens.
No wonder Fianna Fáil backbenchers are frustrated. Oireachtas committees are where backbenchers do good work. But unless the recommendations and work of these committees is taken seriously, frustrations will continue to fester and housing will stay beyond the means of many young people. - Yours, etc,
FIONA O'MALLEY TD, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin.

My response under the heading “O’Malley Hare & Hound”

Madam - Please do not allow your letters page to become a notice board for the extraordinary pleadings of desperate TDs in the run-up to the general election.

Fiona O’Malley, a government TD in this constituency, has an established record of trying to run with the hare while hunting with the hounds. Frankly, it’s completely lacking in credibility.

Yours etc

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