Any old European Parliament group will do… June 24, 2014Posted by WorldbyStorm in European Politics, Irish Politics.
Ireland South MEP Brian Crowley is no longer a member of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party.
The long-serving Cork politician lost the party whip as a consequence of his decision to depart from the Alde group in the European Parliament to join the Eurosceptic European Conservative and Reformist group.
Can’t really say I’m surprised at the news that Brian Crowley MEP for Ireland South, and member of Fianna Fáil, has jumped from FF’s EP Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group to the Conservative Reformist group led by the British Tories. Crowley has always been a more conservative figure than some might have thought.
Entertaining too to see FF slowly push back as it began to realise just how problematic this actually was, moving from a relaxed enough position on it to one where FF chief whip Seán Ó Fearghail acknowledged that Crowley’s actions constituted ‘major difficulties’ for them.
And so it does. Bad enough to be beaten back to one MEP representing them from Ireland, but to see the one remaining MEP go on a solo run is worse again (and have to effectively jettison him). Does this damage Martin’s authority? Sure it does, but political parties are voluntary associations and there’s little he can do. Eject Crowley and he loses him – probably for good. Sit tight and nothing changes, but Crowley remains a member of a group which Ó Fearghail admitted that ‘FF had absolutely nothing in common’. That’s probably pushing it, but it has to be a bitter pill to swallow to see Crowley joining a Tory led group.
Interesting to see this comparison made:
“If you take this course of action, then you move on,” said one TD, who did not want to state his position before today’s meeting.
“It would be like someone here joining the technical group and it’s not dissimilar to Lucinda [Creighton]leaving the Fine Gael parliamentary party but remaining a member of the party.”
Of course the issue of groups is fairly fluid in the EP but there are limits to that fluidity and Crowley appears to have reached them.
As to FF more broadly, well, yet another example of how the party is unravelling at the seams. It’s not a major crisis, it has little functional effect upon domestic politics in this state, but it contributes yet another small example of how things are not as they were. The seemingly near-invincible political machine that dominated the Celtic Tiger years is now a smoking hulk shifting hither and yon across the political landscape with no clear direction in mind and with some members of the crew happy enough to hang on by a fingernail.
You know, I’d almost have some sympathy for Martin.