9th February, 2010

George Lee has let people down. I have a particular interest in all of this as both George and I stood together in the bye elections of last summer.

He let them down not because of the trouble he’s landed Fine Gael in. My party has been through worse, and will get over it. When the dust settles, I am sure the party will regroup and recover. He let them down not because he has embarrassed the political classes. It’s not just Fine Gael who’ll suffer as a result of his actions- all of us in Leinster House are today tainted by the accusation of being unwelcoming “insiders” who didn’t allow talent to flourish.

Rather, George has let down all the people who up to his election had never thought politics was for them. I know of so many people who saw his election as a sign of hope, a sign that things could change. Now, nine months later, that hope is gone. And all because of his impatience and a belief that he deserved automatic elevation to high office without even, say, a year of learning the ropes.

George may believe that his is bigger than Fine Gael. Maybe he is.

But I know for a fact that nobody, myself included, is bigger than the people. It is the people who I serve and who have given me the opportunity to make a difference. That’s why last night, when George was on TV talking about his annoyance at having to go to public meetings, I was at one such meeting and chairing another one tonight. Talking to people. Hearing their problems. And helping them solve them.

That’s what politics is. I am greatly honoured to be given a chance to represent people. And George should have been too.

Resigning a Dail seat? The most precious gift that the people can offer when you are looking to advocate and represent them? If I ever win a seat it will be taken off me by those who own it – the people. It won’t be handed back to them, unused and unwanted.