SPARKS flew in Portlaoise last week during a lively debate at the launch of the new book by Laois journalist John Drennan.
Politicians came in for a lot of criticism at the public meeting to launch the book entitled ‘Cute Hoors and Pious Protesters’ at the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel. Everything family dynasties, to State cars to pensions was attacked by the public.
However, things spilled over when Deputy Charlie Flanagan tried to give his point of view. A member tried to shout down the TD.
“How dare you” shouted an audience member when Dep Flanagan contrasted the Ireland, where people have a right to vote, to Egypt.
While the tension soon abated, the Fine Gael TD said he should not have had to be “harangued”. While he accepted that the reform of “flawed” system was needed, he said people also respected their TDs. He gave an example of a constituent who wanted him to spend more time in the Dail, but who would vote for him because he helped get a medical card for a family member.
He did not apologise for succeeding his father Oliver J Flanagan.
“I make no apology that I come from a dynasty. I grew up in a political household and I was asked by the people of Laois Offaly to run because it was felt I did have something to offer,” he said adding that he would not force anybody to vote for him.
The audience member who shouted at Dep Flanagan said he objected to the concept that Irish people are privileged having a vote.
He attacked a system which throws up a cabinet of Ministers dominated by “dynasties and teachers.”
To a round of applause he said: “We have inexperienced amatures running the Department of Finance and they have destroyed our country. I am angry like a lot of other people in this country”.