‘I have absolutely no doubt that I made the right decision’
FORMER Fianna Fáil TD Deputy Joe Behan has admitted he is not looking forward to going into the Dáil following his shock resignation from Fianna Fáil.
‘It will be a very lonely place for me and I’m not looking forward to it,’ he said.
In a dramatic stance against the government’s decision to scrap the medical card for the over 70s, the Wicklow TD resigned from the Party last Friday evening.
Deputy Behan predicted that the attack against the young and elderly by the government will continue in next year’s budget where it is likely that the free travel and ESB for pensioners will be targeted as will child benefit.
Deputy Behan said yesterday (Tuesday) that he was ‘disappointed’ that Brian Cowen failed to reverse the medical cards decision and had only increased earnings thresholds.
‘He’s gone a long way (but) I can’t understand why he didn’t go the whole way,’ said Deputy Behan. ‘He’s completely missed the point, we should be valuing all our senior citizens over 70.’
‘I will be opposing these motions in the future and will have to vote against the Government and I couldn’t do this as a party member.’
As the dust begins to settle after what was a busy weekend for the now independent backbencher, and despite the partial rowback by Brian Cowen, Deputy Behan remains adamant that his decision was the right one.
‘I feel that I have made nil progress since entering the Dáil. I voted for motions that I was against and the Whip System of the government does not give TD’s the chance to be heard. They’re speaking but not being heard, and so I have absolutely no doubt that I made the right decision.’
Shortly after he entered the Dáil last year Mr. Behan felt the backlash from the people of his constituency for his party’s decision not to implement a full-time fire service in North Wicklow.
‘At the time I thought that I could work within in the party but it started to become more obvious that this wasn’t going to be the case and the budget reconfirmed this.’
Deputy Behan has made no decision yet on wether or not he will run in the next election and his post as principal at St. Fergal’s School remains open to him.
‘I will consider what road to take later on but at the moment I am just looking to the day-today basis of things. I have a job to go back to in teaching if I want and it was a huge part of my life for a long time but I also enjoyed being a Councillor and helping the people of my constituency.’
There has been widespread support in Bray from local councillors and residents who have expressed their admiration for Deputy Behan’s tough decision to resign from government.
Last Monday morning saw Deputy Behan receive a welcoming response as he made his first public engagement in Bray at the launch of the 20th Anniversary Celebrations of the opening of St. Fergal’s Resource Centre.
‘I was delighted to be welcomed back to a project that I was involved in 20 years ago. I suppose it’s like going back to the future,’ remarked Deputy Behan.
Deputy Joe Behan.