‘I have ab­so­lutely no doubt that I made the right de­ci­sion’

Bray People - - Bray People - Paula BURNS

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.

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