Deputy Beverley Flynn has lamented the breakdown of Fianna Fáil’s Michael Ó Móráin cumann in Castlebar, which supported her political career up to the RTÉ libel controversy.
“It was a terrible decision to disband the cumann, which was run by volunteers for over 75 years. Those people put huge time and effort in without getting paid one penny,” she said during an interview with The Mayo News this week (see page 17).
The loss of direct contact with her Fianna Fáil allies following her expulsion from the party hasn’t hurt her political ambitions as much as might be expected, however.
“This time around as an Independent candidate I have more people canvassing for me throughout the county than ever before, which might sound surprising after the cumann collapsed.
“People come up and tell me, ‘don’t be afraid to call’, and they may never have been associated with Fianna Fáil.”
Entering her third general election contest, she is keener than ever to remain a politician.
“At my first by-election in 1994 I was enthusiastic but not 100 per cent certain about a career in politics. But after going through that and losing, it reinforced it in my mind that this was something I really wanted to do. I could have been written off at that stage but I was determined to get a nomination and when I did in 1996, it was only after a ferocious battle.
“I don’t have any regrets about the last ten years. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it’s been easy as there were some huge highs but terrible lows. I made the decisions at the time that felt right and I made them 100 per cent on my own and there is comfort in that it was all my doing that I had to live with the consequences.”
She isn’t prepared to entertain the idea of not being re-elected to Dáil Éireann this summer.
“You can’t really focus on that but the day you think you’re a shoe-in you have to be careful too.
“If people don’t want you, then it’s time to go. But I am confident I will come through. If it doesn’t turn out to be the case, I’ll certainly have plenty of time to think about it then.”