Former Fianna Fáil deputy leader Éamon Ó Cuív said “it’s not a black-and-white certainty” that he made the right decision to stay in the party when he was silenced over the EU treaty referendum earlier this year.
His opposition to the fiscal compact treaty, which openly defied his party leader, Micheál Martin, has been “validated”, he believes, because there has been no progress in dealing with the nation’s bank debt.
In an interview with the Irish Examiner, Mr Ó Cuív — whose grandfather Éamon de Valera founded Fianna Fáil — said he faced “a very difficult choice” last May of whether to stay in the party.
The decision came after he was ordered not to campaign for a no vote. He had already resigned as deputy party leader in February after announcing that he would vote against the treaty.
Reflecting on his decision in today’s Irish Examiner, he said: “Many people would say I made the right choice but I equally meet a lot of people who say I made the wrong choice. I’m satisfied myself that I made the right choice. But it’s not a black-and-white certainty either.”
Asked to clarify what was not black and white, the Galway West TD said that “I made the right choice”.
“A choice is a choice and I made the right choice, said Mr Ó Cuív. “I would still, if I was faced with the same choice today, make the same choice, but I’m not saying that it’s absolutely black and white.”
Mr Ó Cuív said he has “no regrets for expressing my view on the fiscal treaty”. He had said it should not be ratified until the Government got some commitment from its EU partners on reducing bank debt.
“I have to say that now we have come to the end of 2012 and we find no tangible progress in relation to dealing with the bank debt issue, my view today validates the view I had at the time: That we had a unique opportunity to deal with this in the context of the fiscal treaty.
“And when I believed so sincerely in that point of view I think it was important to articulate it.”
Mr Ó Cuív said his relationship with Mr Martin is “fine” now, adding that he had since been appointed to the front bench. He said he does not believe Mr Martin will appoint a deputy leader to fill the position, now vacant for almost a year.
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