Not everyone will have heard of Fidelma Healy-Eames, a failed Dáíl candidate in 2002, 2007 and 2011.
Fidelma’s sole political achievement up to 2011 was being elected to Galway County Council, and as anyone familiar with Irish politics will know, this is hardly a badge of honour. But Fidelma, a former primary-schoolteacher, is nothing if not pushy, and so it transpired that she became Fine Gael’s spokesperson on education and science in 2007, at a time when the party had no prospect of being in government. Or to put it another way, somebody gave Fidelma a meaningless job to keep her from complaining.
When the electorate rejected Fidelma for the third time in 2011, Fine Gael took pity on her and nominated her for the Labour panel in the Senate elections. Nobody knows why, but the result was a massive boost in Fidelma’s ego. For clarity, I should explain that the Labour panel has about 1,000 voters, consisting of county councillors, TDs and senators. When Fidelma won a seat with a grand total of 89 votes, she embraced the delusion that she was a public representative, despite representing no-one at all.
Like all great political bluffers, Fidelma has a massive regard for her own importance, in some cases producing hilarious satire. Who could forget her acclaimed performance, Fidelma Discovers Fraping?
Classic stuff. Fidelma wanted every user “registered with an IP address”.
But Fidelma’s gift for comedy doesn’t end there. This, after all, is the well-paid representative of 89 people whose car was seized in Galway because she hadn’t paid the road tax. Less than a fortnight later, Fidelma was caught without a ticket on the Galway-Dublin train, presumably because the car was in the pound.
In 2013, Fidelma opposed the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, arising from the appalling Savita Halappanaver case, and was duly kicked out of the FG parliamentary party along with Lucinda Creighton and a few others. Enda must be kicking himself for putting Fidelma on the Labour panel in the first place.
In recent times, Fidelma has been making a fool of herself by pretending to understand social media, building on the huge wave of approval from the Fraping speech.
Responding to Leo Varadkar’s coming out, she tweeted as follows:
#Leo Varadkar has shown a lot of courage to come out. I wish him luck. #sexualorientation
And the whole world wanted to know, what’s that about? It led to a flood of ridicule as people used the tag #sexualorientation in tweets on everything from cookery to weather forecasts, but it didn’t stop Fidelma continuing the epic hashtag fail.
#unbalanced #factsfirst #kneeinjury #noschool #gonetoofar #reformlearning #education.
What a #Fool
Last night, I asked Fidelma what I thought was a perfectly reasonable question.
Who do you represent?
I thought that was a fair question to ask of a senator elected by 89 fellow politicians, but Fidelma obviously didn’t think so.
Get your facts right, Fidelma? Elected by 89 political cronies. In what sense is that public representation?
And so she joins an elite group of Irish politicians, consisting of herself and foreign minister Charlie Flanagan, who won’t accept hard questions, though in fairness to Charlie, at least he was elected by the citizens of Ireland.
For Fidelma, the question remains: who do you represent?