Michael Noonan elects ‘not to be backseat driver’ and is focused on representing Limerick

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Deputy Michael Noonan made the comments at a party meeting

Deputy Michael Noonan made the comments at a party meeting

MICHAEL NOONAN has not made any public statements on government policy since standing down as Minister for Finance in 2017, and has since decided “not to be a backseat driver” in Dail Eireann.

When he announced that he was not going to run in the next general election in the summer of 2017, the former minister made headlines for his enthusiasm over returning to the backbench.

At a Northern Trust jobs announcement on June 13, 2017, the Limerick City TD said: “I’ve already told my friends I’m going to be a contrary backbencher and indulge in all the mischief I can.”

Speaking to the Limerick Leader at the recent launch of Senator Maria Byrne’s general election campaign, Deputy Noonan said that “[his] vote is needed” in the minority government and that he is in the Dail every Tuesday to Thursday.

“I decided not to be a backseat driver, so I haven’t made any public statements on policy since I stood down,” he said.

When this reporter asked if there was any reason for that decision, the TD replied: “Yeah, because I don’t want to be a backseat driver. As soon as I say anything, fellas like you would ask me did I agree with Leo Varadkar or did I agree with Paschal Donohoe, would I do something different as Finance Minister. So, I don’t want to get into all that. I have done my bit and I am representing the city and I am doing a good bit of constituency work.”

He added that he believes that there will not be a general election for at least another 12 months. However, events this week with the new former communications minister Denis Naughten may have overtaken that prediction.

Noonan was first elected to the Dail in 1981, and has served in numerous ministerial roles since, including minister for finance, health, justice, and industry and commerce.