Originally Posted by GerM
Feighan did his job. He was interviewed and did present the facts that directly influenced his decision. He did so on live radio. He attempted to speak with his constituents outside the Dáil but was attacked and had to be led away. He spoke with the head of the HIQA who informed him that the hospital was not viable and not able to provide an adequate level of care to his constituents. The director of Roscommon/Galway hospitals reiterated HIQA's findings. Feighan did what he believed was best for his constituents. He did so in the knowledge that it will cost him his career. The people of his constituency will never vote him into office again. He's only in his forties and not nearing retirement. He probably did not expect his constituents to make a death threat to him either. He was spat upon and shoved as he walked. It seems that, after examining all the facts at hand, Feighan found it more morally acceptable to do what was best for people and break a promise rather than keep a promise and do what was worst for people. His reward for making that call will be his treatment as an outcast and loss of his career.
OK, take your points. But lets look at the situation. Feighan is an elected representative of his constituency. He has a moral obligation to put their wishes forth. It's what he was elected for. In reality, he should not have an opinion on this subject. Much like the whip, the constituents have a right to expect their representative to first and foremost put across their wishes and vote according to them. NOT subvert such express instructions and vote to the contrary.
He may well have been looking at a wider picture, he may well have "people's" best interests at heart, however, put bluntly, his dissention from the party whip should be expected in such an instance. It was the wish of his constituents that he vote thus. It should also not unduly destabilise the government should they remove the party whip from him for doing so and I do not believe it would have done so had he dissented. Therefore, you must ask yourself, for what reason did he vote thus ? It surely was not (in my view) in order to take the moral high ground, or, to protect the government.
Of course he deserved no physical threat, or abuse. However I personally believe that by voting against his constituent's wishes and breaking the electoral promises he made had, in essence, defrauded the electorate, at least those who voted for him on the premise that he would support the hospital as that was their capital interest.