Mary Harney: The PDs would never have happened without Des – he was the trump card

O’Malley respected Charlie Haughey’s intellect, was a feminist, wanted to quit the party leadership earlier than he did and remained as sharp as a tack to the end, his great friend Mary Harney recalls

Mary Harney and Des O’Malley at a press conference to launch the Progressive Democrats party in 1985: ‘It was the right time for a new party’. Picture: Derek Speirs

Mary Harney, former Tánaiste and former leader of the Progressive Democrats, was in conversation with Michael Brennan about her personal memories of Des O’Malley

When Des O’Malley was expelled, I lost all confidence that there was a future for me in Fianna Fáil.

I encouraged Des to start a new party. He took the summer of 1985 to think about it. There were a number of people interested in the idea. Research was commissioned, but ...