Tonight panellists, 8 February 2010

Tonight the panel will discuss the departure of George Lee from the Dail and Fine Gael. He claimed that he had no opportunity to influence policy. The issue of how much influence back bench TDs have over policy was covered during last weeks public meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution. Politico's coverage of this event can be seen here, and Vincent Browne's column on the same subject (and prophetic jab at George Lee!) here.

George Lee
Formerly the economics editor for the RTE news, George Lee left the national broadcaster last May for politics. He was elected to the Dublin South constituency in the by-election which followed the death of longtime Fianna Fail TD Seamus Brennan, defeating rivals Shay Brennan (FF) and Alex White (Lab).

Educated at University College Dublin and the London School of Economics, Lee worked as a senior Economist at Riada Stockbrokers, as well as with FTI and the Central Bank. He began working for RTE in 1992.

Lee announced today that he was resigning from the Dail and Fine Gael, having had 'virtually no influence or input' into the shaping of Fine Gael's economic policies.

James Reilly
Fine Gael TD for Dublin North, Dr James Reilly has served as the party spokesman on health since 2007. A former President of the Irish Medical Organisation, Dr. Reilly worked as a GP in Lusk and Donabate in north Dublin before embarking on a political career.

In his capacity as health spokesman, he has promised that Fine Gael in government would abolish waiting lists for hospital treatment, ensure every resident has health insurance, entitling all to equal treatment for equal need and free GP care.

Shane Coleman
Shane Coleman is the political editor of the Sunday Tribune, and a regular commentator and analyst. He graduated from DCU with an MA in Journalism in 1991. He is the author, along with fellow Tribune political writer Michael Clifford, of a recent book on Bertie Ahern entitled 'Bertie Ahern and the Drumcondra Mafia'

Reviewing the papers are journalists Niamh Lyons of the Irish Daily Mail and Ian Kehoe of the Sunday Business Post.