FIANNA FÁIL LEADER Micheál Martin plans to call on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to reopen a module of Moriarty Tribunal for a three month period to allow it to examine new allegations concerning the Tipperary TD Michael Lowry.
Martin has said that information contained in a recording of a conversation between the former Fine Gael minister and property agent Kevin Phelan over details of a €250,000 payment “raises some very serious questions”.
“Primary among them is whether a central module of the Moriarty Tribunal was compromised by an effort to co-ordinate the evidence of key witnesses,” Martin said in a statement first printed in the Sunday Independent and provided to TheJournal.ie today.
The Taoiseach has already ruled out reopening the Tribunal and speaking in New York today he said that Justice Moriarty had reported “fully and finally” according to Newstalk.
The conversation between Lowry and Phelan is said to have taken place on 20 September 2004 and concerns a €250,000 payment to Phelan which Lowry pleaded with Phelan not to reveal as the independent TD had “never declared it”.
In a statement released following first publication of a transcript of the conversation in the Sunday Independent three weeks ago, Lowry insisted that the payment was “properly recorded and accounted for” through one of his companies.
He has since refused to confirm the authenticity of the tape recording and claimed he has been unable to obtain a copy of the tape from the Sunday Independent, which broke the story.
This contradicts claims from the paper which details attempts to get a copy of the conversation to Lowry in today’s edition.
Martin said that TV3 had been “inexplicably alone among Irish broadcasters” in broadcasting the audio recording of the conversation last Thursday night and said that the case for re-examining evidence presented to the Moriarty Tribunal had been emboldened.
In 2011, the Tribunal found that Lowry exerted an “insidious and pervasive influence” on the process of awarding a mobile telephone license to the Denis O’Brien’s company Esat Digifone.
However it made limited findings on matters concerning the sale of Doncaster Rovers Football Club, which involved Phelan, due to “suppression” of evidence. Both Lowry and O’Brien have rejected the findings of the Tribunal.
Martin said of the recording played on TV3: “The nuances which emerge, absent from the written transcript, add to the fear that the Tribunal’s work may have been compromised.”
The Fianna Fáil leader said that the reluctance of the Taoiseach to investigate the new allegations surrounding Lowry was “understandable” given “the proximity” he and other ministers have to the events which led to the Tribunal.
But he said that Labour’s silence is a “a stark reminder of that party’s weakness”.
He continued: “No political party in this country can point to an unblemished past, but those of us who want to build a better quality of politics for the future have a duty to speak out on this issue.
“Fine Gael and the Labour Party were elected with a record majority on a long list of promises. At the top of that list was a promise to change the way we practice politics.
“In that spirit, I will next week call on the Taoiseach to agree to have the specific module of the Moriarty Tribunal reopened for a period of three months to allow Judge Moriarty examine the new material that has emerged since he reported two years ago.
“If Fine Gael meant a word of what it said about the need for change, and if the Labour Party has a shred of integrity left, I expect unanimous support for this call.”
17% of people satisfied with Labour leader and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore
Support for the Labour Party has dipped below 10%, according to the latest opinion poll.
Independents and smaller parties have also lost ground, with Fianna Fáil benefitting.
The Millward Brown poll for tomorrow’s Sunday Independent also found that just one voter in five is satisfied with the Government’s performance.
The poll of 985 voters was conducted over ten days finishing last Thursday.
It will be published just two weeks since its last poll for the Sunday Independent.
There is a very high level of ‘undecideds’ – 32% – but when they are excluded, Fine Gael is up one to 25%.
While the slide in Labour support continues – the party is down two to just 9%.
Fianna Fáil is back in the lead, up six points to 29%; while Sinn Féin drops one to 20%; and Independents and others are down four points in two weeks to 17%
Just 20% – one in five – say they are satisfied with the way the Government is running the country; 74% are dissatisfied.
Among the party leaders, 26% are satisfied with the performance of the Fine Gael Taoiseach, 17% with the Labour Tánaiste, 36% with Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin, and 28% with Gerry Adams of Sinn Féin.
By Thomás O Cléirigh
The Union bosses are the mafia that keeps the government in power and not the troika .These wolves in sheep clothing are nothing more than the real collaborators doing the biding of the faceless moneymen that allow the union bosses to extract enormous funds from their members and suck the country dry as they or their pals sit on the various guanos boards of course for hefty fees. The Union bosses are taking salaries equivalent to the Minsters of government and they have the perks and pensions to match. These sell-outs have betrayed the workers and the Irish workers are still like sheep following these leaches as they milk the insider system for all they can get.
Workers of Ireland wake up don’t you see these union bosses are part of the problem and are in no way going to rock the boat. They are out for themselves! Get out of these unions or kick out these puppets of the Labour party now.
These same union bosses have stood ideally by as our health services were dismantled ,over the last 5 years they have done nothing for the ordinary man in the street they have watch and done nothing as new taxes were imposed on families to pay for private debts of corrupt bankers .These unions are nothing more than puppets of the political system , a extra insurance the government of the day has against workers going out on to the streets and demanding true democracy just like they have in Iceland. We need people power and not hidden planted insiders who run the unions on behalf of the government of the day.
The unions have abandoned the unemployed and they are out to keep themselves in their plumb top jobs! It is totally immoral that workers should be accepting Austerity while these sell-outs continue to pay themselves lottery salaries. When I hear of old folk dying in each other’s arms because they cannot afford to heat their homes I say it’s time to take the fight to the streets and kick these leaches off our backs now .Every decent worker should down tools and go on a general strike with or without the unions now. No more Austerity do as Iceland did tell the Government and their Union insider pals to get stuffed we don’t need their permission to take back our country from gangsters!
Have you ever wondered why Irish workers are not joining other European Workers in demonstrating against the imposed austerity that is paying the gambling debts of hidden faceless moneymen?
Simple: The union bosses are bought and paid for by the real power brokers who rule over us now!
The remarks by Colm Keaveney TD comparing the group of protesters in Dundalk to Golden Dawn whilst describing them as ‘neanderthals’ -an expression that recalls precisely the fascist perspective he claims to oppose- are the latest salvo in the assault on truth conducted by the Labour Party.
Labour and its supporters have repeatedly resorted to describing loud and rambunctious -though not at all dangerous- protests as ‘anti-democratic’ and attacks on free speech, and so on. Frequent references are being made to fascism and Nazism. The shameless arrogance and ignorance of such a stance, in the context of brutal attacks on the livelihood of working class people -which Labour claims the government is conducting in the name of the Irish people in the ‘national interest’, is all too unsurprising.
It is important to bear in mind though that this isn’t just an attempt by Labour flunkies to shore up legitimacy for its actions in government, but an implicit call for the police to batter such protestors.
Given this context it is important to highlight and emphasise, in public, on the one hand, the seething hatred of democracy that such a stance demonstrates; and, on the other hand, the impeccable democratic legitimacy of protesters who disrupt and frustrate a regime bent on stripping away wages, benefits and public services in order to sate insatiable financial loan sharks.
Fifty per cent of voters now feel there is a need for a new political party on foot of broken election promises and widespread disillusionment with the Government, a new nationwide opinion poll reveals.
An undeniable feeling of discontent among voters has fuelled calls for a new party to be established, while angry voters are calling for the Government to rein in excessive pay and pensions in the bailed-out banks.
According to the latest Sunday Independent MillwardBrown nationwide opinion poll, conducted this month, the desire for a new party is strongest among women voters, young to middle-aged voters and those living in Connacht and Ulster or from poorer backgrounds.
Former Tanaiste Michael McDowell, writing in today’s Sunday Independent, says that falling satisfaction with the Government and the fact that the coalition partners have “fallen out of love” are driving factors behind the calls for a new party.
“There is at least 25 per cent of the electorate which would opt for a new party as an alternative to another term for the present coalition and as an alternative to a Fianna Fail/Sinn Fein coalition backed by the remnants of Labour,” he said.
Mr McDowell is predicting that while FG will lead the next government he thinks Labour will not be in power with them, and there is room in the gap for a new party.
“I cannot see any possibility of an overall majority FG government after the next election. It seems to me that many people in middle Ireland would support the formation of a new party which would give Ireland the opportunity to have a new government which would not include the Labour Party,” he adds.
According to the poll, 38 per cent of voters feel there is no need for a new political party, with opposition to the proposal higher among males, those aged over 55 and Dubliners, with many feeling a new party would not be able to offer any real change, given the country’s financial woes and our electoral system.
If don’t knows were to be excluded, a majority of voters feel there is a need for a new party.
When asked what strategies the Government should prioritise in 2013, 50 per cent of those polled said they want the Coalition to be more assertive when dealing with the issue of “bankers’ pay, pensions and lending policies”.
The drip feed of revelations about activities at the top of the banks, which to date have received €64bn of taxpayers’ money in capitalisation, have fuelled calls for more decisive action from Finance Minister Michael Noonan from the elderly and voters outside Dublin.
Voters are also frustrated with the lack of progress in terms of progressing Ireland’s bank debt deal with 23 per cent saying the Government should adopt a tougher approach when dealing with the troika, as a top priority.
Speaking this weekend, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said once the IBRC promissory note is restructured ahead of the March 31 deadline, he is expecting agreement on a deal by June on the cost of capitalising the “pillar banks”.
Mr Kenny said a full deal is not likely until 2014 after the necessary European structures are in place, but a signal will be crucial to enable Ireland to exit the bailout at the end of 2013.
“So while an actual transaction may not be possible until 2014 a clear signal of how this is going to be done will certainly strengthen market confidence and lower interest rates for Ireland,” he said.
– DANIEL McCONNELL Chief Reporte
Even though there are another three years to go to an election, the goose is already cooked for many Labour TDs. By Vincent Browne.
Michael McGrath, the Fianna Fáil spokesman on finance, responding to the budget on 5 December, said: “Fine Gael [in the cabinet discussions] showed that its absolute priority in the budget is to protect those who have most. We are told the Labour Party made valiant efforts to protect households dependent on social protection but, clearly, it has failed.”
Interestingly, at this point, Ruairi Quinn intervened to say: “Not so.”
Even those of us who might be sceptical about Quinn’s denials of having earlier signalled to a parliamentary Labour Party meeting that he had no confidence in Minister for Health James Reilly might be disposed to accept his word on this – ie, that Labour did not make valiant efforts to protect households depending on social protection.
McGrath went on to say: “The price Fine Gael wanted to extract for considering even a modest increase in tax for those earning more than €100,000 was to cut the most basic welfare payments. Fine Gael used the basic welfare payment of €188 per week as a negotiating chip to protect those earning more than €100,000 per year…
“In the face of this resistance from Fine Gael, the Labour Party capitulated and accepted the symbolic fig leaf of a so-called mansion tax that will affect a small number of people and bring in little additional revenue. Principles that are articulated in opposition are forgotten around the table of power.”
It is incomprehensible that the Labour Party would have agreed to break its solemn and much-advertised election promise not to allow any cut in child benefit, let alone this cut – €10 a month for the first and second child, €18 for the third child and €30 for the fourth and other children – and to do so in a way that will cause further terrible hardship to those whom Labour purports to protect.
I suspect this budget debacle was engineered in the first instance by the attempt to stop the flood of cabinet leaks that marked the lead-up to the 2012 budget a year ago, by confining the deliberations to the four ministers on the economic committee: Enda Kenny, Eamon Gilmore, Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin.
As Kenny and Gilmore are otherwise largely preoccupied, this left just Noonan and Howlin, both practised political disasters.
Noonan almost did in the Fine Gael party a decade ago, while Howlin – admittedly ably assisted by Alan Shatter – managed to lose the referendum on Oireachtas inquiries.
By the time other ministers became involved in the overall schema of the budget, I suspect it was too late to unpick the big decisions – particularly the decisions on PRSI, the household tax, respite care and child benefit – to protect the wealthy from increased charges or taxes. But perhaps this is a naive, benign assumption, and it certainly does not disguise the instinctual response of Fine Gael to the crisis: to afflict the afflicted and cosset the cosseted. Nor does it disguise the instinctual reflex of Labour ministers to remain in office almost at all costs, probably believing that this is somehow in the national interest.
An exacerbation of all this has been the disingenuous Labour claim that the budget involved a €500 million “wealth tax package”, whereas the true figure is €114 million in 2013 and €174 million in a full year, as Michael Taft of Unite has shown. The situation was made even worse by Gilmore and Joan Burton telling us how difficult all these decisions have been – for them.
Róisín Shortall again made a telling point at Gilmore in her contribution to the Dáil debate on the budget. She noted how the tax relief on pensions costs the exchequer €2.5 billion annually, and around 80% of this relief goes to the top 20% of income earners.
Pointedly, she asked: “On what basis does the Tánaiste believe it is any way fair that a person should be able to receive a lump sum of €200,000 tax-free? What is the basis for continuing with a regime, given that many thousands of taxpayers and others, who cannot afford to make pension provision for themselves, are in effect paying for the significant tax-free pension lump-sums of some of the wealthiest people in the country?”
It is all very dismal for Labour – made all the more so by Mario Draghi, who made it clear on 6 December that it is very much Frankfurt’s way, not Labour’s way, as far the €30 billion Anglo promissory notes are concerned. Even though there are another three years to go to an election, the goose is already cooked for many Labour TDs.
But there is a modicum of hope.
Tom O’Connor, the political scientist, has shown evidence that a left-leaning majority might be emerging (including Labour among the left). He notes that, in 1987, the left was at 15%, in 1997 at 24%, in 2007 at 25%, in 2011 at 40% and, according to the Red C poll in the Sunday Business Post on 2 December, at 43% now.
It is not entirely improbable that the left (Labour, Sinn Féin, United Left Alliance and left-leaning independents) will be close to 50%.
That might be interesting – or it might, once again, be more of the same.
Image top (the Labour Parliamentary Party at the beginning of the 31st Dáil, in March 2011): The Labour Party.
Need a foolproof guide to figuring out the Government’s actions? Read on
How the promissory note works (sort of)
Step 1 The Government pays €3.1 billion interest payments on an IOU for loads of money it gave to Anglo/IBRC (a branch of Government), who then pay the interest back to the Central Bank (a branch of Government), who stare at it for a while.
Step 2 Some sums.
Step 3 Terrifying omens abound. A two-headed lamb is born. An eagle drops a wolf cub. It lands on Phil Hogan’s head (he wears it as a hat). An apparition of Seán Lemass is seen pacing Leinster House. The Spice Girls make a musical. The ghost of Bertie Ahern is seen in a petrol station forecourt eating a Big Time (to the surprise of the still living Bertie Ahern). The pope tweets his first tweet (“I’m infallible LOL!”). A long-faced man from Europe appears and gazes mournfully at us.
Step 4 Coffee break.
Step 5 Some more sums. Maybe some physics. Possibly a bit of string theory.
Step 6 The money vanishes.
Step 7 Cut respite grants for carers and reduce child allowance.
How the Labour Party works
This is when members of the Labour Party usually intervene and say they are a bit sad. They feel really desperate about the whole thing. In fact, they feel just awful. Words cannot express how terrible they feel and neither can devising redistributive policies. “Jaysus, it’s terrible,” they add, before crooning a few bars of a song about Jim Larkin and submitting an expenses claim.
“If only we were in opposition,” they say. “Then we might have some real power.”
At this point they sing a sad Irish air about missing being in opposition.
Because Labour are goodies. If they weren’t in Government things would certainly, definitely, probably, possibly be worse. We’d be working as footmen in Fine Gael’s stately homes and the Cabinet would be paying off loads of extra interest on promissory notes and raiding the pension fund all the time, just for the laugh. Enda Kenny would be wearing leather gloves, jodhpurs and possibly an eye patch. There would be far more nefarious guffawing.
Labour are, they imagine, classic heroes like the rebels in Star Wars. It just so happens they’re on the Death Star wearing stormtrooper suits at the moment (alternatively, you can imagine them as the carefree Smurfs hanging around Gargamel’s cave dressed as cats).
How Fine Gael works
Fine Gael, on the other hand, is more comfortable with governmental villainy (see Derek Keating’s attack on the “welfare economy lifestyle”). Its Ministers are modelled on classic baddies from fiction.
Kenny’s whole shtick is based on Gort, the glossy robot in The Day the Earth Stood Still (not the Galway town).
James Reilly, with his tax-relieved stately home and history of lobbying for the medical profession, is of course the Lovecraftian old god Cthulhu locating health centres in his home dimension.
Michael Noonan has based his persona on a character from the obscure 1950s Hammer exploitation film – Dracula meets Michael Noonan – in which the hero, an ageless whispering plutocrat, battles the otherworldly Michael Noonan.
Not everyone in Fine Gael seems bad at first. The Li’l Blueshirts, Leo Varadkar, Lucinda Creighton and Simon Harris, once seemed like roguish scamps engaged in neoliberal hijinks with a social-conservative twist.
But eventually their unearthly powers manifested themselves, like the children in Village of the Damned, and they terrified us all with their Toryism, sighing monotone deliveries, and by causing unexplained fires with their minds. They don’t mind being baddies.
But Labour are goodies. They don’t mean to target the poor. They LIKE the poor . . . and not just as a source of cheap labour. So they’ll sigh and cry and feel everyone’s pain and some brave souls will defect and some of them will do sad-face. Because they’re not baddies. They’re NOT. STOP IT. DON’T LOOK AT ME. DON’T LOOK AT ME!
Launching a scathing attack on Mr Gilmore and other ministers, the Labour senator John Whelan said: “This is a Cabinet of grey-haired old men who are detached from the lives of working families.”
In a reference to the expected retirement of most of the Cabinet at the next election, Mr Whelan asked: “Who among them will have to face mothers at the next election to explain their actions?”
At the last general election, Labour vowed to protect child benefit, but the monthly rate was cut in the Budget by €10 per child to €130 for the first three children. The cut come into effect in January. A further cut of €10 is to be implemented for a fourth and subsequent children from January 2014.
The entire measure will cost many hard-pressed families up to €1,500 a year before other cuts and taxes are taken into account, such as changes to PRSI and the property tax.
Of the 45 members of Labour’s parliamentary party, 12 TDs and senators have expressed varying degrees of concern, both publicly and privately, at the direction their party is taking in Government.
It has also also emerged that Labour’s chairman, Colm Keaveney, has written to TDs and senators – in defiance of the party leadership – to ask for complaints, which he has said he will urgently take to Mr Gilmore. While Mr Gilmore and other Labour ministers are anxious to maintain control over internal dissent, Mr Keaveney wrote: “The last week has been a difficult one for us as a party.
“The Budget presented many challenges for us as we are in Government with a party that operates according to a very different set of values and objectives from our own.
“Email me with your thoughts and reflection on the Budget,” he urged, “so that I may express them back to the party organisation and leadership and, in particular, at our next meeting of the executive board.”
As Sinn Fein this weekend mounted protests outside the constituency offices of Labour TDs and senators nationwide, the feedback to Mr Gilmore and his colleagues was unequivocal.
Mr Whelan said: “I am the eldest of a family of seven. I grew up in a council estate in Monasterevin (Co Kildare). Like many families, I know first hand the importance of children’s allowance to help make ends meet.
“This child benefit cut is hard to stomach as it impacts so hard on lower-income families who need it most.
“And now, thanks to this unfair cut, I have Brian Stanley and Sinn Fein protesting outside my office in Portlaoise today, making more noise, when I am trying to make a difference, change things and have these cutbacks on children reversed.”
Another senior and widely respected Labour TD said: “Child benefit has to be protected. The moment I heard the Budget, I knew this was going to be the red-line issue.
“We have created a poverty trap for working Irish families who need child benefit, not as a luxury, but to live, to provide school lunches for the kids.”
In a reference to current unease within Labour, Mr Whelan added: “Roisin Shorthall, who still carries real moral authority in the party, asked if the Budget had been poverty-proofed – and answer there was none.”
Another rural TD told the Sunday Independent: “We’re trying to explain why parents can’t buy school dinners for their children and Gilmore is out in Foreign Affairs talking about saving the world.
“He is not where we want or need him to be. We are losing our entire moral and political platform.”
Despite the outrage, however, the expectation as of now is that the Social Welfare Bill, which implements the cuts in child benefit, will be passed without change in January.
However, there is an expectation that several Labour TDs will either vote against the measure or abstain, thus losing the party whip and joining several former colleagues in opposition, including Ms Shortall.
A campaign to change some of what are regarded as the more severe Budget cuts is likely to be sustained and increased over Christmas and into the new year.
A senior Labour TD said last night: “We are going to be annihilated if we continue on like this. We have already abandoned several of the key promises we made during the election.”
Also yesterday, several TDs expressed anger at the leadership’s failure to secure a three per cent increase in the Universal Social Charge for people earning over €100,000.
There was also huge concern at the implication of PRSI changes, which will result in more reductions in the take-home pay of all workers, and hit low- and middle-income earners in particular.
However, other Labour Oireachtas members are still trying to focus attention on the opposition.
Donegal senator Jimmy Harte said it was “very difficult to justify these tough decisions” but that no credible alternatives had been put forward by either Sinn Fein or Fianna Fail.
He added: “I am very unhappy with a lot of what was in the Budget, the respite care cuts and child benefit. I would have liked to have seen a solidarity tax included.”
Many Labour TDs and senators were scathing in private but unwilling to state publicly their true feelings.
Others spoke openly of how the cuts are difficult to stomach but stopped short of directly criticising Mr Gilmore and Labour ministers.
Meath East TD Dominic Hannigan said: “Nobody likes having to make these cuts. The best we can do is to ensure they are as fair as possible.”
In a further sign of concern within the party, the Labour equivalent of the Fine Gael ‘five-a-side’ group of disenchanted – but so far loyal – first-time TDs has emerged.
Described as “hardcore Labour” and said to be concerned with maintaining the party’s identity, some of the names believed to be involved include Ann Phelan (Carlow Kilkenny) and Dublin TDs Robert Dowds, Eamon Maloney and Michael Conaghan. Derek Nolan (Galway West) is said to be “loosely affiliated” to the group.
Mr Dowds said he held a meeting on Friday in his constituency to discuss the impact of the Budget.
“People realised it was a difficult Budget and that we have very little option at this stage – but it is difficult.”
He felt that ministers Joan Burton and Ruairi Quinn had done a “brilliant job” in ensuring the cuts were limited.
At least seven other TDs, including Mr Keaveney, have also expressed a degree of concern about the party’s direction. They include Michael McNamara (Clare); Brendan Ryan (Dublin North); Michael McCarthy (Cork South West); Joanna Tuffy (Dublin Mid West); Ciara Conway (Waterford); and Mr Hannigan.
Senators John Kelly, John Gilroy, Denis Landy and James Heffernan are also openly disaffected with the “current direction of the party”.
While the anger is palpable within Labour, some in the party described Mr Keaveney’s actions as an open refutation of the party leadership, with whom he has endured a rocky relationship.
BACK IN 1987, the UCC sociologist, JP O’Carroll published a piece in Irish Political Studies with the iconoclastic title Strokes, Cute Hoors and Sneaking Regarders: The Influence of Local Culture on Irish Political Style. In this article O’Carroll posited the view that the notion of community in Ireland was best seen as a set of locally shared attitudes to place, territory, property, time and language.
He went on to argue that Irish politics was more an exercise in expressiveness than an expression of choice and that such expressiveness was manifested in the assertion of inherited loyalties and partisanship where Ireland was full of politicians, or cute hoors, able to pull strokes on behalf of a grateful public full of sneaking regarders. By its tendency to limit choice, political culture Irish style contravened the first two characteristics of modern democracy, the possibility of open discussion and the exercise of individual will and consent. Ireland wasn’t really a democracy at all. It was a country in which you were for Fianna Fáil or you weren’t
The great genius of Eamon de Valera lay in his recognition of what was needed by the body politic at the time of independence: identity-building, and in the use of the most appropriate tool, the rhetoric of community, to achieve it. De Valera’s rhetoric not only created a national political community by using an image of Ireland as a parish at large, he also built a most effective political machine for the creation and expansion of political power. This political machine, once the most successful in Western Europe, now lies in ruins but is not dead yet and in fact is threatening a comeback. Historically Fianna Fáil saw itself as more of a political monument than a political party and through this monument had created a strong moral sense of community for itself. Coalition was an anathema. ‘Moral Community’, the term coined by John Healy in 1983, highlighted the exceptionally strong pull of Fianna Fáil for its members – with Healy even suggesting that it substituted for sex in the case of many of Fianna Fáil’s celibate supporters. Those who defected from Fianna Fáil in the 1980s were apostates as outside the party there was no salvation.
The trouble was that the chief of this tribe, Charles J Haughey, did not seem to view the national monument in much the same way as the members of his tribe. Single-party government was jettisoned on the altar of maintaining Fianna Fáil government. That Fianna Fáil’s first experiment with coalition government should be in partnership with the apostates from the PDs suggests that for the elected members of the national monument, political survival meant much more than membership of a moral, pure community; a community that was now infected from outside by those who had once been part of the said same community. Fianna Fáil had been able to penetrate very deep into the Irish bureaucracy precisely because it had practically a near monopoly on public office for close to 70 years and had by its own success, to use Tom Garvin’s words, ‘generated social categories in its own image’.
This then allowed them to pull strokes on behalf of the sneaking regarders who subsequently and continually rewarded them at the ballot box. Going into coalition fundamentally changed the nature of Irish politics but Fianna Fáil as the largest party in coalitions with first the PDs, then Labour, back to the PDs, and lastly the Greens was as the dominant party still able to claim the allegiance of the 40 per cent who always voted for it. Moreover Fianna Fáil’s embrace of coalition politics also promised for them the possibility of permanent government. After all they had received the most votes in every election they had ever fought.
Then came the economic crash. There has long been a view held by practically all sections of Irish society that Fianna Fáil had an especially close relationship with property developers and the construction industry. This was particularly important in relation to planning decisions where county councillors charged with deciding on land rezoning were continuously and vigorously lobbied by property developers. The political consequence of the economic mayhem in Ireland caused by the reckless lending of the banks to property developers was the collapse of Fianna Fáil’s popularity. The sneaking regarders took a heavy revenge at the ballot box, reducing Fianna Fáil to 20 seats and 17 per cent of the vote. The electorate was promised a new style of politics. Political reform became a dominant theme of the 2011 general election. The era of stroke politics was over.
But it hasn’t worked out that way. Political reform is but a chimera. The farce that has become the Constitutional Convention is but a singular example of this. A third of the convention are to be elected politicians, and of the remaining 66 we now found that these citizens can remain anonymous so as not to be influenced by lobbying groups. Moreover their itinerary is disappointingly small. And over and above all this stroke politics has re-entered the lexicon of Irish politics once more, as Minister for Health Dr James Reilly cannot adequately explain how he came to add extra towns including two in his own constituency to the list of areas being considered for a new primary care centre.
So has Fine Gael simply replaced Fianna Fáil in the Strokes, Cute Hoors and Sneaking Regarders stakes? Has anything really changed in Ireland over the course of our country’s independence? Have we as a country simply accepted that this is the way politics always has worked and always will work? Notwithstanding the kicking given to Fianna Fáil in 2011, is Irish politics doomed to repeat its mistakes as the electorate seeks to reward those who give it favours? We were promised that this wouldn’t be the case during the general election – but the evidence of the Reilly case suggests otherwise.
Gary Murphy is Associate Professor of Politics and Head of the School of Law and Government at Dublin City University.
The Budget will contain revenue raising measures amounting to €1.25bn, and cuts in spending amounting to €2.25bn.
It is the second budget of the Fine Gael-Labour coalition and the fifth austerity budget in a row.
Mr Noonan will begin at 2.30pm and his speech, expected to last around 45 minutes, will focus on revenue raising measures.
It will be followed by a similar contribution from Labour’s Brendan Howlin who will outline spending cuts.
Throughout the afternoon there will be briefing sessions at which individual ministers will outline the implications for their departments.
The first vote is due just after tea time.
Leo Varadkar’s Constituency Newsletter
4:38 pm December 3, 2012 Chompsky
Plenty of transport budget gone into rail, cycle and road projects in D15.
Well, they don’t call him the ‘Minister for Transport’ for nothing.
More stroke politics
The leader of Ireland’s parliamentary opposition, Mr Martin said he had been looking for information on the location of the 20 primary care centre sites for months, while it appears the Labour partnership in the Coalition Government was facilitating a cover-up. It would appear their partners in the so called media of the left such as Indymedia Ireland are also involved in censorship, to protect their former Stalinist comrade now private healthcare lobbyist, Gilmore.
Gilmore’s Criminal Private Healthcare Buddy
The leader of Ireland’s parliamentary opposition, Mr Martin said he had been looking for information on the location of the 20 primary care centre sites for months, while it appears the Labour partnership in the Coalition Government was facilitating a cover-up.
“It took us some months through the Freedom of Information act to get this very basic information, which I have been asking for in the Dáil for the last number of months, I asked the Tánaiste in the Dáil could he produce and would he publish this documentation immediately and of course they refused. The freedom of information request was delayed for a further month, which really illustrates complete contempt for the Dáil, a blatant lack of transparency and we now know why.”
As reported by The Irish Times of last Saturday, Swords and Balbriggan were added the day before the announcement of the chosen sites, while Ballaghaderreen and Kilkenny were put on the list, just hours before it was announced. Indymedia Ireland are also censoring material related to this cover-up, along with censoring material initially published but later removed, related to the murder in a Galway hospital, of a mother refused an abortion, to save her life. Indymedia Ireland are also involved in massive censorship of matters relating to Marian Price, with the removal of a family statement on the seriously deteriorating health of this political internee.
�Shortall who resigned from her post in the Labour coalition on principle, said at the weekend this revelation showed “blatant stroke politics” were behind the decision. Dr Reilly “started off by assisting some of his colleagues and looking after some of his colleagues, and then at the last minute slipping in another four, two of which were in his own constituency.This documentation gives the lie to the many convoluted excuses and justifications that Minister Reilly and his colleagues gave in the Dáil and elsewhere to claim that there was some other criteria used .. other than pure political patronage.”
In October Dr Reilly told the Dáil, that the rationale behind the decision on primary care centres chosen, were made from a list with a “logistical logarithmic progression”. Ms Shortall said the documents demonstrated this justification to be “codswallop”. Likewise the bullscutter on a abortion and the censorshit of Indymedia Ireland relative to Marian Price and Eamon Gilmore, has a distinct whiff of the old sticky, RTE, Brit censorshit contagion. They are a disgraceful example of the sell out of the Irish working class both in parliament and in the Irish media in the closed shop of passes for politics in the clearly unfree Irish state that is compromised to secret dark forces.
The orginal vote of no confindence was called after it was reported that a list of primary care centre sites was altered the evening before its launch to include four new centres, two of which were in Dr Reilly’s constituency. The two centres, located in Swords and Balbriggan, were added to the priority list despite them not being located in the top 30 locations drawn up by the HSE and then minister Róisín Shortall.
Meanwhile Reilly has the neck to insist this morning, that he stood by his actions. “I have made it very clear that I stand over what I did and if I had to do it all again I’d do what I did, there is very clearly a need for primary care centres in all of the locations mentioned.” Mr Martin said he had been trying to get this most basic of information on the location of the centres for several months. Provisional Sinn Féin made new calls or Dr Reilly’s resignation with party health spokesman Caoimhghin O Caolain saying Reily’s position was untenable following the revelations about the timing of the amendments to the primary care centre priority list. He said the plan needed to be revisited and revised in a publicly accountable way to ensure there was no bias involved in the allocation of the centres.”
Eamon Gilmore who has firmly supported Reilly, should also resign immediately, along with all of the agents involved in systematic media censorship in Ireland, of all articles related to the progressive resolution of problems stemming from ignorance in Ireland, as a result of persistent censorship in both the corporate and infiltrated media of Ireland.
Related Link: http://irishblog-irelandblog.blogspot.com/
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore says he has full faith in Dr James Reilly
Related Link: http://podcastireland-irishblog.blogspot.com/