Sunday, September 30, 2012

May you live in interesting times

So as one might imagine, the last week has been one of those glued to the coverage week as various storylines were picked up again after the long summer break in the political soap opera that is Ireland.


The major plot twist is of course the resignation of Roisin Shortall from her role as junior minister in the Dept of Health. The truth of the matter is that the wrong minister has been forced out in this instance. James Reilly's shenanigans at getting some extra resources allocated to his constituency is exactly the sort of stuff we used to give out about with Fianna Fail and the Healy-Rae clan. What is even worse is his attempts to cover it up with bluster about Shortall's manipulation of the criteria for selection when the paperwork shows that this is patently false.
But the real failing here is with the leadership of the Labour party. Gilmore and his handlers should have marched down to Hawkins House and gone though Reilly. They had the high moral ground here, had public support (except maybe in Dublin North), and most importantly they would have been in the right. Enda Kenny should have been given an ultimatum of Reilly or no coalition and given 12 hours to mull it over. And then they should have had the backbone to follow through. Instead, the wise heads in Ely Place decided to shaft one of our most able politicians for the sake of not upsetting Fine Gael.
I would advise anyone who hasn't heard it yet to listen back to Shortall on the Marian Finucane show from this morning. She certainly doesn't hold back. Now we have Alex White promoted to the open slot in Health. While I am sure he'll do fine, he was actually a very good chair of the Finance Committee and will most likely have to give up leading the Labour delegation on the constitutional convention. We might have been best served leaving him where he was.

Phil Hogan

I don't even know where to begin on this one. Hogan has been a disaster since the day he took office. Between septic tanks, the household charge and the planning enquiries he has been an inverse Midas, where everything he has touched turned to shit. Now the story comes out that he wrote a pretty offensive letter about a family of travellers to some local constituents promising that they wouldn't be housed by the local authority. Whatever about the problem of the Minister interfering in the activities of local government that reports back to his Department, the contents and tone of the letter and representations are a disgrace. He's another one who should no longer be holding office, but instead his loyalty to Enda during the 2010 heave is still being paid back

March for Choice

The one bright light of the last week was today's successful pro-choice march through the streets of Dublin. Despite some well known commentators saying there were less than 30(!) people there, I estimated about 2000 or so marchers, with the organizers claiming 5000. Hopefully this can be the start of a real campaign to get legislation passed on X and ABC before moving on to a more liberal abortion regime not wrapped up in false claims around mother's health. Congratulations are due to Sinead Redmond and the rest of the pro-choice activists. The ball is now firmly in Ivana Bacik's court once the expert report is released some time in the very near future.

Confucius never had it so right - it is a curse to live in interesting times.

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