From Cairo to Cork: Military coup is real possibility, says Ned

FIRST it was Tahrir Square in Egypt, but next time you see the army it could be in Market Square in Mitchelstown.

Retiring, but certainly not shy, outgoing Fianna Fáil TD for Cork East Ned O’Keeffe can smell a spring of discontent and feels things are so bad here now that an army coup could be a “real possibility”.

Mr O’Keeffe made the somewhat astonishing prediction speaking to the Evening Echo newspaper. And he has form in the predictions business. Apparently he warned about Ireland’s financial meltdown, so keep your ears peeled for the sound of army boots hitting tarmac.

An outspoken critic of Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, Mr O’Keeffe said we could be staring down the barrel of a military intervention in Ireland. Literally.

“Our political system is going to fail further. The two Brians have made a right mess of the country and I see the real possibility of an army coup. People thought I was mad with all the things I have predicted through the years, but I foresaw the economy collapsing due to lax regulation on building housing estates and unwanted shopping centres,” he said.

However, the leader of the Soldiers of Destiny has ruled out the threat of a military coup by the country’s standing army. Micheál Martin dismissed suggestions by his party colleague, Ned O’Keeffe, that the policies of the Taoiseach and the minister for finance were so bad they created a climate where Ireland would experience Egyptian-style instability.

Asked if it was possible that Brian Cowen and Brian Lenihan’s actions were enough to trigger an armed revolt he said: “Absolutely not.”

Mr Martin said that he did not have an insight into what was happening at the army camp in Mr O’Keeffe’s constituency but the Irish army would not be seizing power.

“I do not know what is happening in Kilworth but I don’t see any challenges there. We’ve a great democracy in this country and I think this campaign bears that out,” he said.

According to Mr O’Keeffe, heroes of Ireland’s past would be turning in their graves if they saw how far Ireland had sunk. Principally among them, the late great Charlie Haughey.

“So what if Charlie liked nice women and a few extra nice shirts? He was the best leader we ever had,” he said.

The good old days indeed.

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