A legitimate cause for concern for both Enda Kenny and Fine Gael

Fine Gael’s failure to understand why scenes of Enda Kenny being glad handled in Denis O’Brien’s company are a legitimate cause of concern is understandable, at least in the context of the hypocrisy of that party’s attitude to the findings made against one of their own when compared to what its reaction would have been if Mr O’Brien had close links with Fianna Fáil and was pictured with Brian Cowen.

Most of Mr O’Brien’s businesses seem to operate in countries where the rule of law and regulation is at best applied with the lightest of touch. I wonder if he would have been as successful in Norway as he is in some place like Haiti.

But it’s not just the meeting at the NYE Stock Exchange, it’s also the pally chat Mr O’Brien and Mr Kenny would have had at the breakfast beforehand and the lunch afterwards and in the corridor. It’s also the fact that because Fine Gael refuses to publish proper audited accounts we don’t know how much money Dennis O’Brien has paid to that party or its elected representatives, or what policy he was able to shape in return since at least 2002.

Interesting too is the failure of anyone in Fine Gael to provide an example after Moriarty or Mahon and tell the people of North Tipperary, and elsewhere, that if they choose to elect people who fail to meet the highest standards expected of members of our Parliament, as is their democratic right, they must also be prepared to accept the consequences.

One of which is that such a representative will not have free access to members of the government.

Fine Gael claims to be the party of reform but its first year in government has been a dismal failure in terms of reform.

So far it has matched the cronyism of the last government step by step. It could have decided no member of the Government would get a pay rise upon taking office for at least the first term in office, but it didn’t.

It could have had a transparent application process for advisers, but it didn’t, and instead appointed party cronies. It could have immediately repealed FOI restrictions but it didn’t. It could have ended the gravy train of expenses, but it didn’t.

But even worse are the bully boy tactics used by the likes of Charles Flanagan and Phil Hogan and the intellectual snobbery of Alan Shatter

Desmond FitzGerald

Canary Wharf

London

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