Talk of FF-FG coalition ‘misguided’

Bill O’Herlihy and Mary O’Rourke were born about 15 years after the slaying of Michael Collins and the ravages of the brutal Civil War, both of which must inevitably influence their perception of the political landscape, ambition and sense of idealism.

But their advocacy that a coalition between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael would lead to unprecedented reform and unimpeded progress because the tussle for power between these parties had been removed is misguided, naïve and ignores the profound lessons of recent history.

Their scenario would breed political complacency, ignore the need for the country to be internationally competitive and expose us to the devastating consequences of weak and fragmented opposition, as well as weak government, deprived of discipline and rigour.

Nothing would be challenged except the incumbency of the leadership in each party by ambitious careerists. Risk would be ignored and ideals based on the highest common factor would quickly be eclipsed by those represented by the lowest expedient common denominator. Standards of accountability would be disregarded and the potential for parish-pump priming and personal aggrandisement would become rife and counterproductive.

The most important lesson of recent history is that our downfall to chronic dependency on the goodwill of strangers has been a derivative of a culture of political complacency whereby there was no effective challenge, no timely expert insights, no alternative options or detailed analysis of the practices, regulation and policies which ruined our country over the preceding decade. History can potentially inspire political reform and progress. But the historical references that are now most relevant concern the rehabilitation of the country from the excesses of the Celtic Tiger, not the war of almost a century ago and the associated sentiment from which the current generation of voters seem quite emotionally and intellectually detached.

Myles Duffy

Glenageary

Co Dublin

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