Willie O’Dea, the venerable Fianna Fáil TD from Limerick, yesterday became the latest of that party’s senior figures
Mr O’Dea is “bitterly disappointed for the people of Limerick... ” This sabre-rattling may go down well in Dooradoyle or anywhere else in Ireland where government is seen as no more than an ATM fuelling local patronage. That localism has not served us well, it is a legacy from a different, single-party government era.
It is impossible for that one-for-everyone-in-the-audience culture to continue in a multi-party coalition. The audience is too big and diverse. It is disappointing that, after almost 40 years in that Dáil, Mr O’Dea does not appreciate this — or indeed recognise the geographical-qualification criteria as outdated.
It suggests too that they do not have confidence in their colleagues’ objectivity, including the two junior ministers representing Limerick county.
This Government faces huge challenges. It is very hard to imagine that largesse will be everyday or even that every plausible, admirable idea will be funded. Government can, of course, try to ensure that the change initiated last week continues in a positive way by the scrupulous allocation of available resources on a merit-and-need basis.
That would not only be fair but it would silence the parish pump chorus that refuses to recognise — much less embrace — change.