SHAUN CONNOLLY: Poll permutations offer dismal prospects of Micheál Martin becoming Taoiseach

The Government can’t even stave off a nurses strike, Martin thinks he can be Taoiseach propped up by a rag bag of independents and Adams’ Disney economics all make for a dismal election outlook, writes Shaun Connolly.

What the hell is Ireland coming to if a vote-hungry, electioneering Government can’t even buy its way out of an inconvenient health strike?

Who do these uppity nurses think they are? Don’t they know they should just shut up about the appalling conditions in hospitals and swallow the belated promises of a better deal until the election is safely out of the way — then be abandoned again?

Health Minister Leo Varadkar attacks the nurses for putting patient safety at risk with the planned strike action, but has anyone put patients at risk more than this Government with its chaotic mismanagement of the health service?

Mr Varadkar sounded like a man ready to throw in the (bed bath) towel this week as the situation appeared to finally overwhelm him.

Leo Varadkar
Leo Varadkar

It is hardly surprising the health service staff do not believe his promises when the minister was unable to say how much the proposed deal was supposed to cost when it was offered (despite claiming to know exactly how much a strike would), and having done so little to avert the annual trolley crisis.

Indeed, the only lesson Mr Varadkar seems to have learned from last year’s crisis is not to get caught out in sun-kissed Miami this time when the number of people languishing on trolleys heads for 600 a day.

But don’t worry, here comes another failed health minister and would-be Taoiseach Micheál Martin to save the day — and the hospitals.

For you see, Mr Martin has come up with the extraordinary plan of taking power in a 158-seat Dáil with just the 35 or so FFers he is likely to get over the line next month.

Just how is he going to achieve this? You might as well ask Leo how he is going to sort out the HSE, because neither man seems to have any idea whatsoever.

Poll permutations offer dismal prospects of Micheál Martin becoming Taoiseach

Mr Martin appears to think he is going to go into government with his imaginary friends.

Now, we all know Enda Kenny has an annoying habit of making up random people he has supposedly bumped into, who just so happen to provide him with an analogy to support whatever ill-judged and desperately unpopular policy he is trying to hold together that particular week, but even Enda does not expect us to believe these people are actually real.

But poor old Micheál seems to think he can populate an entire Cabinet with such non-existent supporters.

How else can we explain his rather curious collation?

Mr Martin believes he can become Taoiseach with his rump of, maybe, 35 TDs, plus the, maybe, 10 Labourites, and, maybe, a huge rag bag of independents.

Brushing aside the inconvenient matter of Labour insisting they have no interest in propping-up FF (but then Labour also promised they would be the moral guardians of Tory austerity junkies Fine Gael and look how that turned out). That just means Mr Martin needs 30 to 40 indies to get him to a Dáil majority.

What a stable basis for government.

Especially as Mr Martin has woefully failed to install any kind of discipline on the meagre band of 20 colleagues he has at the moment, as they have openly defied him on everything from very modest X Case legislation to marriage equality.

Like Leo, Micheál gives off the hue of someone who is just going through the motions in their current role, as they know it is all going to end in disaster anyway and they just want to get out of it as quickly as possibly and get on with the rest of their lives.

How else can you explain the FF leader’s cack-handed attack on Mr Kenny for not visiting more flood-ravaged sites across the country?

When asked why he, supposed Taoiseach-in-waiting (memo to Micheál: It’s gonna be some wait, buddy) did not bother meeting victims outside Cork, he replied weakly: “They are not my constituencies.” And they never will be.

But what of the alliance of lefties and the anti-everything’s, the AAA-PBP?

Despite sucking up all the letters they can get their hands on, it would seem they will lack the two most important ones — T and D — in sufficient numbers after the election to make much of an impact.

Though unweildy, the lefty alliance still has a way to go to keep up with the ever expanding umbrella tag for the gay community which now stretches to LGBTQQI.

The last three added letters stand for queer, questioning, and intersex, and add to this the MSMs, which is the an acronym for men who have sex with men, and there are not that many letters left.

The MSMs are an intriguing cohort as they do not self-identify as gay or bi, despite, as the name suggests, having sex with other men.

Maybe in their heads that’s not gay at all, I mean, it’s not as if they are buying a sofa together in Ikea, or anything, is it?

Sounds like they might be in denial to me. Which brings us on to Labour’s curious little attack ad on an FF-Shinner hook-up after the next election which they deny leaking to the media to inflict damage without actually getting their hands dirty.

The rather crude image depicts Mr Martin tying the knot with the Sinn Féin leader as various independents look on joyously at the union.

Of course Gerry “Army Council? What Army Council?” Adams was never in the IRA (despite 89% of voters believing he is lying about that), so it would be unfair to describe the scene depicting the marriage between him and Mr Martin as a shotgun wedding.

Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams

They actually make quite a nice couple, despite Mr Martin failing to take his party with him down the aisle to marriage equality, and Adams doing very little for the cause at all.

Like Mr Martin, Mr Adams insists he will only go into government if he can be Taoiseach on his terms, though it is not clear if he means Taoiseach for life to match his seeming life presidency of Sinn Féin, a party where no TD is, apparently, allowed to ever voice a thought independent of the leader’s.

Mr Adams pledges to sort everything out with his wonderful version of Disney- economics in which the magic wealth tax will solve all.

But will that wealth tax magically not apply to ‘good republicans’ and convicted tax evaders like Thomas ‘Slab” Murphy?

And we have to choose between this lot in a matter of weeks?

Wouldn’t it be good if we could follow the nurses, refuse to believe their garbage anymore and have nothing to do with any of them?

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