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IN his interview with Seán O’Rourke on RTÉ’s News at One (Februray 18), Willie O’Dea attempted to clutch at all the usual straws when a politician is caught doing wrong in this country.
From literally declaring himself a victim to attacking anyone who dared question him, O’Dea was a virtual one- man opera. My favourite standard Irish political guff was his declaration that “this has been hard on me and my family”. There is surely nothing more disgusting than the “hit me with my baby in my arms” defence so beloved of Fianna Fáil politicians.
Bertie Ahern perfected the art of dragging your own family into politics and then crying your eyes out about the fact that your children have been dragged into politics.
The modus operandi of politicians like O’Dea is to attempt cynically to compare themselves to the ordinary, decent people of Ireland. Too often this defence works for cynical politicians. Who can forget Bertie’s tears when explaining that he didn’t have bank accounts because he was saving for his children’s education?
O’Dea’s resignation will be exploited by Fianna Fáil as an act of martyrdom. The electorate will be made feel guilty for the “blackguarding” and hounding from office the hardest working TD in the Dáil.
The reality of politics in this country is that too often we are taken for fools. In Irish politics it is possible to fool most of the people a huge proportion of the time.
It is time we voters demanded a higher standard of behaviour from the people we send to the Dáil.
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