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FINE Gael rode a tidal wave of righteous indignation over the Taoiseach’s Morning Ireland interview and the hectic late night session at the Fianna Fáil “think-in” that preceded it.
The party declared itself appalled, disbelieving – shocked to the core that our leader could deliver such a below-par and downright insulting performance.
Now we learn that an intoxicated Fine Gael TD threatened to damage a garda’s career after she had, quite rightly and most commendably, prevented him from driving his car away from Leinster House.
Should it not be a matter of grave public concern, especially given the many alcohol-related road tragedies, that a public representative would see fit to even contemplate driving in an obviously inebriated condition? Is it not also disturbing that, despite all the solemnly declared commitments to cleaning up politics that we have heard from all parties, with Fine Gael often leading the way on such pledges, that a veteran Dáil deputy should unfairly threaten the career of an officer of An Gárda Siochána for undertaking her lawful duty?
I wonder where all the Tweeters are now – Deputy Coveney included – who moved in so expertly for the kill when our much-maligned Taoiseach gave a bad interview after a hard night.
This incident demonstrates that the ‘cute hoor’ ethos is very much alive in Fine Gael, as much as it was in Fianna Fáil before the Greens began to apply the linctus of accountability.
In the case of Fianna Fáil there were loud protestations, behind the scenes gritting of teeth, bouts of sulking and mean looks... but eventually a marked improvement was noticeable in the ethical behaviour patterns and political method of the main government party.
Unfortunately, Fine Gael is still badly infected with the nod-and-wink virus. It will have an opportunity to redeem itself to a limited degree when the bill to ban corporate donations is moved in the Dáil.
But if it aligns itself with the backwoods element in Fianna Fáil that surfaces now and again (like on the occasion of the stag-hunting debate) by opposing or attempting to frustrate the passing of this long overdue bill, the party will expose itself yet again as being wedded to the very style of politics it has routinely and ferociously denounced for the past decade.
Lr Coyne Street
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