Tuesday, June 30, 2020

New Taoiseach, Michael Martin

The View from the Blue as featured in this week’s edition.

I CONSIDER myself to be a fairly level headed person when it comes to politics. On a scale of Simon Coveney to Gemma O’Doherty I’m probably somewhere in the middle there. I get frustrated by people who bitch about politicians almost as much as I do about politicians themselves. Ireland is in a very difficult place right now and the last election showed us that people are fed up with the behaviour of the politicians who have been running this country for the last 50 or so years – and I don’t blame them. At the heart of our political system are people that only actually care about themselves. Let me give you an example.

Micheál Martin is in line to be our next Taoiseach, but the man has absolutely no credibility and no morals. I’ll explain why in a second, but the people of Ireland and especially the members within Fianna Fáil have to think about how such a person could have been allowed to infiltrate such a position of power.

Back in 2002, when he was Minister for Health, he promised Radiotherapy to the people of Waterford and then reneged on that promise. A lot of people didn’t forget that betrayal. I met him in Carrigaline, Cork about 15 years ago and in that conversation, which happened in front of a Man Utd match on the TV (he’s a fan, and that will no doubt cost him a few more supporters), he told me that he was pro-life. He may even have used the word ‘staunchly’.

Jump forward to 2018 and Deputy Martin changes his mind having “considered the views of women and experts.” This is not a question of abortion, but one of integrity. If Martin had’ve stuck by his principles, I wouldn’t have agreed with them, but I would have respected his right to them. When you dump your principles in the bin because you don’t want to be on the losing side of a referendum, then you’re morally reprehensible. 

Before the last election, Martin went around telling every microphone he could that he wouldn’t be going into any “Grand Coalition”. He said that people wanted Fine Gael out of Government and that whichever way the cards fell, he wouldn’t be facilitating another term in office for Leo and co. What we have learned, consistently over the past 20 years, is that we can’t believe a word that comes out of Micheal Martin’s mouth, and there’s every chance that he’s about to be Taoiseach.

You see, this is why I find it hard to criticise the #notmytaoiseach brigade and this is why I find myself caught between a rock and a hard place.

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are the rock (they shouldn’t read too much into that term) and, in this conversation, Sinn Fein are the hard place. I have no political allegiances and I never have but when I think about the prospect of another general election I can’t help but think that it has to happen, and when it does, we’ll see Sinn Fein with a lot more candidates and just like Donald Trump’s analysis of Covid-19 testing – a lot more votes. Based on the last election and every possible poll that’s been done, if the public are asked the question again, Sinn Fein will find themselves in the most powerful position that they’ve ever been in. My fear is that they’ll be like a dog chasing a car – they won’t know what to do with it once they have it.

You see, Sinn Fein have grown into the size they are by gorging on the unpopularity of other parties. They’d dispute that but really, they’ve been a constant thorn in the side of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael for years, and it stands to reason that more and more people would look to them when their eyes could no longer stand the “mainstream parties”.

There are people who say that behind the scenes, Sinn Fein don’t actually want to be in power, especially now, post Covid-19. I think that may have been the case five or six years ago, but with Mary Lou behind the wheel, I think she knows how weak Varadkar and Martin are and I think she strongly feels – whether she’s right or wrong – that Sinn Fein can run this country. 

From what I have seen of Sinn Fein in power – in local politics – I have no confidence in that whatsoever, but I’m open to the possibility that I could be wrong and even more open to the idea of Sinn Fein finally getting to the top table so the whole country can see what they’re really made of. A bit like the taking a screaming soccer fan from the terrace and seeing how he can do it better.

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Contact Journalist: darrens

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