Ballot Box more powerful than war weapon

Paschal Donohoe: A chip off the old block

Comment and Opinion – By Jimmy Rhatigan

WITH NO pun intended, we respectfully suggest that Fianna Fáil should piddle or get off the pot.

We have no can to carry for those who fancy themselves as The Soldiers of Destiny.

But for whatever reason, the self-styled Republican Party that is described as a centre-right liberal, conservative political party seems to be quite happy, or at least some public representatives do, to be messenger boys to their fellow right wing sympathisers Fine Gael.

A three-year Confidence and Supply Agreement which comes to an end shortly means in effect that if FG say ‘jump lads and lassies’, FF respond ‘how high?’

Of course we are fed all sorts of ‘credible’ stories to suggest that FG is indeed grateful to FF for its efforts for stability in our country.

John McGuinness: A born leader

Stability?

Homelessness, evictions, a critically ill health system and lack of services for children with special needs?

We could include a much longer list but repetition can too easily lead to boredom and we have on many occasions mentioned the ailments that are crucifying our people.

The reality is that while FG and Taoiseach Leo in particular are quick to throw bouquets at FF, they would slice the same FF into little bits and bin them if it suited.

FF and FG have been deadly enemies since Adam and Eve were playing Hopscotch.

Nothing has changed in the meantime.

Our belief is that as FG has for three years used FF as a cushion, not with unanimous support from FF TDs and not from its grassroots, that FG know full well that at this time FF are as vulnerable as a newly born baby.

Leo Varadlar: No Santa

So while extending the hand of friendship for another possible three-years of courtship, FG is at the same time aiming its hobnail boots at the arses of the aforementioned Soldiers of Destiny who are now more akin to a Dad’s Army as they dither and dawdle.

But there are those who want to march in a new direction and it remains to be seen how much influence they hold.

Okay, so FF and their friends brought the country crashing down around our ears and many may never forget that.

It is easy to say let bygones be bygones but at the same time it is not a good idea to cut off our noses to spite our faces.

In other words, if we continue to show disrespect for FF and it is hard to be too critical of those who do, then a quite clever FG will continue to take full advantage.

FG is continuing its right wing policies by mollycoddling the rich and to Hell or to Connacht with the poor, or indeed to so-called middle Ireland.

The blind eye or surreal arrogance of Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Finance as he shows near contempt to those who are threatened with eviction by banks and vultures beggars belief.

Paschal is a chip off the old block as he continues the archaic and oft archaic ways of predecessor Michael Noonan.

The FG policy of protecting lenders and their buddies, giving the two fingers to our thousands of beleaguered people who now find themselves teetering between a troubled mortgage and a tent is hard to fathom.

The boss at our Central Bank similarly appears to have no sympathy for those with stressed mortgages and as a result for parents and children facing uncertain futures.

He has spoken about protecting financial Ireland, including the bankers of course, but we have not heard him reminding that the same banks he is speaking about are those that were propped up when the government of the day rooted deeply into the pockets of our people who saved those cash-strapped financial institutions.

FF can win back some respectability by siding with our people in their battle to keep roofs over their heads.

Sínn Féin, fast becoming a very strong force in Irish political life, has already signaled its support for our people, as have other groups and some independents, along with the Labour Party and the Greens.

A light of hope for FF is that in their camp they have one of the most able political leaders of our time.

Like Fianna Fáil or loathe them, have confidence in John McGuinness or dismiss him, it is nigh impossible not to have admiration for his courage, commitment, fighting qualities,  loyalty and open lines of communications to people in our local community and indeed further afield.

And while he is a staunch member of the FF team, he is not afraid to ruffle the feathers of the team captain or indeed of any of his colleagues who may need a reminder that it is the people of our country who pay the wages of our public representatives.

You can call John what you like but a ‘Yes Man’ is out the window. Perhaps that is what underlines his credibility and sincerity.

Too many others are simply distributors of waffle and we are not talking about the dish that is made from batter or dough and can be enjoyed with a sprinkling of Bachelor Beans.

God knows our cupboard of hope is certainly very bare when it comes to men and women of true leadership qualities.

Like Old Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, the sideboard that at times would have featured names like Lemass and Cosgrave is now empty.

With respect, Micheál Martin is a candidate for retirement. Brendan Howlin is possibly in the same boat.

Leo Varadkar has a lot to prove but indications are that he could smother himself in his own image and spin.

Mary Lou McDonald just earned her stripes and it remains to be seen if she can lead those who are sometimes disrespectfully termed Shinners, to the Promised Land.

We have already warned in this column that people are angry, very angry. And, sadly, the feeling is that this anger could spill over and be quite dangerous.

Spin, glossy covers, master plan after master plan, most of which inevitably end in a ball of smoke won’t keep them at the top of the political pile.

When Santa promises a child a particular toy for Christmas, he usually delivers.

Leo Varadkar is no Santa.

He is mannerly and uses words cleverly but he has yet to show real substance.

The reality is that he has not set the world on fire in other posts where he worked before being elected Taoiseach.

He certainly didn’t make his mark as Minister for Health where many had hoped that as a medical man he might have made an impact.

Leopards don’t change their spots.

FG is a party that is made up mostly of wealthy and well off people.

That we must respect.

There is nothing wrong with having lots of money raised through hard work and clever entrepreneurship.

But the sting in the tail comes when you distribute the cotton wool to people of your own ilk while at the same time refusing bandages to ‘lesser folk’ who may be bleeding from pressure applied by ruthless banks or vultures, may be badly scarred by the pangs of homeless or from special needs children crying out in pain.

We do not decry people who want to better themselves in life. But we do give the thumbs down to those who feather their own nests while failing to help keep the home fires burning for those who love their home, sweet home but may not at a particular time have the wherewithal to ensure that it remains a family’s castle.

With Local and General Elections looming, it behoves our people to ask the pertinent questions:

Where do you stand on evictions, homelessness, shattered health services et al?

Depending on what you hear, you will then have the weapon to push those who don’t care about you or yours to one side and vote for someone you can trust and rely on, regardless of his or her political persuasion.

The ballot box is more powerful than any weapon of war.

For God’s sake use it wisely.