Cowards turn away in times of crisis

Fianna Fáil hang Fine Gael linen out to dry

Comment and Opinion – By Jimmy Rhatigan

HAVE WE reached the stage where the Fine Gael family will leave their dirty linen outside  Micheál Martin’s Dáil office  on a Friday evening, expecting it to be back whiter than white on Monday morning?

Perhaps that would appear to be a cynical view but reading newspapers and perusing online the opinion of many Fianna Fáil supporters, grassroots members or however they class themselves, you don’t have to read between the lines.

The natives are restless.

Or at least some of them are

What we would term a rather legitimate moan by the FF fans is that their party and many stress the word ‘their’, has become subservient to their Fine Gael masters in government and the party is in danger of tumbling down the opinion polls as the Labour Party has  so done at the speed of knots.

FF are not exactly top of the pops at this time while FG are lording it as leaders of the popularity table, not by any means enjoying the support of a majority of our people but certainly getting many more thumbs up than other political parties.

If you are a devout FF voter it has to be particularly painful to listen to certain Dáil Deputies hedging their bets on whether the party will continue to support the now infamous if not toxic Confidence and Supply Agreement.

FF washerwoman is wrecked after washing FG socks, shirts and God only knows what

The latter prop in effect means that no matter what fence or wall that FG says it wants to climb, it feels entitled to a leg up from FF.

And the Soldiers of Destiny duly oblige.

That sticks in the craws of Fianna Fáilers who know that their party is damned if they do and possibly also damned if they don’t.

However we have noticed of late, and it didn’t take rocket science to spot that one, that there are rumblings among FF TDs too.

The latter are beginning to feel like second class citizens as they bow or curtsy to every whim of Leo Varadker’s beck and call.

To return to hedging bets, one wonders if some FF TDs would be happy to have some of the two-headed halfpennies (ha’pennies in lingo land) which, some characters have said over the years, sometimes appeared at local pitch ‘n’ toss schools.

The latter was not in Kilkenny of course as our local post Mass Sunday schools brought fun and games only and perhaps, for some, the price of a few pints later in the afternoon.

Anyway, some orators remind us of those perhaps mythical halfpennies.

Firstly, they probably never existed and even if they did they would certainly not guarantee winning the pot as there was always the possibility that a coin would stand upright on a soft surface.

Then the manure would hit the fan.

The latter is exactly what is happening in FF at present.

It is and it is not in government.

Let’s be blunt.

The FF Party is not in government. It continues to be a prop for FG, for a few more weeks at least, whether anyone likes it or not, as FG is the only show in town.

Some FF TDs will say that the every co-operative party has ensured stability in government and therefore in the running of our country.

What a noble deed.

But it is always good to remind that underneath any colourful cloak of nobility there is always the possibility of a hidden dagger.

The dagger in this case is that in providing ‘stability’ FF also pick up the public tab for the problems of homelessness, a very ill health service, lack of support for people against vulture funds and uncaring banks and many other aspects of government with which people are unhappy, even angry.

As we go to press, the probability is that FF will abstain from the Sinn Féin vote of no confidence in housing minister Eoghan Murphy.


Readers have two choices as to the reason. It is one of the following or both.

  • Because they are duty bound not to topple any FG applecart.
  • Because, at all costs, they want to muddy the waters, any waters for SF who are travelling just behind them at the speed of an express train with station deadlines.

So, for all intents and purposes FF is caught between a rock and hard place.

Some of its people appear to be quite happy to waddle along beside FG that is flying fit at present, at least in the opinion polls.

FF have a huge decision to make and on it could depend whether they are ready to show their fighting spirit or if they are happy to amble, take the flak and pocket the spoils.

Meanwhile our people, far too many of them are in a bind.

Homelessness is rife and getting worse. Sadly, hundreds of families, including young children,  are locked in hotels that are masquerading as family homes.

Hospitals are getting worse, if that is possible.

Overcrowding is crazy, with people in their nineties now being forced to lie for up to 24 hours on trolleys.

There has been some success with the report of the Cervical Cancer Scandal.

But, surprise, surprise, nobody has been fingered for creating the horrific mess.

The golden circle looks as if it has again circled the wagons, with no respect to the gentleman who carried out the study.

And, what is really disappointing, many of our high profile institutions, trade unions, Churches, even high oft caring charities, are staying mum as injustices continue.

Trade union leaders are wearily silent and pulpits simply ignore the suffering of congregations.

To finish on a positive note we applaud the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) and the farming community in general who are standing four square behind a Meath family that is battling to keep its land from the clutches of a bank.

We are not entitled to comment on any rights or perhaps wrongs of the case as we do not know the facts.

But we admire the IFA that we have always lauded as a fantastic member-support organization and commend too neighbours in Meath and the wider agricultural family who are so supportive.

Cowards tend to look away at times of crisis.

It is good to know that we still have people of courage in our country.

Perhaps those who are sitting on the fence would get off their fat arses and follow suit.

One never knows.

Hell may yet freeze over.