Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Ma! I’m in a Big Stew!
Ma! What’ll I Do?

Art by 'Plif'. Concept FFML. Download free for personal use. Commercial & Syndication rights reserved.


Only months after re-gaining power the floundering FF Coalition Government has found the Party of “Reality” losing 9% of its support since the General Election last May. The poll results were published by the “Irish Times” last week. The shocking reversal is supposedly due to the shambolic performance of Blank-Cheque Bertie and his ministers in the few short months since the May election. The incompetent mishandling of the Aer-Lingus Shannon Airport withdrawal and the resultant furore in the western counties, with ministers publicly contradicting each other and some running with the hare and hunting with the hounds along with several FF Td’s in a desperate attempt to retain support; Blank-Cheque’s fumbling, bumbling appearance at the Mahon tribunal and the latest Noel “Disaster” Dempsey’s clumsy attempt to rationalise the chaotic learner driver permit system; the arrogant announcement of large pay rises for Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State, with special legislation to provide additional pension payments for one individual, have all accumulated to create an impression with the public that the Government is out of touch with reality and only interested in feathering its own nest.

Blank-Cheque Bertie, the “Teflon” Taoiseach, had to sweat it out at the Mahon Tribunal in Dublin Castle where he lost further credibility in his attempted explanations of his bizarre financial arrangements in the late 1990’s when he first became leader of Fianna Fáil after the resignation of Albert Reynolds as Taoiseach.

“Teflon” didn’t seem to do much good as the Blank-Cheque Supremo was given the standard roasting by the Four Courts Brigade forensic vivisection squad on their juiciest target yet at the marathon tribunal investigation into planning corruption in Dublin County. Bertie has changed his story yet again about the now infamous “Manchester Dig-out” where he has admitted receiving substantial cash gifts from a prominent businessman following a supporters’ dinner in the city where he went to attend a football match. According to Bertie, the donations were unsolicited and were purely as a result of sympathy for him due to his personal circumstances following separation from his wife.

When the Dáil resumed last month, newly elected Labour Party leader, Éamonn Gilmore upped the political ante by submitting a motion of no confidence in the Taoiseach for the first session of the new Dáil Éireann since the general election in May. The predictable phalanx of Fianna Failure Ministers and TD’s emerged to surround Bertie, but, were joined by former Green Party leader, Trevor Sargent, who also made an astonishingly hypocritical statement attacking the Labour Party for not raising the issue during the general election campaign. Clever Trevor is now Minister of State in the Agriculture Department, having signed himself and his party into government with the same man he is now accusing the Labour Party of not being hard enough in criticising. It didn’t take long, did it, for the once oppositional Greens to turn into brass-faced hypocrites of the style we have come to expect from the FF camp. All boys together, The Greens trooped into the lobbies with the Phalanx to save Bertie’s skin.

At the Tribunal itself, Blank-Cheque Bertie’s lawyers have been trying their best to discredit the evidence of Tom Gilmartin whose allegation that Cork businessman Owen O’Callaghan (who denies the allegations) told him that Bertie had received inappropriate cash payments in the late 90’s started the inquiries into Bertie’s personal finances, but, last month’s testimony by well-known broadcaster Eamonn Dunphy that O’Callaghan had made a similar statement to him, Dunphy, intimating that Bertie had been “bought off” or “taken care of” has severely undermined their efforts to get Bertie off the hook. Blank-Cheque Bertie’s own rambling, muddled, amnesiac testimony has only served to undermine his credibility further. His tardiness in providing documentation requested by the tribunal could do nothing but evoke suspicion that he had something to hide despite repeated denials.

Whether or not Bertie did wrong by statute remains to be proven but, the attitude of his ministers and supporters in rallying around him regardless of wrongdoing shows a shocking level of amoral political practice which would shame the worst banana republics of Latin America. Further woes are expected form Blank Cheque’s next appearance at the tribunal later this month. It could be a Winter of Much Discontent!

FearFeasa Mac Léinn
Áth Cliath/Dublin, 07 SAMHAIN /NOVEMBER 2007.

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