Wednesday 7 December 2016

Fianna Fail's Don Quixote is merely tilting at windmills

Bruce Arnold

Published 16/04/2011 | 05:00

To all appearances, Micheal Martin, in the announcement of the new Fianna Fail frontbench, has learnt nothing and forgotten nothing. Even with the restrictions under which he operated, he had the chance to start a recovery programme for the party that he helped bring to its knees, but seems to have grasped on a programme of action not unlike that of the Knight of the Rueful Countenance, Don Quixote himself, when he set out to battle windmills.

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Martin is protected by the neophyte character of much of his team and it will be interesting to see how they respond to the challenge. But the real problem he faced was that of dealing with what looks like a relentless act of collective self-immolation by a once-great political organisation.

How do we summarise this? The best way is by looking back at the chronology of events and identifying those that were errors of an egregious nature requiring apology or change of heart. How did power drain from Fianna Fail? Is there a road back? Should one start with any apology? Should one make provision for the offer of a new deal?

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