Political choreography at heart of empty Dail
Fine Gael and Labour pretend to fight for their core supporters, but they can't wait to get into coalition, says Eamon Delaney
After the drama of the Fine Gael leadership contest, we were returned last week to what passes for our national political debate. A full week after the devastating revelation that the €22bn sunk by the State into Anglo Irish Bank had gone down the swanny, Labour leader Eamon Gilmore got to his feet in the Dail and asked what the rest of us already knew.
"Is the chief executive of Anglo Irish Bank right or wrong?" he asked the Taoiseach. "Is it the case that the lion's share of the money will, as he put it, be never seen again? Is the money gone?''
Yes, Eamon, the money is gone and you know this. It was loudly announced and analysed all of last week and especially in this newspaper last Sunday. So why have you waited a whole week to come out like this? Presumably you didn't want to intrude upon the leadership contest in Fine Gael, your future coalition partners, and so, on the day of the €22bn bombshell, you agreed to stay off the plinth and the national rostrum -- which must have been a difficult thing to do -- so as to give the Blueshirts their day, the same day, incidentally, when Finance Minister Brian Lenihan was inside an almost empty chamber proposing an extension to the equally controversial bank guarantee.