Wednesday 7 December 2016

Who needs Trump? Response to unions' pay demands shows populism is thriving in the Daíl

Published 17/11/2016 | 02:30

'But will this worry Enda Kenny, whose focus is about hanging onto power rather than the next general election? The path of least resistance may prove too attractive in this regard.' Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
'But will this worry Enda Kenny, whose focus is about hanging onto power rather than the next general election? The path of least resistance may prove too attractive in this regard.' Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The comparisons with Britain's infamous 1978 Winter of Discontent suddenly don't seem so far fetched.

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Four decades ago, the UK unions set out to bring down a sympathetic government, ultimately succeeding in that aim. It would be going too far to say the unions here are trying to do the same thing. But the challenge to the authority of an already weak Coalition Government is breath-taking.

Jack O'Connor's ultimatum to the Government to confirm the convening of new talks by today, or else Siptu's national executive would authorise any group covered by the Lansdowne Road Agreement to ballot for industrial action, was straight out of a 1970s union play book - my way or the strike way.

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