Thursday 22 August 2019

Kevin Doyle: Politicians are performing a national sabotage

Is the country heading for a general election in the next few weeks? Photo: Arthur Carron
Is the country heading for a general election in the next few weeks? Photo: Arthur Carron
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

The country is under attack from within.

In Leinster House last night politicians of all hues were speaking in loud terms about the availability of cable ties and whether they could add a festive touch to the posters.

It was dark humour that gave way to a growing realisation that we are headed for an election. A real 'Black Friday' in the days before Christmas.

Having survive disputes over water charges, homelessness, rent pressure zones, hospital trolleys and even the time Enda Kenny invented a conversation with Katherine Zappone, the confidence and supply arrangement between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil looks set to fall because of an email from May 2015.

There's little point in trying to explain the full context because if you haven't been following this story it's too late to catch up. In shorthand, Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe was treated horrendously by the State and Fianna Fáil want Frances Fitzgerald to pay the price.

Our youngest ever Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, believes his 'political mammy' has done nothing wrong. The legal advice was that she couldn't act on any information in the email so it's legitimate that she forgot about it.

But there are far bigger issues at play. It might be dubbed the 'Do Nothing Dáil' but that's better than no Dáil at all.

If our TDs and wannabe TDs are forced to compete with carol singers for the attention of Christmas shoppers it raises a whole list of problems.

Top of the casualties will by the most significant meeting to be attended by a Taoiseach in modern Irish history.

On December 14 the EU Council meets to decide whether to allow the Brexit talks move into the second phase. For that to happen Ireland has to agree on whatever proposals the UK government put forward the border region.

In terms of Brexit, this is our moment. Our one chance to get what we want: a frictionless border. But the Brits appear clueless and very unhappy with the hardball being played by Dublin.

When the Murdoch press told Leo Varadkar to "shut his gob", supporters of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin all let an internal cheer that said 'Go Leo, you're getting to them'.

But if an election is called we'll be sending a caretaker Taoiseach at the head of a zombie government to that meeting.

Then there is the Committee on the Eighth Amendment. The Government has set a timeline of May or June for abortion referendum.

However, if the Dáil is dissolved that committee falls and with it any chance of that referendum being in the first half of 2018.

Meanwhile the tax cuts and social welfare hikes that Fianna Fáil back in the Budget have yet to pass through the Oireachtas so if you were relying on them to help pay the credit card bill in January you might want to hold back.

So for all the suggestions that Leinster House is irrelevant, the reality is that politics does matter.

There are just days to prevent a national sabotage.

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section