Saturday 20 January 2018

Brian Hayes: Fianna Fail's fresh respect for Seanad is all about rebuilding a discredited party

IN 1987, the Progressive Democrats promised that they would "terminate" the Seanad. Just one year later, Michael McDowell proclaimed that the PDs could either be "radical or redundant". Prophetic words indeed.

In government, the PDs proved to be anything but radical. The Seanad was left untouched and the party, under the leadership first of Mary Harney and then Mr McDowell, provided full and active support to the disastrous policies of Bertie Ahern. The verdict of the electorate in 2007 was unsurprising – the PDs and Mr McDowell were indeed made redundant, just as he had foretold.

Despite his central role in the destruction of our economy and his championing of the policies of light touch regulation, Mr McDowell has now decided to emerge from his enforced exile to take his place in the full glare of the media spotlight. His strategy is clear: to present himself – a former Tanaiste, Attorney General and leader of the PDs – as some kind of political outsider.

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