Tuesday 20 February 2018

Shane Coleman: FG backbench clamour will add to Kenny problems over Budget cuts

THE mini-rebellion by backbench Fine Gael deputies over the Croke Park deal brings to mind the old adage that those who ignore history are condemned to repeat its mistakes.

If Enda Kenny wants his government to run its full term and ultimately be remembered as a successful Taoiseach, he would be wise to try and avoid the errors made by two ill-fated governments three decades ago.

The administrations were led by Jack Lynch and Garret FitzGerald respectively. Kenny's coalition actually has a fair bit in common with both. Lynch's Fianna Fail government won a thumping 20-seat majority in 1977. On the night of the election count, Lynch surprised many by musing aloud as to whether the majority was too big. His initial unease that maintaining party discipline would be impossible proved uncannily prescient. By December, 1979, after months of open backbench agitation against him, Lynch was effectively forced out.

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