Thursday 23 November 2017

This state is being held to a deal that is unsustainable

Sinn Fein are directing their energies towards emasculating, then emulating Fianna Fail, writes Frank Callanan

PART of the fallout of the current crisis is a marked hostility to Irish party politics on the part of the liberal-economic right and the journalistic left. Ideologically divergent but united on the commendable principle of 'never again', they fleetingly attempted a conjuncture in the run-up to the general election under a 'civil society' aegis.

Their emergence remains a significant and potentially creative development. It is not without anomalies of its own: only in Ireland is the idea of 'civil society' in the manner that it has come into currency so coloured by a disdain for party politics. That is an aversion its proponents will have to conquer.

It is likewise a challenge for Irish political parties to accommodate the desire for a more publicly accessible and intellectually open practice of politics in the State. That challenge presents itself particularly for Fine Gael, whose leader was the first -- I think rightly -- to advocate the abolition of the Senate, the notional constitutional embodiment of a civil society concept. Making alternative provision for an enhanced civil society input is not straightforward, as acres of earnest, but not terribly instructive, newsprint commentary over the last two-and-a-half years attest.

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