Tuesday 12 December 2017

Kenny's bleating apology cannot hide political culture of dictatorial cronyism

If Enda can do wonders for McNulty, who knows what Shatter's loyalty can achieve as he seeks return to office

Dodging the question: Former Justice Minister Alan Shatter on Friday night’s ‘Late Late Show’
Dodging the question: Former Justice Minister Alan Shatter on Friday night’s ‘Late Late Show’

Michael McDowell

'Disgusted" - the term used last week to describe the behaviour of certain members of the Government. It was a Fine Gael TD that used it. John Deasy said that many people were "disgusted" by the way in which the Fine Gael party's affairs were being conducted. He pointed the finger of accusation directly at Enda Kenny. And the accusation was one of high-handed, dictatorial cronyism in which a culture of fear and the rewarding of abject, uncritical loyalty are the order of the day.

"Disgusting" - the term that the former Commissioner chose to describe the actions of the garda whistle-blowers who refused to be silenced in a wholesale campaign of cover-up by the force of its malpractices. This was the term that Alan Shatter notoriously refused to distance himself from. This was the term that Minister Leo Varadkar publicly rejected - preferring "distinguished" to "disgusting" - and thereby pulling the thread which led to the complete unravelling of the positions adopted by Shatter and Callinan.

Varadkar's simple act of decency towards the whistle-blowers seems to have rankled with Shatter. Last week Shatter wrote a long invective piece in the Irish Independent aimed directly at Varadkar and his recent good press (without naming Leo, of course). Shatter was apparently incensed by Varadkar's straight talking about the budgetary crisis in the health service for which he was publicly rebuked by Enda Kenny. So Shatter now joins obsequiously in Enda's rebuke to Leo.

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