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Liberal hatred of Fianna Fail is just pure snobbery

Eilis O'Hanlon


Barry Cowen's real crime in the eyes of many of his media critics is not drink-driving on a provisional licence, but being a member of Fianna Fail, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

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RIDICULED: FF's Brian Cowen, later Taoiseach, with then Taoiseach Albert Reynolds at the Galway races. Photo: Frank Mc Grath

RIDICULED: FF's Brian Cowen, later Taoiseach, with then Taoiseach Albert Reynolds at the Galway races. Photo: Frank Mc Grath

RIDICULED: FF's Brian Cowen, later Taoiseach, with then Taoiseach Albert Reynolds at the Galway races. Photo: Frank Mc Grath

Brendan Behan once quipped that the gardai in Dublin were "all lured down from the Kerry mountains with lumps of raw meat". Many opinion-formers in the Irish media appear to have a similarly unflattering view of Fianna Fail.

It's been 10 years since any member of the party held ministerial office, but it's as if normal service has been resumed in the past couple of weeks. The barbarians are back inside the gates again, and the only thing for decent people to do is swoon in refined horror.

When FF dominated Irish politics, it was possible to see this revulsion as a natural reaction against the party's strength. Now that FF is weaker than it's ever been, the visceral nature of reactions to FF becomes impossible to deny. FF has always been discussed by a certain class of would-be intellectuals as if they are, quite simply, not One Of Us. Instead they represent a species of Otherness which needs to be studied the way anthropologists study primitive tribes in the Amazon jungle. We can learn their ways to better understand them, but they'll never be people you'd invite to dinner.