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Mary Lou McDonald and Gerry Adams

Mary Lou McDonald and Gerry Adams

Mary Lou McDonald and Gerry Adams

Before the age of polling, prophets and poets articulated the feelings of a voiceless citizenry. In today's Millward Brown/Sunday Independent poll there is more than a slight element of the old Israelite prophet's plea of 'how long Lord must I cry for help but you do not listen' surrounding the state of the citizenry. Like a latter-day version of the Israelites wandering in the desert, we too appear, in the view of the citizen, to live in a state where 'strife and conflict abound... the law is paralysed and justice never prevails'.

This corrosive condition applies not only to fiscal matters, but to issues as diverse as our impotent banking inquiry and the latest gruesome scenario thrown up by our still unreformed abortion regime. Here, Leo Varadkar has shown some courage. The response, typically, of Mr Kenny has been to rebuke him. If Mr Kenny wishes to dig his own political grave, that is his right. But, we, and the tens thousands of women whose lives have been impaired by traumatic abortions because of heart-rending issues such as foetal abnormality, deserve better from the rest of our political leaders than the Augustinian promise of political courage at some future date.

It is said actions have consequences, but often inactions have even greater consequences. The Sunday Independent has ­consistently warned the Coalition that a gathering existential crisis of faith was poised to rock the very foundations of the State. If the current spectacle, in which a hated government is reduced to seeing out its lease without any prospect of renewal, was the sole consequence of our crony coalition's moral inertia, this would be a small thing. Such, however, is the level of alienation today, we are moving towards the objective conditions required for the creation of a fascist state.

Hopefully a new politics driven by independent iconoclasts may avert such a scenario. The Independent tide has certainly shaken the strut of Mr Adams and Mary Lou. That is no bad thing, for while we are a state governed by Pharisees, Sinn Fein consists of false, Haughey-style prophets. Happily, helped by the British parliamentary tradition, this is a state where though the mill of democracy may grind slowly, it also grinds exceeding small. Our Independents, though, must also act now or be caught up with the skeletal debris of two civil war parties who increasingly appear to have existed past the point of social usefulness.

One would have to go back to the 1950s and de Valera's exhausted civil war grandees to find a political elite so incapable of responding to the needs of the citizens. Instead, a state that has lost the capacity for all progressive interaction with its citizens is their designated enemy. This development means we enter 2015 as a troubled country. The departure of the Troika has not sparked an age of recovery. Our public discourse is harsh to the point where, faith and optimism having been eroded, the very joists of governance have been jaundiced by an all-pervasive cynicism. A battle for Ireland's soul is being conducted between Independents and Sinn Fein. By contrast, our civil war parties, deadened by intellectual inertia and an abject absence of imagination, are evolving into mere spectators of the metamorphosis of a state. All should recognise that those who are too timorous to make history are generally swept away by it.

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