WHAT brass neck; or was it total amnesia that urged Micheal Martin and Mary Hanafin to aspire to lead Fianna Fail -- or any political party for that matter?
Have they forgotten so soon the active part they played in bringing the economy of this country to its knees?
Both of them were ministers in two of the highest-spending departments -- Mr Martin in Health and Ms Hanafin in Education.
And during their tenure the costs of both departments reached astronomical levels, with the escalation in the number of personnel and with no appreciable raising of standards in either health or education.
It is true -- as unfortunately the whole world knows -- that the banks played their own part in the downfall of our economy. But the chief architect was the Bertie Ahern-led government.
During his time as head of the most spendthrift administration in the history of the State, the gap between what the economy could really afford to spend and the cost of providing extravagant state services was the main factor which led to the destruction our economy.
But no departments could rival Health and Education -- with Mr Martin and Ms Hanafin in charge of them -- in unrestrained spending.
The result today is that there are too many nurses and aides but not enough in the wards. Too many teachers and aides, but not enough in the classrooms.
The honest members of Fianna Fail and their families (as well as everybody else) will be paying for this profligacy for many, many years.
They deserve better.
Niall Ó Murchadha
An Spidéal, Gaillimh