Same FF leopard
Micheal Martin's Ard Fheis speech alluded correctly to the centralisation of power, specifically citing the concentration of power in the executive both at national and local level.
Indeed, city and county managers have, in recent years particularly, become de facto rulers making critical decisions that impact on everyone's day-to-day lives with little scrutiny.
And while Mr Martin bemoans this situation, it was his party which oversaw the diminution of democracy by this centralising process and, further, most of this was done so that the fundamental guidelines that informed how we did things could be quickly changed to accommodate a rampant "privatisation" agenda.
A good example is the Dublin bin collection service that Mr Martin refers to in his speech. In 2002, this service was privatised here in Sligo and the manner of how that was done is again mirrored in the actions of the Dublin city manager.
People were handed over to a private company without the slightest bit of consultation. One had no choice but to take whatever service was being offered and, indeed, in 2006, when things were still not running smoothly, a by-law was enacted that made it an offence not to give your refuse to any collector who happened to be passing by your house, regardless of the terms that operator was offering.
All of this was done while Fianna Fail controlled both government and our local authorities. The result was a bin "service" which saw the charge for lifting a bin set at €10. Remember, this was 10 years ago. Fianna Fail promoted privatisation back then, too. And now that it is in opposition it tells us that it has changed. It will pursue the interests of the "people" over that of the privileged and the monied.
If Micheal Martin wants to convince anyone that the leopard has changed its spots, he needs to be just as careful with the optics as he is with the verbal.
Fianna Fail has much, much more still to do.
Fianna Fail is clearly a party in denial. There will be no recovery for this party, after the enormous mess it has made of the country. Those involved would be much better off to fly the flag under a new banner.
M O Crualaoich
Baile Na Corra, Co Chorcai
Micheal Martin says sorry at the same Ard Fheis that gives Brian Cowen a standing ovation! The party makes for a sorry sight, right enough.