A week? An hour is a long time in politics these days


I used to be a happy person in the mornings, chilling out to a bit of Ian Dempsey. These days I’m terrified of missing Morning Ireland in case somebody else resigns.

It seems the Willie O’Dea affair is over; I spent last Friday evening in South’s Bar in Limerick chortling every time a national journalist (I counted three, but after a few pints who knows) did the rounds of the barflies for vox pops, in the city’s proudest Fianna Fáil pub.

Limerick was a great place to be last Friday, although not if you work in the Limerick Leader; they could hardly get served (“first the bishop, now Willie, what are ye trying to do to us?” was the refrain).

When I say “over”, I mean it in two contexts: firstly, Willie is “over” and secondly, the whole perjury/affidavit/investigation is more than likely “over”. I doubt very much that the Gardaí will find anything to prosecute or get as far as doing so, and I don’t think there is a public appetite. After all, as somebody (my dad, as it happens) pointed out to me, what has the man got to live for now? He has spent his entire life vying for position and now he has been cast out. As for his legendary constituency work, it’s going to take a serious hit as he loses his army of civil servants.

Most damning of all of his record, though, was a vox pop last Sunday on Radio One. Most people surveyed (in his home village of Kilteely, Co. Limerick, which he doesn’t even represent anymore – it’s no longer part of his constituency). Most people were positive towards him, “great man for Limerick” and all the rest, but not one could name one significant thing he had done for the area. One staunch supporter asserted that he was “a great man for a funeral – t’would be great to have a Minister at the funeral of someone belonged to you”. Indeed.

The Trevor Sargent resignation was a shock. But you have to respect him for adhering to his principles and resigning without a fuss. It appears to me that it was pure naivete that allowed him to write the letter he wrote, but perhaps it’s naivete on my part to think so. The whole issue around the leak seems to be dying down, although I await this Sunday’s papers with interest, because if it’s going to come out anywhere, it’ll be there. The Government press office are doing a great job of spinning the story and making it seem that the scurrilous allegations are being propagated by the Opposition, but I’m not so sure about that.

As for Déirdre de Búrca, she must be feeling pretty ignored. First her resignation is overshadowed by George Lee, then Willie O’Dea, and then her accusations about the DDDA are overshadowed by Trevor Sargent. So much for landing a blow to the Government, but then again, we’ll know once the report comes out.


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