When the Irish political world went mad?

I have to admit I don’t always have a flawless feel for southern politics. I actually thought that during the minor leader’s debate in the 2007 general election that Gerry Adams had done okay… Now I admit to being completely bamboozled over the media’s (and the blogosphere’s) handling of the Bev Flynn case. Between them (and with the respectable old lady of Tara Street in the Van) they have forced a highly irregular solution to what was a strange, but entirely legal state of affairs regarding the funding of Ms Flynn’s local constituency operation. In theory at least, Ms Flynn is now the only TD in the Dail who receives no funding for local organisation. In practice, no doubt, FF will provide her with the proverbial dig out.That, in a sense, is a corruption of the Irish parliamentary system and one the Taoiseach should have resisted. That he didn’t may suggest that either he is a good deal weaker than is even immediately apparent or that it rather conveniently ties Ms Flynn (could she ever go it alone again, given the amount of cash she’s had to pay out over the last few years?) ever more inveterately into a party which some of more local parts harbours a great deal of distrust towards her. A state of affairs which is no doubt heartily reciprocated.

The the media hyperbole has won out over patient good sense. One commenter on Irish Election went as far as to compare Flynn with Al Capone. Except in this case there are no irregularities (other than the regulations themselves). The furore is largely got up by an angry mob comprised both of the MSM and citizen journos; some kind of blood tribute, perhaps, for Bertie’s ham acting in front of the Tribunal?

Not exactly that moment of clarity that some of us had been hoping for for a while now

Just because the MSM leads, doesn’t mean the rest of us are obliged to follow… Not least because there is always the possibility that whilst we are all being invited to keep an eye on the front doors, the real bodies are being carried out the back…

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  • josephine

    the reason you didn’t see anything wrong with adams’s TV election performance in the southern election, is that you can never, ever see anything wrong about adams, full stop.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    This is of topic, but isn’t your summary of Slugger quite a mouthful Mick, “Slugger O’Toole records news, commentary and diverse opinion on Northern Ireland, the Republic and Britain.”

    wouldn’t the British Isles be much more adequate?, lol.

  • Bev C-F is utterly unworthy of being in the Dail. Once we fix that problem where people like her and Lowry and half the FF party can get elected time after time despite their patent lack of character, we can worry about funding niceties.

  • … wouldn’t the British Isles be much more adequate?,

    Or ‘Ireland and Britain’?

  • Mick Fealty


    ‘We’ cannot fix things by constantly setting the rules aside and doing what ‘popular opinion’ wants. If the rules are screwy; fix the rules.

    This provisional approach to politics is one reason why you keep getting results you don’t like.

  • Oilifear

    Mick, legal, but preposterous. Some in Fianna Fáil can play the cute whore and not get caught. The Flynns play the cute whore with a swagger. BCF’s father had a pin-striped style with his at least. Hers is merely a chicken-headed arrogance. Not what is wanted two days before 1,900 people loose their jobs in Limerick.

    “… wouldn’t the British Isles be much more adequate?”

    “Or ‘Ireland and Britain’?”

    Or the former United Kingdom 🙂

  • Tochais Si­orai­

    A big part of the reason the media have gone after her so hard is personal. There are few more widely loathed politicians in the Republic than Flynn Jnr. Admittedly, some of this is a legacy of Padraig who’s still remembered for his infamous Late Late performance more than anything else. Nevertheless she has inherited much of his born to rule arrogance which was still much in evidence up to yesterday.

  • Mick Fealty

    I understand the degree of personal animus involved; but then that is precisely my point. The way to deal with a preposterous rule is to reform it!

  • William

    Hi folks….no such place as ‘Ireland’….there is Republic of Ireland / Irish Republic and Northern Ireland and I prefer living in the British part.

  • Rory Carr

    Never mind, Mick, about being bamboozled by “southern politics”. The rest of the world has ever been bamboozled by all bloody politics and no more so than norniron politics for which even the slightest comprehension of they are obliged to rely upon your unerring and “flawless feel”.

    psst! on the qt, Will this improve my chances of winning the “Slugger Occasional Annoying Contributor of the Year Award”? I’m desperate to show herself any oul’ thing that might demonstrate some sort of achievement or, as Herself puts it in her well practised motivational style, “Why don’t you shift your lazy arse?”

    There you go – can’t live with them, can’t rely on the ould “provocation” defence anymore. And who’s to blame? Bloody politicians that’s who. Shower of bloody bamboozlers as you rightly pointed out.

  • Oilifear

    “… I prefer living in the British part.”

    The “British part” of what? Ireland?

  • dunreavynomore


    Help me. I must be lost, here I am after living in Ireland for the best part of 60 years. Where the hell was I all that time?

  • … no such place as ‘Ireland’….there is Republic of Ireland / Irish Republic and Northern Ireland ..

    lol, at least you’ve proved that irony is alive and well in Ireland!

  • Greenflag

    horseman ;

    LOL good one 🙂

    William reminds me of the Hungarian in Budapest who in Soviet times commented that his eyes did’nt see what his ears heard and his ears did’nt hear what his eyes saw .

    Next time I’m at a St Patrick’s Day gathering I’ll try out William’s ‘thesis ‘ to see how it goes down with the assembled multitudes . I suppose I’d better review my last will and testament just in case ‘reality ‘ intervenes .

  • Rory Carr

    Huh! Greenflag, fat chance of reality intervening on Paddy’s Day. Unless the day turned into a nightmare of abstemiousness of course. (Jay! that “absteemy” word is hard to get right after a few, I tell you.)

  • “The Old Lady of Tara Street”: that has me bombolluxed for a while, until I recalled Max McGuinness in The Dubliner some time back. Is that the fountainhead for the metaphor? The trouble is, y’see, that aged bods like meself recall climbing up the stair to the office in Westmoreland Street, tipping over the greasy trench-coat of Brian Nolan on its way to McDaid’s or wherever. Sure, she was a grand Old Lady in the good Ol’ Times (h/tip Ronnie Drew).

    That cleared up, let’s get another thing straight. Beverley Flynn is a pustule.

    There ought to be a compulsory elimination question for would-be political Hiberno-pundits: how many times has Beverley Flynn been in, and out of Fianna Fáil? And for the decider: why?

    As a rank amateur, and elsewhere I attempted had a go at the arithmetic last evening, so I won’t waste your bandwidth here. All I want to know is how to get a bet on, at decent odds, that she can stay the course this time.

    That said, “the old lady of Tara/Westmoreland Street” didn’t go far wrong with her corollary, seeing Flynn as “the role of lightning rod, drawing attention to an unacceptable system of payments and allowances for all Oireachtas members”:

    Ms Flynn’s behaviour – and the unvouched and untaxed nature of many Dáil allowances – is symptomatic of much that is wrong in Irish political life… A system that allows elected representatives to effectively double their take-home pay through a range of special allowances and flat-rate, untaxed expenses is unacceptable.

    Since the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission was established five years ago, the situation has worsened. Granting elected members the right to draw up their own terms and conditions failed to produce necessary reforms. TDs’ salaries, linked to those of principal officers, more than doubled in five years. More than half of the electorate see the Oireachtas as “unimportant”. And the Government is largely to blame. Ministers resent being held to account. Important policy decisions are announced elsewhere. The Dáil continues to meet for only three days a week in plenary session. Extended holidays are the norm. A better democratic balance is required.

    I find nothing exceptional there. Just think what the Nolan could have done with it.

  • Malcolm Redfellow

    … aged bods like meself recall climbing up the stair to the office in Westmoreland Street …

    Are you sure it was not D’Olier Street? I know they kinda back onto each other, but I thought the ‘official’ address used to be D’Olier Street?Was there another discreet entrance for hacks that us Joe Publics didn’t know about?

    Oh, and PS, since ‘some people’ like us to say ‘on topic’ – Bev is a class act (not), but her Da was a gentleman and rightly popular in Mayo in his day. Her vote comes, as someone may have already said, partly from those rustics who intensely dislike being told what to do, what to think, and who to vote for by the bien-pensants of Dublin 4 (and their friends in Tara Street). In that, at least, I agree with the rustics. The south needs to break the evil grip of Dublin 4 on its media.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “Hi folks….no such place as ‘Ireland’….there is Republic of Ireland / Irish Republic and Northern Ireland and I prefer living in the British part.”

    What sort of geography lessons did you learn in school Willaim son?

    FYI, geographically, there is an island called Ireland, just like there is an island called Britain beside it. Some folk refer to the whole lot as the ‘British Isles’

  • Harry Flashman

    Oh sweet screaming Jesus is there anything as boring and so mind numbingly tedious as the “Britain/Ireland/British Isles” argument? Surely the absolute dead giveaway of a stupid little mind is somebody who can give a flying fuck about that issue?

    “Are you sure it was not D’Olier Street?”

    She was in D’Olier Street during the ’80s and ’90s but before that she was in Westmoreland Street, she moves around a bit does the old gal.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Willaim started it!

  • “The Old Lady of …”

    I’m grateful to both Horseman @ 09:50 PM and Harry Flashman @ 02:28 AM for obliging me to cast memory that far back.

    So, as a matter of record, in the ’60s the Irish Times clock was over the public entrance in Westmoreland Street. The access to the newsroom and offices was via a staircase in Fleet Street (indeed: it’s the cross-street that completes the triangle to D’Olier Street). Convenient to the Fleet Street door, was (and still is) the Palace Bar, where elbows and ears were bent, and more dirt was dished than ever saw the municipal dump.

    Back to the original post, though: it could imply Bev’s actions have consistently been inside the law. Tell that to RTÉ? The corruption of the Irish parliamentary system is addressed by the Irish Times editorial, of which Mick complains. Not before time.

    I have to admit that, before la Flynn went public, I had little notion of the swill of allowances.

  • cut the bull

    Hi folks….no such place as ‘Ireland’….there is Republic of Ireland / Irish Republic and Northern Ireland and I prefer living in the British part.

    I see wullys a it agin daenae aggryvate em yins. You ken you leeve in Norn Iron and em yins ken em yins leeve in Ireland.

  • … You ken you leeve in Norn Iron and em yins ken em yins leeve in Ireland.

    Aye, leeve an let leeve, as we all say around Cullybacky!

    BTW, it’s “Norlin Airland“, not Norn Iron.

  • Flynn may have done nothing illegal, but she wasn’t complying with the spirit of the law. At a time when the government is asking the unions to set aside agreements that would have entitled low paid workers to a pay rise, it angers people to see that members of government utilise entitlements that are intended for other purposes. Management at FAS did not nothing illegal but they had to go when they took advantage of the expenses system and used it for what it was not intended for.

    And of course, the media, and consequently the public, are extra angry because of Bev’s history.

  • Gloria Mundi

    FAS, the training agency, has a meal allowance a meal allowance of 80 cent a day for full time course participants and 40 cent a day for partime participants which means that a full timer will take 4 days to earn a subway sub whereas a parttimer will earn one in 8 days.

    Sic Transit

  • Conchuir O Fearain

    Cad chuige ina bhfuil gach duine ag caint sa teanga sin, is e bearla le cupla “e” agus “a” isteach leis. Mar shampla, silim go bhfuil bigi a lan unionist ag caint foai seo, agus ni tigeann siad focail amhain. Cuireann siad istech orm.