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?
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…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty