Trevor Sargent resigns from Irish Government

Former Irish Green Party leader Trevor Sargent has resigned from his position as Irish Minister of State for Food and Horticulture after admitting contacting gardaí in relation to an alleged assault on a constituent. The Irish Times report has the audio of his statement to the Dáil. According to reports

The former Green Party leader has been under pressure after it was revealed he wrote to a garda seeking to have a criminal prosecution dropped. The Evening Herald newspaper is reporting that Mr Sargent wrote to a member of the force on behalf of a constituent seeking to intervene in a prosecution. At least one of the letters was on Department of Agriculture headed notepaper.

  • Dan Sullivan

    And almost as quickly as he has resigned people are wondering how the Herald got the letter and if this is a tit for tat from FF…

  • koan

    If this is as dirty as it looks….it could be the beginning of the end of a far from beautiful relationship between FF and the Greens…

  • Greenflag

    Overblown and very minor . Sargent stays on as TD and will be re-elected next time out . He was after all only trying to help a constituent . Is’nt that what TD’s are for ?

  • At least the dirty tricks brigade didnt release it on twitter first. Who is this Boyle that he thinks he can bypass the Daill in such a crude fashion.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Another nail in the govt’s coffin and you don’t have to look too far. Who in FF has nothing to lose now and will be re-elected comfortably?

    He’ll be well placed for high office in the govt after the next one. I believe it’s called the long game.

  • ben_w

    No, Greenflag. Attempting to pervert the course of justice is, like perjury, a serious crime. How well the Greenies have learned from their FF masters.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Actually seeking to influence the Gardaí would be a bit like swearing an “erroneous” affadavit.
    I must say I am thoroughly enjoying the way the Greens behave in office.

  • Greenflag

    ben-w

    Where there is law there is injustice . Where there is no law there is even more injustice . By ‘previous ‘ standards going back to CJ’s time Trevor Sargent’s peccadillo is just that . I would’nt get your knickers in a knot over the issue . Nobody is being ‘transferred ‘ to outer Donegal or distant Mayo well not just yet.

    Sorry the black and white filters don’t always fit and never have .

  • ben_w

    So, anyone can and should do whatever they like, because of CJ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    If this is a case of an elected official writing to the police to ask why they haven’t arrested someone yet, I don’t see what the problem is ? Elected officials up here do this all the time, I’m aware of several cases. Asking the question surely doesn’t, in itself, constitute an effort to interfere with the operational independence of the police ?

  • I dont like or want to see the daill bypassed by someone with an itchy trigger finger.

    The difference between Mr O’Dee and Mr Sargent is Mr O’Deas behaviour appears to have been malicious and added to that he then apparently lied about what he said. Mr Sargent appears to have been, however misguidedly, trying to help a constituent.

    I hope Mr O’Dea has to walk past the new S/F office every day. It will do him good.

  • Wan

    @Dan Sullivan msg.1
    Definately a tit for tat. This happened in June 2008 and it only becomes a big scandal now… 20 months later? Dermot Ahern was the cabinet minister who stood up and defended O’Dea when the rest (Cowen, Coughlan etc.) just sat there. In an unrelated question, I wonder who has contacts inside the Dept. of Justice that could leak dirt on Trevor Sergant?

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0223/sargentt.html

  • John Joe

    I don’t know, in real terms, whether what Sargent did was more unethical than anything else. I know it looks like it but surely this isn’t escalation from within FF. Whilst Sargent (after Dan Boyle) would be the first picture on the FF Dail Social Club Dart Board, could they risk a tit-for-tat political assassination right now? The arithmetic simply won’t stack in their favour without the Greens (even with Independents who are from the FF gene-pool). Unless this is a real sign that FF have finally decided to run up the white flag. Which is also hard to believe. If this is down a leak from within FF, its a solo run, possibly someone laying down a marker for a cabinet re-shuffle. But, a narky Sargent as a back-bench Green? Probably not the best move for the Greens.

  • ben_w

    Why would the pictures of FF’s loyal servants be on their social club dartboard? Senator Peter Griffin, especially, has happily carried water for FF.

  • Munsterview

    You do not kick Fianna Fail in the goolies and just walk away ! That clear to everyone now ?

    So a long forgotten letter comes to light, what the late John Healy referred to as ‘the permanent government’ has lots of friends stuffed in all sorts of offices to protect the back of it’s favored political party in power, mutuality of interests and all to that.

    As Bertie said in another context their ‘testicles’ are everywhere!

    From the little that I have heard in the media a concerned citizen confronted a bunch of tugs and attempted to stop a wanton act of destruction and vandalism. He was but doing something every public official from the President down have been saying……. ” It is your community……… be involved……. do not stand idly by……… reclaim your neighborhoods etc”.

    Result: one concern citizen gets battered, reports the incident and is charged with assault!.

    That will teach him and others to mind their own business as far as trying to stop vandalism go!

    This is lazy policing at its worst and not the first example of it to come into the public domain either. Called out to a confrontation, no real investigation, charge both parties and let the district court sort it out.

    Case called on the day, one concerned citizen with only his own unwitnessed account as to what happened. On the other side a half dozen young tugs with Free Legal Aid, all singing off the same hymn sheet. Judge also has to cover a well salaried and pensioned behind so convict all parties on the ‘evidence’.

    In the sink hole estates, there will be celebrations and cider around the rubbish fires tonight, a decent man down and one up for the tugs and yobos!

    Yes John did wrong and crossed lines, not for profit or any personal gain or benefit but to attempt to right what apparently was and still is a glaring injustice . Any examination of Johns case should also encompass the circumstances of the situation that led to Johns intervention and the response of the ‘ blue brigade’ and the courts.

  • nick

    ‘In the sink hole estates, there will be celebrations and cider around the rubbish fires tonight, ‘

    No stereotypes or snobbery there,eh? Whatever happened to Connolly and the Workers Republic?

  • Munsterview

    It was ever so. F/F must be pretty sure of their core vote to risk being implicated in something this blatant. I wonder if they are right. I sense no respect for them from anyone. We shall see. It wont be long now.

  • Munsterview

    pippakin

    this is a story re F.F. and power that I frequently resort to to illustrate the reality of things.

    Micko O’Connell of Kerry was one of the finest sportsmen and later trainers that the G.A.A. ever produced or is likely to. In the county he was respected and well liked, indeed loved by one and all, sports people and general public alike.

    Mick was concerned about local politics and moved from being a concerned commentator to standing for election, but committed the unforgivable sin (to them) of refusing a nomination and going as an independent.

    Mick, as expected, got a landslide win. In the following weeks his excitement and enthusiasm was infectious, the only problem that he could see was how he could find time to serve on the many committees where he could make a contribution.

    Came first Kerry Co. Council meeting, Chair, V. Chair filled etc by F.F. and then came the committee nominations. Mick was shocked that he did not have a political friend in the room, it was payback time for all his adverse comments and criticism of the ineffective local elected Grandees and Hacks.

    Mick was forced to nominate himself for each position, long silence, then one seconder for his proposal, votes called, two for Mick. Towards the end he got two places, The Schools Vocational committee and Traveller Housing or the equivalent. F.G. and Labour proved equally ruthless and merciless to Mick that night.

    It was a very shocked, chastened, disillusioned and indeed disgusted Mick that faced the press afterwards and let fly an angry tirade about the F.F./F.G./Labor divvy up of power etc.

    The following morning I read the out a newspaper account of Micks outburst to Dail Ceanntair (constituency ) Branch Chairman. As I concluded he looked at me with complete astonishment on his face. ” Is that what is says” he asked “Yes”, I replied,” I have read the account exactly as it is”

    He was silent for some minutes gazing out over the fields into middle distance, then he spoke

    “Do you know” he said wonderingly ” For a travelled man isn’t Mick fierce innocent after !”

    That F.F. party man was cast in the mould of typical F.F. office holders, get power by all means, hold it at all costs and use it where it will do most good for your voting base, nothing else matters.

    To the Fianna Fail core vote there is only one cardinal sin, loss of power. Once one of their own is seen as a treat to that power as in Willie O’Dea or the late Brian Lenihan, the party comes first and over the side they go irrespective of pedigree or service.

    Old age pensioners were were left their Medical Cards because they could organize and marched on the streets, cancer victims, kidney dialysis patients, pregnant mothers, infirm elderly are piled up on hospital corridor trollies to-night because they are unorganized and too sick to march and therefore no threat to that power.

    That is, and always was. the reality of Fianna Fail politics in Southern Ireland, morals or ethics do not enter the picture.

  • Munsterview

    You paint a gory picture. I think it sad someone eager to serve and help is abused for his independent spirit.

    I hate the idea that we are blind to the glaringly obvious.

    It is said we get the government we deserve. People have been let down, wages cut, unemployment cut and still government carries on in the lap of luxury.

    We shall see. If they are voted in again, well we get the government we deserve.

  • Munsterview

    Nick

    lived in one of these estates for some years following a private house loss , raised a family there, got them through second level, third level and out of it as did more than a few of my neighbors against all the odds.

    Through out those years we had more than our share of problems with these anti social vandals who broke trees, tore up flower beds, catapulted out public lighting, occupying and wrecking houses ready for tenants, damaging cars needed for work, the list is endless.

    O’K only around 10% but try telling that to a old retired woman with her windows driven in just because she called the Guards to get tugs taunting her out of her backyard.

    As to Connolly one of his sayings was ” Ireland as distinct from her people means nothing to me”

    If I know anything of the man and his attidute to the poor and the dispossessed once reasoning with these young anti-socials failed he would have a detachment of the Citizen army around in jig time with shorts blasting ankles and knees until the message got through and the mindless victimization of those already victims was halted!

    It is certainly easy to sleep in another mans wound ! Even as I write after over two decades later I can still feel the feel the anger welling at how life was made a misery for so many and the vulnerable by the actions of a few, the ringleaders of which, often had their petty and not so petty crime overlooked by the gardai in return for their touting usefulness.

  • Munsterview

    pippakin

    your view of F.G. and Enda Kenny comes carefully mediated and airbrushed by the handlers. George Lee gave a glimpse of what happens there behind closed doors….. nothing! F.F. may be God Damm awful but when faced with the alternative of Enda and co., and their unvarnished Dail performance, it’s suddenly a case of the devil you know etc. and F.F. is in the Enda context is not as bad as it seems!

  • ben_w

    So, blatant, criminal corruption is better than FG?

  • Ben,

    Munsterview is (or at least, was) a card-carrying Shinner; therefore the coming of the Apocalypse would be better than FG.

  • Munsterview

    was!……… and no, not quite. I would however be prepared to take my chances with three of the four horsemen first!

  • nick

    By referring to ‘sink estates’ you are being derisory and dismissive of all of the residents therein, including the majoriy who are decent inhabitants and who are long-suffering at the hands of small groups of feral youths who perpetrate the ASB.
    It is enlightening that you are both a former resident of a council estate and also a former Shinner. Evidently, on the back of the struggle, you have trodden the same profitable path towards wealth that has been taken by so many other Shinners, including the Party Leader.

    You have some neck on you, quoting James Connolly.

  • Framer

    People here regularly plead with the police to pursue criminals or abandon investigations. It is not just solicitors who do it.

    And they also go to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS), at times successfully, to have prosecution decisions reversed or never taken forward.

    So what was Trevor Sargent’s crime? He didn’t threaten the garda involved.

  • John Joe

    Trevor Sargent’s ‘crime’ appears to be that he had hypocritically called for someone else’s resignation (Bobby Molloy) in 2002 for doing what he did. Perhaps, in his favour, he did actually resign out of principle (whether you like them or how he displays them, he does, at least, appear to have them). Either way it seems to be an ethical rather than criminal matter, although it may also be an interesting indication of a shift in the mindset of the Greens in the last 10 years.
    In contrast, though (to keep this in perspective)…
    Willie O’Dea slandered an electoral opponent whilst giving what he seems to have thought was an off-the-record briefing to a journalist (also a breach of the Prevention of Electoral Abuses Act 1923), lied on an affadivit about it and, in doing so, perjured himself as it was under oath, perpetuated the lie in the Dail and in the media, was exposed by a tape of the conversation, still refused to admit it as perjury when confronted with the fact that he provided a false statement to the court, persisting with the slander by hinting at having merely divulged confidential Garda sources (i.e. trying to make out that the original briefing wasn’t slanderous anyway) and only resigned when the Greens almost brought down the government.
    If, as Arlene would say, you were minded to, a diligent public prosecution service might find numerous actual crimes in there that might merit prosecution, initially an illegal practice as defined by the Electoral Abuses Act 1923 (which would remove him from the Dail and take away his right to vote for five years), presumably for perjury too in attempting to swear a false affidavit and, if not, surely it was a contempt of court to try and mislead it, and, probably a breach of some government secrets acts (including on the part of the Garda who supplied information to him – if that is even true)? I’m not holding my breath for any of that to happen, of course.
    The contrast is somewhat illustrative of the differences between the government partners.

  • Munsterview

    Andrew

    A serious response now to F.G., first of all in politics on a personal level, I never held that there was any benefit in making an enemy where I could make a friend instead. And politics do make strange bedfellows!

    On one in which occasion after a U.C.C. debate in which I managed to get John Kelly the former A.G. to loose the rag, I was the one that drove him to the late train, something clicked on the way, he booked into a b&b, we had a meal in The Metropole Hotel and talked from midnight until five o’c in the morning. We made friends and stayed friends. Likewise the famous or infamous, depending on your viewpoint, Olliver J.

    Whenever I campaigned in Kerry for S.F. I stayed with a F.G. family and I had the honor at the family request to give the funeral oration for that man and later his wife. I was a friend of the Late J.B.Kean until his death as I still am with his family. The Sunday morning after his Ministerial appointment, The late Simon Coveny spend an hour on the phone with be trying to resolve prisoner issues and I must pay tribute here also in this respect to the late Liam Burke T.D. who was always available whenever possible to deal with the same issues day and night.

    Finally Andrew the man that taught me the Nuts and Bolts of election counts and politics as a science was a Fine Gael back-room man. Immediately following The Reagan Visit to Ireland I had a late night visit from Senior People in East Cork F.G. with a statement they were putting forward to their national exectuive and they wanted to discuss aspects of it.

    I had met them previously as a Trade Unionist go between regarding possible expansion of a dairy facility and the provision of fifteen full time jobs. They were outraged that armed U.S. personnel took over the Dail Chamber and when I read their prepared statement what I found striking about it was if the nomenclature was changed here and there it could have been written by Dathai O’Connell or Rory O’Bradaigh!

    On the morning that my late father died I was supervising an election count for S.F. the news came via a member of the press and when I left the Table the Peter Barry was the first to offer his condolences.
    Andrew, I have always looked at the person behind the politics and gave them the respect that they deserved…… and I have always had it returned.

    As for Fine Gael and the next election, they are so scared of loosing that they are policy paralyzed in case they make a mistake. As my late grandfather was fond of saying The man who never made a mistake, never made anything! And yes I do have deep reservations about F.G., while it may present a carefully airbrushed image to the public, the old Blueshirt instincts are not far beneath the surface!

    As I have written elsewhere I had a social, cultural, business and other lives apart from Sinn Fein, admittedly I may not have been a typical Shinner but neither did I lack company in that organization in my years in it for people of similar broad views.

  • Munsterview:

    Thanks for the detailed response. I agree, it’s best not to confuse politics with personal friendship – if all our friends thought the same way we’d never learn anything. A large part of the problem with NI politics is that bitterness has in many cases prevented friendships across political divides, and we’re all the poorer for it.

  • Lugs Brannigan

    Michael Noonan once said he only socialised with FGers. I have nightmares about such a scenario…

  • Lugs Brannigan

    “The leader of the Green Party, Mr Trevor Sargent, said it was shocking that what happened occurred despite Mr Molloy’s 37 years as a TD and minister.”

    © 2002 The Irish Times

  • Munsterview

    Ben Feb 24, 20102 @ 01:29

    No, I never said F.F. was preferable to F.G., I merely read the entrails and predicted the likely result.

    However while on the subject of corruption, when John Bruton, then party leader and Taoiseach, ex E.U. Ambassador to the U.S.A. and brother of the current F.G. Finance Spokesperson, Richard Bruton, was given information about planning backhanders by a party source his retort as quoted in the Irish Times was ” Fine Gael are not a party of altar boys” or words to that effect.

    What of John’s quote of F*** The Peace Process when it impinged on some of his time and the North required attention?

    What of the Donegall Garda Corruption and Scandal that was left to fester unchecked and without intervention despite the fact that Billy Flynn, private detective had send Nora Owens and the Justice Department dozens of detailed letters and documents ( some copies of some of which I have seen )

    Did not Michael McDowell halt F.G.’s criticism of his handling of the Donegall Garda Corruption Scandal when after a trip covered by the cloak of darkness to Billy Flynn and a read to the files ( The Department Of Justice officials refused Mac copies of most of the originals) by disclosing that The Previous Fine Gael Collation Government was aware of the corruption and did nothing.

    Credit, where credit is due, John Bruton was certainly right, Fine Gael is not a party of Altar Boys!

  • Sargent went like a real mensh: one hundred seconds to resign, according to today’s Irish Times. No caveats, no self-exculpation. He recognised he had breached the 1974 Prosecution of Offences Act; and had done the unlawful. Unlawful, not criminal. Contrast O’Dea’s perjury.

    If anyone has a remaining shred of honour, it is Sargent.

    What is as intriguing is the lack of due process. When Sargent wrote to An Garda in Balbriggan, what should have happened, according to the DPP (as recited by Carol Coulter):

    His communication was therefore unlawful under the Act and the garda in question was obliged to ignore it, and should have informed Mr Sargent making such a request was unlawful.
    There is a procedure in the DPP’s office for dealing with such communications, whereby they all go to a separate section.
    … the author of such a communication is written to and informed of the relevant section of the Act and the fact that such a communication is itself unlawful.

    I am open to correction, but I understand this procedure did not happen. Was it omission? Or was someone laying up a future weapon?

    Now to last week. Six TDs were absent from the O’Dea vote of confidence, which resulted in the Government surviving only on An Ceann Comhairle’s casting vote. Neat, and even nicely calculated. One of the absentees was Sargent, unavoidably detained at an organic food fare. Coincidence?

    This is now a very, very dysfunctional coalition.

  • ben_w

    Munsterview, your whataboutery is particular tedious in this context.

  • Munsterview

    Posted by nick on Feb 24, 2010 @ 07:42 AM

    nick; you are nicked!

    I thought one of the ground rules on slugger is that the ball was played and not the man!

    So be it no problem with the other way either, I have seen more than a few pairs of boots pointing skywards in my time while their owners were being stretchered off the pitch. I do however suggest that you are wearing clean underwear as we could be looking at hospitalization here!

    First off as to my membership of or association with Sinn Fein being of any material or other assistance to me, not so not so at all. On the contrary it like the majority of other ex and serving members I know, cost me dearly in terms of my domestic, social, cultural and business life.

    Domestic, I lost irreplaceable quality and other time over four decades in relation to my own and my extended family.

    Social, for every entertainment event that I was free to take part is, four or five others were passed by as political meetings had a priority.

    Cultural, as somebody with a few National and International awards to my credit I was banned from Radio and T.V. for over a quarter of a century. This at least was open censorship, a by far more insidious kind existed and still do whereby any cultural festival providing a platform for me, where I where I was adjudged ( by government arts funding sources) to be critical of the government, had their Arts Grants cut or curtailed in their next allocation. Nor surpassingly, most Cultural Festival and Center directors erred on the side of caution be not extending invites.

    Business, I have never been involved in one legitimate business activity over my lifetime where the Special Branch has not interfered in every possible, pressuring Landlords, contacting customers, intercepting phones and mails etc, things all Republicans a similar situation has to learn to live with or circumvent.

    Yes I had the 280 mercs and the lifestyle that went with it but only after twelve years of hard graft, third level night college etc from an apprentice tool box to my own workshop. Should I apologize for that? The early eighties recession cleared out over fifty small business in a specific line of activity all over Munster and with them went 80% of my costumer base making my operation non viable. Economic reality, I was owed no special favors and my self and I and my staff were in the same situation as thousands of others now are.

    A loss of a private house followed, not from business connection but through accidental fire, no financial or other reserves, hence Local Government Housing in an estate that was used for emergency housing only, the consequences of which every social problem that could be encountered, existed. Not calling a spade a spade in using terms of nomenclature more politically correct and acceptable, do little for the people living in these environs but is very useful to those who try to cloak the sheer awfulness of these places in more neutral language.

    While in those environs and during that period of of my life I took part in school management committees, estate committees, meetings with the corporations, anti drug watches etc in fact in anything that made life better for my family and others. In return for the support and co-operation I got I pledged that I would not use what I was doing for political advantage and did not do so.

    Nick, one of the first person in Cork County to be jailed for a political offense post 69 was a man that farmed around three hundred acres, what asset was the Republican movement to him or to his East Cork neighbors, the Kents a half century before. One of the founders of Carphone warehouse and a distant cousin who retired at thirty seven was the great-grandson of a veteran of the 67 Fenian Rising. One of his first acts was to set up a charity that gave a significant wealth away to charity in Southern England. Another distant cousin, a G.P. and a diligent catholic got a full civic funeral from the entirely protestant city council where he lived as a tribute to his medical services to the poor.

    I could go on but I think that I have made my point. There ate many traditions in this island, because some are pre-occupied with banging up the skin of a long dead goat and marching where they are not wanted a couple of times a year do not mean that I automatically think all are like that. Others like mine has one of the intrinsic community service going back over generations. We also have a tradition of pulling ourselves by our own bootstraps in the process.

    As an apprentice I picketed and demonstrated for a Proper Regional Technical College in Cork. As a qualified craftsman I helped install the mechanical services in that college, and later my son got his third level qualifications from that same institution. It has not all been about the North you know.

  • Munsterview

    Munsterview, your whataboutery is particular tedious in this context.

    Posted by ben_w on Feb 24, 2010 @ 09:27 PM

    Ben I raised some serious and pertinent questions regarding Fine Gales last period in office and the tolerance by that Government of corrupt practices.

    So! it is corruption when done by Fianna Fail and the same nomenclature is not applicable to the same acts when the Government is in part Fine Gael ?

    It is neither tedious or tenacious to draw attention to this previous corruption, especially if, as it seems, some of these same people that sat at cabinet table then, may do so again.

    This is one of the problems of why parties refuse to come to grips with corruption, first response, ‘it’s the other crowd are doing it’ and second ‘sure we are no worse than the other crowd’

    Corruption is corruption whether it is by Fianna Fail, Fine Gael or The Militant League Of Atheists!

  • ben_w

    It is, precisely, “whataboutery” when you start saying we should ignore FF’s malfeasance in the here and now on the basis of what you say FG did fifteen years ago. What you want to avoid is *any* sort of reckoning or condemnation of FF, *ever*, by bringing up irrelevancies from the 1990s when they had a different leader and a different front bench.

    There was, let’s be clear, nothing remotely similar to O’Dea’s lies, perjury, and threats involved in the last FG co-administration. In fact, on issues like expelling Michael Lowry for corruption that his constituents gleefully tolerated, FG have shown themselves to be relatively ethical. But that’s not even relevant. What’s relevant is that this current government is insupportable and must be brought down, and that anyone who votes for a weasel like O’Dea again has no excuse for doing so. And, no, I’m not remotely an FG supporter and their candidates will not get any preference for me. I just think that the real issue facing the country and the real problems in government are clear and there is no validity or sense in bringing FG into it.

  • Munsterview

    Ben

    A more detailed reply is required here! However, for the record, can I ask where you got the idea that I covertly or overtly support Fianna Fail in any sort, shape or form? If you have that impression you are sadly mistaken and may I disbar you of any such idea now.

  • Lugs Brannigan

    SF would prefer coalition with FF rather than the blueshirts. Everyone knows that. SF people will tell you that in private but the official line is one is as bad as the other!

  • Munsterview

    Whatever of Sinn Fein’s preferences, once the numbers are in, it will be about real pragmatic politics and what can be done. There are plenty of differences between Martin Ferris and Jimmy Denihan, historical and contemporary but none that would prevent either of sitting around a table with each other or with other like minded individuals.

    As to Kenny if it sticks in his craw and he is the fine principled fellow that he portrays himself to be, he can always take the Trevor Sergeant route when faced with the same dichotomy some years back. One presumes Enda cares more about the country having good government than himself being Taoiseach ?

    ( Now that I have regained my composure and mopped up the tears of laughter that swamped my computer keyboard, I will press the submit button !)

  • Munsterview,

    Enda already floated that, remember? All you have to do is mention Jerry McCabe in FG circles to see how well that idea went down with the grass roots. I don’t think he’ll be trying that one again soon.

  • Munsterview

    Clann Na Phobalacht T.Ds sat around a Government table in 1948 with other T.Ds, some of whom had been responsible for the jailing of some there and the judicial murder of their former comrades, yet they formed a good if albeit, short-lived government.

    Interestingly it was not any of the former old foes that brought down that Government but rather a then idealistic young firebrand, Noel Browne who had no legacy of their shared history.

    They still did business and accomplished some landmark things. Let us not forget that it was a Fine Gael Taoiseach that declared Ireland a Republic and that fact of history cannot be changed no matter how much Fianna Fail try to dilute the achievement. Another was the eradication of T.B.

    As to Gerry McCabe, dreadful and all as that event may have been, parties in the North had to stomach far more to form a working assembly and government. In other comments I have covered some of my own personal attitudes to F.G., it is a broad church. Either we have a new dispensation and new politics and pragmatism for a new century or we are forever in trall to the past.

    This is the elephant in the room that no one in Fine Gael will address, Kenny has been around too long, longer probably than some of the Linster House carpets, is he not one of the longest elected members of the house, if not the longest serving T.D.?

    Many in his situation would now be considering retirement. He is old political baggage, part of the old order and it is questionable if he can bring new thinking to Government or Country leadership at a time when both are sorely needed.

    Even F.F. are about to shake off the Bertie era and move on, what is attractive to a return to another vintage politician from that era of has been politics.?

    Because Enda was good for F.G. do not make him automatically or necessarily good for the country!

  • ben_w

    And that is the most pathetically specious, irrelevant non-argument for ignoring any and all governmental malfeasance that I have ever seen. It is simply breathtaking. It goes beyond anything I could have conceived of. “Let’s re-elect a FF government that’s continually proved itself corrupt and incompetent beyond all measure, because of Enda Kenny’s length of service and something about the eradication of TB”. Do you not feel a certain toe-curling embarrassment as you type this gibberish?

    If that’s the best that FF can manage on the doorsteps, then the election campaign is going to be hilarious. Bring it!

  • Munsterview

    How many times and in how many ways must I say that I do not give a
    monkeys about F.F ?

    In comment after comment over past weeks I have laid out examples of
    scandal after scandal and corruption after corruption linked to F.F.
    If after all that I can be taken as a friend or supporter of F.F. then
    Lord spare them from their enemies!

    I said that from what I know of F.G. it is a broad church. I knew,
    worked with and very much respected the late Hugh Covney, to take but
    one example and I would be very surprised indeed if his son was too
    very different in character and kind. There is more than a few like
    him that are definite new and dare I say,exciting, cabinet material.

    If getting F.F. out of office is a priority then the old saying of
    ‘my enemies enemy is my friend’ applies in politics as in all else!.

    I am not the one advocating keeping F.F. in power, rather it is the
    current attitude of F.G. saying that they will not in any
    circumstances join in government with S.F. that will almost certainly
    guarantee F.F. continuation in office if the numbers stack up that
    way.

    In passing may I remind you that I heard all that anti S.F., F.G
    rhetoric before, F.G, no doubt had no shortage of well placed ‘
    friends in blue ‘ to let then know what was in the Official IRA/
    Workers party files yet when faced with the possibility of seats at
    the Cabinet table, John Bruton, Michael Nounan and co left whatever
    reservations they had at the door in jig time and sprinted for the
    seats.

    Will the next time be any different, will F.G. pass up power for
    another generation rather than reach an accommodation with S.F., if
    that is the way the figures stack up.?

    I am not a betting man but if Paddy Power opened a book on that one I
    would hassle my bank branch for the biggest loan I could get to bet on
    it!

  • ben_w

    You can keep on *saying* it, but as long as you use the most pathetically convoluted excuses to absolve FF of the misdeeds of the current administration which is in government right now by dragging up things that Clann na Talmhan did in the 50s, your comments will be judged on that basis.

    As far as “making an accommodation with SF” goes, that’s not going to be an issue for any major parties in the Republic any time soon. The idea that FG needs SF in some way is a stone-cold delusional fantasy.

  • Munsterview

    Ben

    one of the problems of having been involved in public life for over four decades, is that I not alone know history, I am history given some of the events that I took part in.

    We cannot ignore the lessons form history: when a judge is trying a case in the four courts, why is it pertinent to cite cases and decisions reached in previous cases, some going back to the 19th, cent and before?

    In citing the Fine Gael/ Republican combination of 1948, I did so to illustrate that people that had a visceral dislike, if not actual hatred of each other could still sit down together and govern. I also drew attention to the fact that some people at that table had ordered the jailing and executions of friends and relatives of other people there.

    Perhaps the eradication of T.B. is passe to you but to my generation who could claim relatives and neighbors that needlessly died in the previous decades since the foundation of the state, it was no small matter. For what it is worth I was complimenting that F.G. led government and what it achieved.

    As to Sinn Fein’s position after the next election in the South: if they have the numbers and those numbers are needed to ensure one of the larger parties take power, then then if principles are put before power by a political party, it will be a first for these Islands.

    I think that we can agree to differ on this one!

  • ben_w

    You have done a pretty poor job of observing your surroundings and history if you continue to base your reaction to the events happening in today’s government, led by today’s FF, on what was done by yesterday’s Clann na Talmhan during the 1940s. If you and FF want to take that tactic to the doorsteps and say “ignore Willie O’Dea and the spectacle of corruption you’ve seen over the last few years because … Enda Kenny’s been around a while, and stuff happened in the 1940s”, then good luck with that.

    As for your last paragraph, it is the *if they have the numbers* bit which makes your position a deluded fallacy.

    I don’t agree to disagree. I don’t think anything you have said has any value.

  • Lugs Brannigan

    Could be an FF/Lab/SF coalition with a Labour Taoiseach. Labour if they decide on a deal with FG (and SF??)will be able to demand Kenny’s head quite easily as part of the deal but the new FG leader will still be Taoiseach. Labour and SF would be able to negotiate more cabinet seats out of a weakened FF rather than FG. Interesting election ahead whenever it comes!

  • Munsterview

    Ben

    The exchanges can be seen for what they are by any impartial observer.

    As to anything that I have said not having any value; on the contrary at very least the responses that they have provoked have shown, that despite all the airbrushing and image make overs F.G. has had, in some sections of it at least, there are still unreconstructed Blueshirts ruling the roost!

  • ben_w

    And, if you could make an argument based on today’s party, policies, and record instead of banging on about the First Inter-Party Government, you’d have done so. Instead you’ve just proven an undying devotion to Civil War politics of the purest sort. You have no interest in the governance of the country, or reforming the polity, or ending corruption, or anything like it — you just want to keep on playing IRA-vs-Blueshirts forever.

  • Munsterview

    Yep lugs, very much the hurler on the ditch these day and can take a more detached view of things, it certainly will be interesting.

    However one problem with all these numbers and percentages, they are very much old school ! Look how quickly the old Aged Pensioners rallied and achieved results, they became a potent force that forced a positive Government response in or around eleven days from the first outburst of anger hitting the media.

    We are communicating in real time here; what if there will be Left Field, Black Swan movement out there, new media savvy that will organize and capitalize on the ‘pissed off with everyone’ in politics attitude rampant in the under under thirty-fives ?.

    We cannot use the emergence of the P.D. or any other political party as an example, by the time such a movement would become an issue for mainstream media it would be passed the tipping point, well off the starting blocks and headed for the home straight.

    No great need of policy ‘ f*** them all’ will be enough to get things going! There are young folk out there, who had previously never known a poor day, now existing on jobseekers and the dole for a week on less than they regularly spend on a meal after work in the good old days. And they can all text, twitter or whatever will be the instant com. of the hour!

    That old Chinese curse that the recipient may live in interesting times may indeed come to pass!

  • Munsterview,

    Let us not forget that it was a Fine Gael Taoiseach that declared Ireland a Republic

    Indeed, but the term “republican” is a devalued currency in Ireland.

  • Sorry, hit submit too quickly.

    I remember reading a paper (the reference eludes me) that made a convincing attempt at showing that FG were more “republican” (in the Enlightenment sense) than FF. I’ll try to look it up…

  • Munsterview

    ben,

    as to history and corruption;

    some nights ago I sat through a T.G.4 program that was supposed to give ‘a behind closed doors’ insight into why Harry Wheelan had to resign as President Of The High Court. Whether by design or through ignorance it completely missed the plot.

    True Facts; a person representing the mother of a child that had Suffered Child Sexual Abuse had a face to face meeting with Harry Wheelan when he was Attorney General and informed him in detail of the circumstances of the abuse and the complicity of State Forces in facilitating and covering up that abuse. Harry also took two follow telephone calls that supplied additional sought information. Likewise this person had a meeting with Albert Reynols when Taoiseach on the same matter around the same time.

    Harry broke of contact on the fourth call as the communication was, according to him, ‘inappropriate’. On his appointment to The Office of President Of the High Court, the mother concerned gave sight of the files to The Sunday Tribune who had prepared a two page spread on the fact that Harry as A.G. did not act in the matter when made aware of Stare complicity.

    That made his position as President Of The High Court and a Senior Constitutional Officer Of the State untenable

    Within an hour or so of The Sunday Tribune confronting Harry with the facts of the case, Harry resigned and on the following Sunday Sunday Tribune published a much reduced article. A phone call to the Tribune by any interested party can verify the facts!

    I raise this here as the child’s mother is currently in direct contact with the current Minister For Justice, Dermot Ahern and is still awaiting a reply from The Minister from her last registered letters send to his constituency office over six weeks ago. Yet this same Minister has been condemning the Catholic Church for coverup and stonewalling as has other senior Ministers such as Michael Martin.

    There was some fringe involvement of a religious institution in the case, at the time the child’s mother sought a meeting with The Late Cardinal Daly who was contacted around 10PM by phone by the distraught mother, he gave her a breakfast meeting the following morning. When she returned to meet with the religious order personnel they were chastened and respectful in their approach and dealings with her compared to their previous arrogance.

    Corruption and the cover up of corruption is ongoing in this Government and the attitude and prompt intervention of the Late Cardinal stands in sharp contrast to the current attitude of the present Minister for Justice who cannot be bothered to answer a letter about the cover up Child Sexual Abuse by the State while regularly condemning the Catholic Church Authorities for the same practices!

    Your argument that anyone who questions Enda’s limitations and competence is, by default, a supporter of Fianna Fail is far off the mark indeed!

  • ben_w

    I made no such argument. I said that your willingness to accept the proven corruption and malfeasance of *current* FF government — not a government of the 40s, 50s, or 90s but THE CURRENT GOVERNMENT — on the basis of what the FG party or its predecessors did is an utterly pathetic argument, and if that’s the best you can bring to the doorsteps in this coming election you’ll be annihilated.

    As to the several pages of bizarre, irrelevant twaddle about Harry Whelehan, I don’t know what bearing that’s supposed to have on this government and the coming election. But, yeah, bring it to the hustings. Deliver lectures about Clann na Talmhan to explain why Willie O’Dea should be re-elected. Good luck with that.

  • Munsterview

    andrew ;

    this is a topic that I had a few conversations with the Late John Kelly, former A.G. on. He was of the opinion that F.G. should have prevented F.F. presenting themselves as the sole republican party in the Twenty-Six County State post the declaration.

    John was equally firm in his belief that F.G. should have been more robust in defense of what occurred; they stole a march on F.F. and ever afterwards F.F. sought to hollow out the achievement by presenting the event as something that came about almost by accident.

    As to Irish Republicanism having an image problem, I have held all my adult life that there should be a far greater appreciation of Wolfe Tone, Henry Joy, Russell, Emmet, Mitchell and Davis et al, not just as empty icons and cyphers but as real flesh and blood people and by extension, their families, communities, ideals, religious beliefs and philosophies etc in their context and in the context of their time.

    This, for Unionist/Loyalists/protestants would produce culture heros that they could at least relate to if not entirely accept and it would also hold up a mirror that would show many deficits in contemporary republican claims. It should be an essential part of any new dispensation and politics on this Island.

  • Munsterview

    Ben,

    I should have thought that the cover up of a Child Sexual Abuse scandal by the Present Minister For Justice and Government should, or at least, ought to be the concern of every decent, principled, concerned citizen on this island, never mind the Twenty-Six counties.

    If however your attitude as a Fine Gael supporter is that these things do not matter to your party, fine, that is something worth taking note of by me and others also I hope!

    Re Wee Willie; I have devoted over a dozen long posts to teasing out various aspects of the case, each driving another nail in the coffin of Willie’s credibility. Yet you keep implying and openly stating that I in some way support the man.

    Sorry if you have a blind spot or that you cannot see the wood for the trees and I do appreciate that being on extended contact with a republican viewpoint dealing in something other than sound politics must be a bit traumatic for you!

    Rather than personalizing this I am content to let the readers judge for themselves!

  • ben_w

    Munsterview, I simply have no idea what you’re talking about at this point. I’m talking about the current government and the burning need for ousting it on the basis of the corruption and malfeasance it has demonstrated, you’re talking about the history of the state from its foundation, Attorneys-General you have known, and the Blueshirts. I feel like I’m in the wrong room.

    It’s not that I’m not interested in the history of the state, etc. I just don’t understand how you’re addressing the current government and the forthcoming election in any way whatsoever.

  • Munsterview

    Ben

    2010 @ 10:08 Please read again carefully!

    I have given outline details of a Child Sex Abuse Scandal cover up that is current and ongoing by the present Minister For Justice.

    This is a is a prime example of the corruption that you are accusing the current Government of.

    I know the mother attempting to expose this scandal and she has also been involved in exposing many previous scandal.

    If you cannot or understand the ramifications of this for public life or sympathize with a mother struggling for justice from the state, then where is the new process and politics, what is different about you from the existing shower?

    It is not good enough to just want them out, taking this case as an example what should be done as far as you are concerned or what would your party do?

    Perhaps you only want to deal with big politics and as this only concerns little people your are not really interested?

  • ben_w

    So, not content with blaming the current opposition for the deeds of all its numerous predecessors since before the foundation of the state, you are now blaming the opposition for the actions of the current government. You’ve not just gone through the looking-glass, you broke it behind you.

    It’s great, though, I am enjoying this insight into the current government’s re-election tactics and really hope to see them implemented. Please, please go out on the streets with this manifesto. You will wow them in every constituency although it might not all fit on a poster:

    “Vote FF because the opposition might not be different enough from the current government, and Enda Kenny’s one of the longer-serving TDs in Dail Eireann”

    or:

    “Remember Clann na Talmhain — Vote FF!”

    or:

    “The outrages committed by the FF Minister for Justice’s DEMAND that you vote for FF”

    It’ll be fantastic.

  • Munsterview,

    I’m in two minds about the “republican” label. On one level, I am a great believer in government by the people for the people etc., and have no time for the hereditary principle; so that would make me a “republican” in the classical sense of the word. However, the actions of those calling themselves “Republicans” in Northern Ireland means that I could never declare myself so. Republicanism has unfortunately become synonymous with armed nationalism, which is anathema to me and to many others who would otherwise be sympathetic to classical republican principles (including many Unionists and at least one Alliance Party Sluggerette that I know of). So I’m quite content to let FF call themselves the Republican Party, even though I know it’s a corruption of the term.

    I’m coming to the conclusion that “Whig” is the best description for my politics – at least I don’t have to disabuse people of any preconceptions.

  • Munsterview

    Andrew,

    sorry about the delay in getting back, events, dear boy, events!

    Your reference to ‘ Classical Republican Principles ‘ should be the focus here. Republicanism as a structure for Government should always stand alone as a governance philosophy and system. I have just pulled out Plato’s Republic for a thumb through again later tonight for the umpteenth time in my life!

    I do not believe that any one grouping in a county, be they Sinn Fein or Fianna Fail in Ireland or ‘ The Republican Party’ in the U.S. should be allowed to appropriate that nomenclature for their own exclusive and excluding use. To do so as in all there three instances, and 20th, century politics can provide plenty more examples, is to devalue, taint and even contaminate the very principle.

    Actual politics of whatever time and place, in their implementation, will always fall short of undertakings given, promises made, etc and if too closely identified to a particular structure, then that too will suffer in public perception.

    I have held all my life that a genuine exploration of the founders of Republicanism in the Island of Ireland, of their believes, hopes and values is long overdue as there is so much overlay of political platitudes and dross on these fine people, their ideals and values that the latter, are now all but unknown to all but a few dedicated scholars.

    It could be a very liberating, enlightening and educational experience all around.

  • Munsterview

    Ben

    the current Fianna Fail government, as so many that preceded it, is one of expediency, opportunism and corrupt use of power. By extension that also holds for those who support it.

    I did not vote for this Government, I did not support it’s formation, I did not favor it’s continuation and I do not support it now. However despite having been that explicit , by some G.U.B.U.ism, going on previous postings, you will no doubt scree the contents and once again discern covert support for Fianna Fail, overt support having been denied.

    Now as to your precious Enda: one of the few ways the public have of judging how a future government is likely to perform and the potential of its probable ministers is to see how these behave in opposition. The current situation presents an opposition with unprecedent opportunities to attack a sitting Government, yet the perception among most newspaper commentators is that Enda cannot lay a glove on Cowen much less a killer punch.

    Take the John O’Donoghue issue, Enda spend days dancing around and chanting John is in the toilet bowl, john is in the dodo etc! The whole bloody country knew that! It took Eamon Gilmore to walk past him, reach in, pull the chain and flush.

    Some demonstration of decisive leadership…and indeed the lack of it!

  • ben_w

    Absolutely. I wouldn’t vote for Enda Kenny and never said anything to give you the impression I would. I don’t suggest you vote for him. Gilmore has been a far better opposition leader.

    But your implicit support for FF (and, of course, your silly delusions that SF is going to be kingmaker) based on how bad you think Enda Kenny is are nonsensical. It’s PR/STV. Vote in order of your choice. In mine, it would be Labour first, Fine Gael down the list, and Green/FF/SF not at all. But stop burbling about Clann na Talmhan and the 1940s as an excuse for tacitly encouraging a FF vote. And, while studying the entire history of the state is interesting and informative, it’s not the best way of deciding how to vote.

  • Munsterview,

    Liberating and enlightening for some, yes. But unfortunately if you stop the average Joe in Royal Avenue and ask him about republicanism, he’ll think you’re talking about a United Ireland and the armed struggle. Safer to stay away from the loaded terminology methinks.

  • Munsterview

    Andrew

    Then the old maxim apply: if you do not know learn, if you do know teach !

    That is what I have tried to do all my adult life in my own limited way. Admittedly the South is not the Shankill but never the less I cannot once remember at a cultural or political event when speaking on the values and philosophies of the protestant elements of the United Irishmen ( and women) of where I encountered anything other than an openness and even eagerness to learn.

    I did not have to draw the unflattering parallels with contemporary politics, the audience were able to do that for themselves. All Island structures are a reality, Fianna Fail are already nosing around North of the Border, we can either return to first principles and see what these idealists were about or we can have the same tired has been politicians and failed politics North and South coalescing and prevailing by default!