The next Coalition- the Irish people have a right to know in advance what it stands for

Away from the ball-by ball commentary on the crisis, what sort of coalition would Fine Gael and Labour make? A pre-election pact looks improbable, despite the depth of the political and financial crisis. At first blush, competition between them for the leading role could leave voters guessing until the last minute. Prospects for firm government might appear slim. Labour will bid to overhaul Fine Gael at the polls. For the first time Labour enjoys the lead of the party polls at a record 32%, while Fine Gael has a notably lacklustre leader in Enda Kenny. Will inter-party rivalry blight the chances of vital cooperation and bring the Irish political process into further disrepute?

After seven coalitions since the formation of the State, Irish voters are used to pretty arbitrary behaviour from the parties. Manifestos tend to be wish lists papering over internal differences as much as appealing to would- be partners. And who can forget Labour under Dick Spring changing horses in midstream from Fianna Fail to the Fine Gael-led Rainbow coalition in 1994?

Another basic problem has been the historic lack of serious and consistent ideological choice  between the successors of the original Sinn Fein, the right wing populist Fianna Fail and the right wing with a tinge of reformist Fine Gael, with assorted squabbling left wing parties and movements bringing up the rear, sometimes merging with Labour, sometimes simply disappearing. And to cap it all, the dominance – until now – of Fianna Fail as the natural party of government, in power for over two thirds of the State’s existence – too long for reliable political health. Fianna Fail-led coalitions have been top- ups, the others, more like the real thing.

And yet despite the chequered history, fears of an unstable coalition emerging next month may be exaggerated. Enormous public pressure for the parties to stop squabbling is having a salutary effect, minute by minute. The behaviour of the opposition parties this week when they are in virtual control of the dying Dail, will tell us much. Talk of failing to pass the Budget is muted now. Better terms will have to wait for better days.

On the prospect for an united coalition, Garret FitzGerald with his unrivalled experience of the genre says no problem. You might think that as the head of two coalitions and as a leading member of the 1973-77 coalition, the most successful of the lot, he would say that wouldn’t he?  But he makes a persuasive case.

It is worth addressing at this stage this issue of policy differences between Fine Gael and Labour, which I believe to be much less of a problem than many may imagine – save on a single issue: that of the emphasis to be placed on fiscal adjustments upon tax increases versus spending cuts. In their post-election negotiations these parties will need to find a compromise, largely based on the relative strengths of their parties in the next Dáil.

Other choices in relation to economic policy are largely constrained as a result of the endorsement by Europe and the IMF of the Government’s fiscal adjustment programme for the next three years. The two parties will no doubt suggest to the electorate that they will seek to renegotiate this programme, but the room for such a renegotiation will be limited by the fact that any relief sought in relation to recent tax increases or spending cuts would have to be matched by new cuts or tax increases that could prove even more unpopular.

If, as they have proposed, they seek to reverse the cut in the minimum wage, they may have difficulty in securing agreement to such a move, as the EU authorities may see this as a necessary element in reducing the wide gap between Irish and EU salary and wage levels.

We watch and pray. The bit in italics should give pause for thought. Should the formation of an emergency government to lead Ireland out of the mess be left to old style private horse trading in the interregnum? Surely the Irish people deserve better than that.   At the very least, before the deal is sealed, it should be debated in public.

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  • Pushing through the Finance Bill now, before the election, most of the tough decisions on the economy are already taken; and determined largely by Berlin. So that means little to talk about on the economy.After which what is the Government going to disagree on? Watch meddling in matters over which there is no financial cost to the Republic. Social? Constitutional amends? No A5?

  • Greenflag

    ‘Surely the Irish people deserve better than that. ‘

    It looks like we’ll deserve the government we get in a few weeks time just like we deserved the current crowd 🙁

    ‘ At the very least, before the deal is sealed, it should be debated in public.’

    You might think that and I would agree that it should -but it won’t . All FG & Lab have to do is to sit tight -keep their mouths shut and the ministerial portfolios will fall in their laps without hardly a strain on any potential policy pitfalls .

    Angela Merkel for Taoiseach at this stage it seems 🙁

  • “For the first time Labour enjoys the lead of the party polls at a record 32%”

    Ye wha? When you show-up your knowledge of Irish politics with howlers like that it would indicate you have about as much insight as Sammy Wilson’s underpants.

  • Rory Carr

    All this talk about the Irish people having a right to know a future coalition’s intentions smacks of subversion to me. There is simply no precedent for such a radical departure from the hallowed tradition whereby the politicans lie in their teeth, the voters elect them into office and then the government of the day does whatever big business tells them.

    If we take Fitzgerald’s example of the tension between raising taxes and cutting social expenditure – it would be madness for a party to go before the people promising to slash and burn essential services so that the better-off would not have to share any additional hardship by way of increased taxation. The voters would simply fail to elect them.

    David Cameron didn’t get where he is today by promising to privatise the health service and impoverish state education, oh no ! If he had he would not now be in a position to do just that. So instead he promised that he would not do these things. And would that nice Mr Clegg be enjoying his role as Deputy Prime Minister if he had told all those students of voting age that he was going to increase their share of tuition fees? Certainly not. So no more of this “right to know” business, please, it will only confuse the voters.

  • pippakin

    I think it is important that the next government tell us what they plan in the new government in a very open and transparent manner (as if). It seems to me there is an unseemly rush to get the finance bill through, why? The vast majority of the electorate are against it. It is the main reason for FFs fall in the polls and yet the remaining big two are not just supporting it they are bending over backward to ensure it is stuck right up Ireland.

  • MichaelMac

    Brian,

    Labour have sunk since the heady days of 32% in the polls.

    They have sat tight and hoped that they would gain support by default simply because they are neither FG or FF.

    SF stole a march on them over the Donegal SW by election and the Technical Group headed by SF were first out of the blocks with the vote of no confidence.

    Try the RTE site for The Week in Politics last night and watch Roisin Shortall in the proverbial car crash TV.

  • Cynic2

    Its much easier than usual

    Doing what the IMF ‘advise’ them

  • Greenflag

    ‘The vast majority of the electorate are against it. ‘

    So what. The IMF and ECB are for it as are the German, British and French Banks and the politcal and mandarin classes in the Republic in Irish society – The plebs are against it as usual . The middle classes are terrified that the politicians (all parties ) haven’t a clue both as to how the country got into this mess and more importantly how the country will get out of it .

    Looks like a February 25th E day instead of March 11th . Thank Christ the pantomime will come to an end sooner rather than later . Our political parties in ROI are beginning to make the UUP in NI look like coherence and focus personified 🙁

  • pippakin

    Greenflag

    Look on the bright side, for FF this is good news, from now on FF can rightly say FG and labour are as much to blame for the finance bill as they are.

  • BTW when it comes to May: The next involuntary Coalition – the Northern Irish people have a right to know in advance what it stands for… discuss.

  • Brian Walker

    Okay, sorry, Lab rating three months out of date. That’ll larn me to give a figure from memory. Below I leave out Sunday Indo’s 200 sample poll. Results do not affect my points in the slightest, but yes, inaccuracy by defintion always wrong and gives ammuntion to uncharitable critics!

    Date Source Polling Agency Fianna Fáil Fine Gael Labour Party Green Party Sinn Féin Independents/Others
    2011-01-07 !7 January 2011 Paddy Power Bookmakers[54] RED C

    FF FG Lab Green SF Inds/others
    14% 35% 21% 4% 14% 12%

  • What is interesting is the inability of any other party in the South to offer any real alternative to FF and this is reflected in the polls since the last election. While FF are well less than half of their 41.5% no one party has hugely benefited from that collapse. The Greens are at a stand-still (? but yes). FG up 8, Labour up 10/11, Sinn Fein up 7 and even others (discounting the PDs into FF) are up 6. All told an open election.

  • Munsterview

    Rory C : ” All this talk about the Irish people having a right to know a future coalition’s intentions smacks of subversion to me. There is simply no precedent for such a radical departure from the hallowed tradition whereby the politicians lie in their teeth, the voters elect them into office and then the government of the day does whatever big business tells them…..”

    ( just given a FF TD candidate and his canvassers a roasting on the doorstep of a house where I was visiting ! I also heard them getting the same treatment from the surrounding houses )

    This one paragraph by Rory C distills the essence of the situation and is worth six months of ‘Garret the good’ Irish Times waffle. This is the reality of how our political system worked under the old Nationalist party in Parnell times, Under the new Free State and under ‘Devs Ireland’ for all but a few years of its early years of office. McBride and the Fine Gael knew the State machine yet they were frustrated every step of the way and finally stymied by the State machine with regard to their then radical social program.

    We should never forget that when the Sinn Fein / Labour committee produced the Democratic Program of the First Dail and a colleague of Cosgrave gave him a preview of the completed Document, he dismissed it as ‘More F’ing Poetry!

    Cosgrave then went back to his large suburban house with his servants for his wife and a nanny for his children with sufficient ground for ponies for ponies and stables. All this at a time when other families were living a family to a room and ten or more families to a building in the inner city Old Georgian big houses tenements that some of Cosgrave’s neighbors living in simlar circumstances to himself, were landlords of.

    This is the same cloth that Garrets parents were cut from. Garret, Costello and the other ‘mongrel foxes’ were of this tripe. I had plenty of experience of Costello in court and I can say with complete certainty that he did not use his judicial powers to do too much to advance the interest of his and Garrets much vaunted ‘Just Society’

    Mr Justice Costello in fact protected the status quo and State interests with far more commitment and conservative principles than others such as Mr Justice O’Hallron who was an open member of Opus Dei. Liberals my rear end, they were a self serving, their own class protecting elitist inner club. Working class FG TD’s like Bernard Allen that made it through to the Dail never made it off the back bench to any office of any importance.

    The opportunity probably have been overtaken by events and the time scale is now too short, but the ‘business interests’ in ‘sophisticated’ FF and FG elements have been exploring the possibility of a ‘PD Mark 2’ new political party with quite a while, I first heard of it last spring! If the likely make up of the next Dail is heading for a leftwards lunge, then expect a last minute dramatic intervention of this ‘ new force’ emerging fully formed and hitting the ground running.

    PS : Two more FFrs headed for the hills, Noel Ahern TD and Ned O’Keeffe TD

  • Greenflag

    ‘a colleague of Cosgrave gave him a preview of the completed Document, he dismissed it as ‘More F’ing Poetry!’

    And at the time that’s exactly what it was -poetry- for there was about as much chance of implementing the then program of the First Dail as there would be today of any of our politicians be they FG/SF/Labour/FF or Greens of telling the IMF and ECB to go do something nasty using their rear ends and their enabling equipment in unison .

    Sometimes MV you go beyond the beyonds .

    Without the first WT Cosgrave there would have been no Irish Free State and we would have ended up back in the UK after a hundred or so thousand burials .

  • Greenflag

    @ dissenter ,

    ‘What is interesting is the inability of any other party in the South to offer any real alternative to FF and this is reflected in the polls since the last election.’

    What’s even more interesting is that this condition of lack of alternatives is a widespread condition among all of the western democracies . Despite the social and economic advances since the post war years there are large sections of the population within all the democracies in which social mobility and the possibility of changing /improving one’s lot in life is less than it was 40 years ago . I read that in the USA once thought to be the world leader in terms of social mobility through hard work and initiative that country now lags far behind some western european countries such as Germany, Sweden and France and even the UK . A by product of the concentration of financial capital , the absence of trades unions and the globalisation of the world economy as well as the predominance of the financial services sector in the USA economy above all else.

  • Greenflag

    @ pippakin,

    Look on the bright side, for FF this is good news, from now on FF can rightly say FG and Labour are as much to blame for the finance bill as they are.

    In theory -yes – In practice everybody bar the blind cat in O’Neill’s in Suffolk St knows that the IMF and ECB are whipping our politicians to do their bidding .

    Not that they don’t deserve it mind you. Still for the term of this next Dail they should all be on half pay for in truth all they’ll be doing is rubber stamping the Finance Bill’s inevitable consequences .

    Barring of course an as yet unrecognisable black swan event arising which could put all of our conventional predictions up in smoke . Not that one should rely on black swans to appear to save an economy’s skin ;)?

  • pippakin

    Greeflag

    Eggs is eggs they can’t ”facilitate’ its passage and then deny any responsibility for it. Sure the ECB/IMF are pulling the strings, that’s why its important to be able to say no, they need the Irish to do a deal as much as we need it. It seems as if our politicians are panicking instead of thinking, which is odd considering this has been like a car crash in slow motion.

  • Greenflag

    @ dissenter ,

    ‘BTW when it comes to May: The next involuntary Coalition – the Northern Irish people have a right to know in advance what it stands for… discuss.’

    Given present economic and political circumstances in these islands the ‘involuntary ‘ coalition in the NI Assembly maybe a good deal less involuntary than you might imagine .

    I’m sure even long serving politicians in the DUP and SF and the others have been shocked to the core at the way the once ‘mighty ‘ FF have been humbled . Although one could say that the original of the species the old Unionist Party has gone through a similar ‘humbling ‘ nonetheless it was not as swift or as unexpected by it’s members as the present FF mass exit .

    It seems to me that any future opposition in the Assembly looks even more involuntary at this time than the current involuntary mandatory coalition.

    Still if a day is a long time in politics in ROI four months in NI seems almost like an eternity 😉

  • Greenflag

    @ pippikin ,

    You underestimate the capacity of our political parties to spin . By the time four years are out -black will have become white and the white washed crow will show black once again 🙁

    As to your ‘eggs’ 🙂 I’m reminded of an old Chinese saying which somehow seems appropriate when one envisages FG/Lab/FF lining up against the IMF & ECB

    ‘Oh eggs -Do not fight with stones ‘

    ‘It seems as if our politicians are panicking instead of thinking’

    Whether panicking or just reacting in fire fighting mode it’s hard to say -but there’s little doubt that any ‘thinking’ was put on the shelf back in about 2002 . Of course our politicians were not alone in not exercising the full range of their faculties in this regard -It appears to have been an international pandemic afflicting also the clerics of the RC church and the property developing sector and of course the international banking sector .

    I wish I had kept a diary back then so I could refer back to my own thoughts on developments . It was not until late 2005 and into 2006 that I became fully aware and cognisant that the bubble was about to burst in Ireland . But what I did’nt foresee was the worldwide tsunami that would emanate from Wall St following the Lehman collapse 🙁

    Neither of course did most of the economists in the USA/UK or even indeed their highly educated mandarins in the economic and public policy sectors .

  • Munsterview

    Greenflag : more shooting the messenger ?

    As a historian I but Report the events of the times. As a Republican I know that there are plenty such as your good self waiting in the long grass waiting to strike if I give you ammo, so I have to exercise even more caution because of my politics are known to ensure that any facts I record are accurate and are in context.

    If either claim or context are incorrect, then the information and education (I say this without any hint of patronization, but in the spirit of Thomas Davis, “educate that you may be free” ) facts I want to impart are lost in the ensuing clamor.

    ” Sometimes MV you go beyond the beyond ” Indeed ? I provided certain factual historical information and contextualized that information without comment. I acted professional, not political in that delineation.

    I then took issue with Garret, Costello and the sincerity of the so called ‘just society’ ideology which Cosgrave no 2 reacted to as Cosgrave no 1 to the Democratic Program of The First Dail.
    I was actually in the Hall when Cosgrave made his ‘Mongrel Fox’ speech and I heard and see for my self the shouts of up the Blueshirts and the Fascists salutes from numbers of delegates through out the audience and at the back of the hall.

    I also vividly recall how Cosgrave basked in this Blueshirts salute and bellowing. Not once in that conference or in the media following the conference, did any ‘decent’ Fine Gael elements take issue with this behavior.

    Then again when that late and unlamented boozing boor, Donegan insulted that fine honorable
    cultivated scholar and ‘Daoine Uasal’, O’Dalaigh as President of the Irish People and the State Office that he held how many ‘names’ in Fine Gael condemned or took issue with his actions ?

    Thats is the Heart Of Darkness in Fine Gael and ‘They have not gone away, you know’ !

    Times like this you must miss the censorship Greenflag ?

  • Brian

    ‘open member of Opus Dei.’

    Opus Dei is not, and has never been, a secret society.

  • Munsterview

    Brian : accepted!

    What I meant is that while there is a significant membership in the legal profession including the Judiciary, they are coy about admitting it or being involved in any publicity to do with their religious affiliations.

    The late Mr Justice O’Hallaron gave newspaper interviews and was quite ready to discuss how his private religious beliefs contrasted with his public duties.

    I just drew a contrast between a man who had a reputation for liberal thought and one who was regarded as a significant contributer to the Just Society concept, and yet how in his court he was protector of the status quo.

    Mr Justice O’Hallaron was continually sneered and sniped at by ‘liberal’ opinion and yet in F V The Legal Aid Board, he effectively laid down the case law that set precedents for legal separations in this country. ‘Libera’l Judges had dodged dealing with these issues for years and the State immediately appealed the good judges ruling to the Supreme Court.

    Fortunately for the Women Of Ireland then and since, there was a fall of government, Fianna Fail were out and Mervin Taylor of Labour got Justice and withdrew the appeal to the Supreme Court in one of his first actions after taking Office.

    As with so much else Fianna Failed would have fudged it and let the victims suffer on!

  • Brian Walker

    What great historical rambles and personal tesimony. Are they falling into the old Irish trap of projecting the Past straight on to the Future? But so much more fun!

  • Cynic2

    “they were a self serving, their own class protecting elitist inner club.”

    ….err have you asked Gerry about these outrageous views which seem to run counter to SF Party policy

  • Greenflag

    @ ‘shooting the messenger’

    No-just some aspects of the message . I don’t disagree with Rory’s short shrift analysis of politicians but when and where was it ever any different in any democracy ? Where would any society be without it’s ‘lying ‘ politicians ? Probably in a state of permanent civil war between all factions and classes and economic regions and nowadays even ethnic conflict . We have only to look at the small microcosm of NI these past few decades to see how quickly the ‘heart of darkness’ can be drummed up when the political parties fail or are seen to be powerless in the face of events .

    Politicians have to be elected to be able to influence, make or effect public policy . The people elect the politicians . This is true for all be they FF, FG , Conservative , Unionist or SF . They are all up against the twin factors of limited resources, financial and otherwise , and their particular party’s vote base and their ‘ideology’ . There is also the limitation of human nature -the status quo and the natural ‘conservatism’ of the vast majority of people who fear major radical change -not so much for it’s promise of a ‘new world ‘ in the morning, as the fear that the well intentioned ‘new world’ may slide into an unintended new totalitarianism of the right or left .

    As a historian you will have read I’m sure there was a time when DeValera was tempted to adopt the Italian Fascist model of the corporate state . Fortunately his innate ‘pessimism’ as to what could realistically be accomplished by a small poor country like the then Irish Free State -seems to have persuaded him otherwise . He did try to prolong FF party control of the state by attempting to remove PR and replacing it with the British FPTP which would have led to a Dail with about 140 FF TD’s and 20 (others) .Mercifully the people would’nt have it in a referendum -not even many FF voters .

    As for what’s called ‘croneyism’ in the Irish political system -this is and was always there – perhaps more so in pre independence days . The factors which give rise to it are the same all over the world -human nature – the attraction of goodies /perks/jobs /sinecures being the prerogative of the governing party -made even more attractive in a small undeveloped economy or polity like the Irish or NI States . Without a developed or developing economy to sustain it government becomes by default the main or only source of jobs, power , influence , money etc etc which is the story behind much of Africa’s underdeveloped and or failed States

    As one who is entirely skeptical of ‘ideology’ be it republicanism or unionism or capitalism or communism or nationalism ever being able to deliver that bright new world of equality and well paid jobs and cost free childcare etc etc in the morning , if only the people would elect the ‘dreamers’ -naw sorry I don’t buy it .

    ‘Times like this you must miss the censorship Greenflag ?

    No idea what you mean here MV- I think my attitude to censorship be it by the State or RC Church or other Churches or religions or political parties – is simple – I’m against it .

    Which is one reason I comment on slugger . It’s as censorship free a zone as exists for the exchange of opinions , ideas and thoughts re the political and economic future of NI and those who would be affected by such future/futures .

  • Brian

    ‘I was actually in the Hall when Cosgrave made his ‘Mongrel Fox’ speech and I heard and see for my self the shouts of up the Blueshirts and the Fascists salutes from numbers of delegates through out the audience and at the back of the hall.

    I also vividly recall how Cosgrave basked in this Blueshirts salute and bellowing. Not once in that conference or in the media following the conference, did any ‘decent’ Fine Gael elements take issue with this behavior.’

    I wish I could have seen that. How could the media have not taken them to task for that behavior? Fascist salutes were generally frowned upon since about, oh I don’t know 1940.
    How he managed to get back (or retain) the leadership of the party after an almost unionist sounding speech like that is beyond me. Crazy times though…

  • Munsterview

    Brian :

    I can go closer to the heart of FG than that. My late father-in -law was a cousin of Mick Collins, he was in fact the last family member that he spoke with the evening of Mick’s assassination.

    He was also invited to the first meeting of the local blueshirts as a young man, he was called to a meeting and asked to bring his gun. They were addressed by Cronin and Sullivan. He was an only child and both his parents were dead.

    After the speech he as introduced as “the last man here to speak to Collins etc”. They were talking about preparing for a coup. In a most extradionary show of courage for his youth and showing some of the spirit that Mick himself was famous for, he told them publicly that if they defied the will of the Irish people by ignoring Devs electoral mandate, they were going against all Collins stood for and were no better than Dev.

    He shouldered his gun and went home but many of his friends and relatives were Blueshirts and I had many a long discussion with them. My mother in law was from the Republican side and her relatives were equally interesting. The one thing that surprised me back then is the respect that those people had for the respective activists participation in these events while rejecting their politics.

    At his wake Old FG, FF and Unionists sat together in the room around his bed and prayed together at regular intervals, the C of I people joining in on the ‘Our Father’ and the ‘Creed’ but staying silent for the rest of the rosary. An Ireland now well gone I am afraid !

  • Greenflag

    @ Brian ,

    I wonder in what capacity our MV a self confessed Republican was acting , being present at an FG Ard Fheis?
    Cosgrave is still around as this recent video of the oul fella shows .

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/1014/cosgravel.html#video

    I recall shaking the man’s hand at an event when he was Taoiseach at a function but I recall another one of the line up point blank refusing to shake his hand stating in a voice loud enough for other dignatories to hear .’I’ll not shake hands with any bloody Blue Shirt just because he’s now Taoiseach’ .
    Cosgrave hardly batted an eyelid and just said ‘Please yourself then ‘ and moved along down the line .

    I know MV made a point about the role of Bats Donegan in the resignation of President O’Dalaigh (Daly) . I have always been of the view that Daly should never have resigned because of the remarks of Donegan who by the way became known as ‘Bats ‘ after a garda questioned him re gunshots being fired near his land apparently aimed at some travelling people . Donegan said he was not shooting at the travelling people but at bats – and in broad daylight too 😉

  • Munsterview

    Brian …..

    Afterthought : most non historians now days have little appreciation of how widespread or acceptable the movement was. Kinsale convent school for example catered for financially well heeled young ladies from bullock and counter background.

    Most of that school and teachers turned out regularly in uniforms just like hitler youth and the Independent Newspaper of the Day carried the photos to prove it. The same was true in other areas. There are few indeed of the current fine gael mob that did not have at least one grandparent in uniform and that is the denied reality of the scope and extent the Blueshirt Movement had.

  • Greenflag

    ‘An Ireland now well gone I am afraid !’

    Indeed and we don’t need to resurrect it . Too many people died over a stupid oath . Oaths were a very important part of the medieval mindset and unfortunately still held currency in 1920’s Ireland .

  • Greenflag

    ‘that is the denied reality of the scope and extent the Blueshirt Movement had.’

    With the emphasis on had . They got their come uppance in the Spanish Civil War when most of them returned pronto with their tails between their legs without firing a shot and that was the end of them .

    The modern FG party has come a long way from those days and so to has FF . Don’t forget Dev was called a Red by the Church hierarchy in the 1920’s but they let him bend down and kiss the Cardinal’s ring after the 1937 Constitution was enacted .

  • Munsterview

    Greenflag : I wonder in what capacity our MV a self confessed Republican was acting , being present at an FG Ard Fheis?

    Primarly social, wife had over a dozen cousins and some old home neighbors there. However some days before I got wind of the fact that there could be fireworks and I wanted to see the interaction of the ‘young Tigers’ for myself and how they were interfacing.

    Interesting when Cosgrave got into full flight in his condemnations of the ‘mongrel foxes’ all the metaphors he used about running them to earth etc. were all from the hunt set and could have come straight out of Florrie Knox and the Irish RM.

    Again it but backs up my argument as to the Ireland that Cosgrave came from, the segment of privileged society that he represented and the Ireland that he sympathized with.

    As to the Blueshirts being but a blimp on the Fine Gael radar, it is in their DNA and their very genes. Maurice Mannings ‘critical’ book on the blue shirts completely ignored how much they were part of European Fascism in philosophy, culture. socio/economic origins etc. In fact it is one area of Irish history still crying out for a truly critical objective analysis instead of Mannings ‘Irelands Own’ version.

  • Munsterview

    Greenflag : ” Donegan said he was not shooting at the travelling people but at bats – and in broad daylight too ”

    I am no defender of Donegan but neither would I be one bit surprised if, irrespective of the time of day, at that stage he was not actually seeing bats or indeed pink elephants, given his ‘usual state’ at that time and for long years before!

  • Greenflag

    The Ireland or that Ireland that WT Cosgrave came from was just a microcosm of that England that Churchill came from . Privilige was built into the system and that was how society functioned .Even in the late 19th century there were an estimated 100,000 street ‘Arabs’ on the streets of London who had no education ,no skills , no purpose and no future . The idea of educating them was viewed universally with abhorrence .The fear was that educating the poor would fill them with aspirations to which they were neither suited nor frankly entitled . A Sir Charles Adderley who was in charge of government educational policy stated that ‘It is clearly wrong to keep the ordinary children of the working class at school after the age at which they should be working -to do so would be as arbitrary and improper as it would be to kepp the boys at Eton and Harrow at spade labour

    The above is from Bryson’s ‘At Home ‘ A short history of private life’and I quote it merely to point out that the Victorian attitudes therein continued to exist in England and Ireland well into the 20th century . Those ‘attitudes’ had their life span extended in Ireland by what Patrick Pearse called the ‘Murder machine ‘ of Roman Catholic education .

    I can recall even to this day some of the ‘brothers’ of the order which I had to listen to and while some were excellent teachers and one in particular was way ahead of his time -there were several who might as well have been time grabbed out of the middle ages such was their mindsets .
    Not until Donough O’Malley in the mid 1960’s did the Republic have a Minister who could stand up to the RC church and it’s ultra conservative and backward educational attitude to the education of the ‘poorer’ sort of people .

    I’m reluctant to use genetic markers such as DNA as destiny be it for a political party much less an individual . .

    I haven’t read Manning’s book on the Blueshirts -The fact that he ignores the European fascist connections does not surprise me – Oswald Mosley’s close connections with some of Britain’s ‘aristocracy ‘ have always been downplayed or at least not highlighted by British historians . If you want to know of Mosley’s ‘ Irish ‘ connections have a perusal of Anne de Courcey’s book ‘Diana Mosley’ .

    I recall my father thought a lot of Declan Costello but I don’t remember his reasons for so doing or even if he told me 🙁