“dependent on the goodwill of those in FG headquarters who wield too much power…”

Some farewell card for Leo from Alan Shatter, as he leaves politics…

From my personal experience over the last 3 years I could not in good conscience ask the electorate in Dublin- Rathdown constituency and those who have voted for me in the past to vote for an unreformed Fine Gael in the next Dail.

I have reached this conclusion after lengthy reflection with a heavy heart after many years of Fine Gael membership, including over 30 years as a Fine Gael TD.

What used to be core Fine Gael values and principles of integrity, decency, truth-telling and fairness are no longer the obligatory moral touchstones for today’s Fine Gael leadership. This is so despite the decency of many individual FG Oireachtas members and the decency and idealism of the vast majority of Fine Gael members.

Too many decisions are made and actions taken in the shadows with a sense of impunity, too many off the record briefings take place to mislead and too many games of charades are played to deceive the public.

The total dependence of Fine Gael TDs on the leader of the day for political advancement and position and of Fine Gael Senators on a FG Taoiseach for Senate seats in a reduced parliamentary party has resulted in there being too few members of the parliamentary party willing to ask the hard questions and challenge wrong actions.

This is contributed to by Fine Gael election candidates, both inside and outside the Houses of the Oireachtas, believing their prospects of election to be substantially dependent on the goodwill of those in FG headquarters who wield too much power and have been in charge for longer than is healthy in any democratic political party.

As a consequence, an unhealthy culture has developed in the party to which upholding values and principles is irrelevant with no real accountability for unacceptable conduct.

  • the rich get richer

    Leo , How could you not massage Shatter’s Big Ego !

  • El Daddy

    While it is FG that are in power, there are many like Alan who strove for more and are unhappy with the compromises necessary with maintaining this fragile government, as it means his vision of “change” in the party cannot be achieved with too many of his peers looking to the Taoiseach for leadership or positions.

  • The Saint

    No mention on Slugger today of the landmark symbolism of the Taoiseach wearing a shamrock poppy.

    As symbolism goes I’d consider it monumental to have the leader of Ireland wear that pin in the national parliament.

  • Damien Mullan

    This is arguably a reflection of the limited numerical statue of the current minority government, to which Fine Gael is the only significant component. During the last Dail four members of the Dail parliamentary party lost the whip and subsequently fought the 2016 election as Renua or independent candidates, Lucinda Creighton, Billy Timmins, Terence Flanagan, and Peter Matthews. Given the arithmetic of this Dail there is no margin for this kind of attrition, it’s absolutely imperative for the survival of the present government that a greater degree of coordination and management be taken, otherwise, it’s demise could result, with the appetite of the electorate for an early election decidedly cool. No one who plunges the country into an unnecessary and early election are going to be rewarded by the electorate. Therefore, if a more hands on approach by Fine Gael HQ is necessitated to insure the survival of the government, then the electorate will likely be forgiving of public displays of dissension being muzzled, if not the private ones.

  • Pang

    Looking over the history of the state since independence it is clear to me that any party in power too long looses their idealism and effectiveness. Normally this has been FF (think of the slow death suffered under Dev after his first few years of brilliance, or the same for Bertie & all of Biffo’s tenure.
    FG has had held power too long and is starting to smell like old socks. Alan Shatter is longing for the purity of the good old wilderness days or the dynamic first couple of years of Enda.

  • Tochais Siorai

    Not my cup of tea sometimes but Shatter has been one of the few genuine intellectual minds in politics in Ireland over the last few decades. For that reason a pity he’s calling a halt.