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