Fianna Fáil seems to be travelling in a parallel trajectory to that of the Ulster Unionist Party and are as likely to end up in the same long-term predicament. Lapses in political judgement and common sense this week illustrate how dislocated FF has become from its centre of gravity, its duty accountability and responsibility and, even, its raison d'etre.
The carry-on was reminiscent of a badly produced circus and a crass attempt at the crudest political expediency for which no price seems to be too much to pay. Do Brian Cowen and Mary Coughlan really think that voters are gormless fools who will tolerate well paid individuals walking away en masse from important roles before the job is complete, leaving the conduct of government like a ghost housing estate? Were those who fled really team players, or merely a collection of eccentrics, oblivious to the public interest but with an exclusive focus on suiting their own whims, personal priorities and preferences? A master craftsman who starts a job is expected to finish that job – not hand it off to a novice apprentice.
Have there not been enough episodes of atrocious governance, both within and beyond the political system, not to have a situation arise where there was a major lacuna in the control of the most important departments of State - justice, health, enterprise and public transport?
Fianna Fail could have made a case to the electorate on the grounds that much has been learned from their lousy economic policy judgement and atrocious leadership of the economy from 2003 to 2007 but, instead, this week’s events demonstrate the opposite with Brian Lenihan and Mary Hanafin talking from both sides of their political mouth about Brian Cowen as though he is a fig roll – ‘I like him as a biscuit, but not as a bar’!
Ireland has made no political progress or accomplished any greater maturity towards stability than was the position when Rody Molloy drove home from his chief executive’s office in his FAS owned car for the last time - with the blessing of the Department of Finance.