FF dec­i­mated by peo­ple’s anger

Bray People - - OPINION -

AF­TER GIV­ING Fianna Fáil an un­prece­dented elec­toral thrash­ing that has changed the Ir­ish po­lit­i­cal land­scape, the peo­ple of Ire­land are ea­gerly an­tic­i­pat­ing how Enda Kenny and Fine Gael will go about form­ing a new gov­ern­ment and im­ple­ment­ing the plan of ac­tion that has been promised to set the coun­try on a path to re­cov­ery.

Mr Kenny and his rein­vig­o­rated party will have to get about their busi­ness with speed and de­ter­mi­na­tion if they are to main­tain the sup­port of a peo­ple who have demon­strated in the most un­equiv­o­cal man­ner that they have no tol­er­ance left for po­lit­i­cal lead­ers who fail to de­liver. The ver­dict de­liv­ered against Fianna Fáil and the Green Party in this elec­tion is about more than a de­sire for a change of gov­ern­ment; it is an ex­pres­sion of out­rage at a self-cen­tered, po­lit­i­cal elite that put per­sonal and party in­ter­ests above the na­tional good.

Fianna Fáil has been dec­i­mated by the peo­ple’s anger and lies crip­pled af­ter the worst elec­toral de­feat in the party’s his­tory, leav­ing the party con­demned to the side­lines of po­lit­i­cal life and fac­ing a mon­u­men­tal task of re­build­ing its strength and cred­i­bil­ity. The one thing that now stands in Fianna Fáil’s favour is that it has the ben­e­fit of start­ing out with a clean slate - and that may prove sig­nif­i­cant in time. The tal­lies and then the re­sults com­ing in from the elec­tion count cen­tres around the coun­try over the week­end were scarcely be­liev­able as, one af­ter an­other, Fianna Fáil’s cham­pi­ons of elec­tions past fell.

Even the vot­ers who de­liv­ered this damn­ing judge­ment must have felt some sym­pa­thy for the con­demned, for among them were some of the most adroit par­lia­men­tar­i­ans of re­cent times, whose en­tire po­lit­i­cal ca­reers were be­ing judged on the fail­ures of the past three years.

Amid the spec­ta­cle of Fianna Fáil’s down­fall, the ban­ish­ing of the Greens from the cor­ri­dors of power was a mere sideshow. In all like­li­hood their pe­riod in the wilder­ness will last longer than Fianna Fáil’s. The lessons of this calami­tous de­feat will not be lost on Fianna Fáil when they man­age to pick them­selves up off the floor and they should be well noted too by those who now hold the reins of power.

The peo­ple of Ire­land have no tol­er­ance left for po­lit­i­cal de­ceit, dou­ble talk and fail­ure to act in the best in­ter­ests of the coun­try and the pun­ish­ment that was handed out to Fianna Fáil is likely to be re­peated for our next gov­ern­ment if they fail in the same man­ner.

Enda Kenny now has the task of putting to­gether a strong, ca­pa­ble gov­ern­ment and he has a num­ber of op­tions in do­ing this, be­tween form­ing a coali­tion with Labour or gov­ern­ing with the sup­port of ‘ like minded’ in­de­pen­dents. Nei­ther op­tion is with­out dif­fi­cul­ties. A sin­gle party Fine Gael gov­ern­ment sup­ported by in­de­pen­dents would mean the party wouldn’t be forced to share min­istries. But this for­mula could lack sta­bil­ity and if the mas­sive sup­port for Fine Gael demon­strates any­thing it is that peo­ple want a sta­ble gov­ern­ment. And, im­por­tantly, no­body will want to see a new gov­ern­ment start­ing out on the path of se­cret deals and ar­range­ments with in­de­pen­dents that so marred the last two Fianna Fáil led ad­min­is­tra­tions.

Coali­tion with Labour, on the other hand, would pro­duce a gov­ern­ment with a mas­sive ma­jor­ity. How­ever, the par­ties’ poli­cies dif­fer in some key ar­eas and this could stymie the drive to in­tro­duce re­forms that have been promised by Fine Gael and are des­per­ately needed by the coun­try.

What­ever route to form­ing a gov­ern­ment is cho­sen, one thing is clear: There is no time for dither­ing. The coun­try is in a per­ilous state and de­ci­sive ac­tion is ur­gently needed to re­store con­fi­dence and hope for the fu­ture. Enda Kenny has promised to be­gin the process of po­lit­i­cal re­form within 100 days.

There is no ques­tion but this is im­por­tant, but he will need to have achieved a lot more than that and his gov­ern­ment will have to press on with con­vic­tion and de­ter­mi­na­tion in an ef­fort to haul the coun­try out of the sorry mess it is in. This gov­ern­ment will be judged on its abil­ity to act de­ci­sively and hon­estly as well as on its achieve­ments. One thing is cer­tain - Enda doesn’t want to find him­self in five year’s time where Micheál Martin is now.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.