Much has been made about the recovery. As someone who works in Dublin due to high tech jobs not being in my home county, I can testify first hand to the fact that the recovery has only reached the Pale and no further. As a proud Tipperary native, I would love nothing more than to have my job based in the Premier county, surrounded by family and friends, being at the heart of the action. The reality is we constantly elect TD’s who promise the world but continually fail to deliver for rural Ireland. Our five newly elected TD’s now share a heavy burden to follow through on the promises they have made.
But lets first consider the Irish electorate. We have 4 main parties in Ireland. Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and Labour. The electorates attitude to the main parties can be best compared to a person who hosts a series of parties in their home and each political party represents the outcome.
Fine Gael are the polite professionals who come over and drink wine and brandy. The talk is about your time at college, the fun that was had. You talk about your high powered jobs in the IFSC in Dublin and who has become a consultant in Vincent’s. Invariably the talk descends into arguments of which South Dublin school is better and how Clontarf is better than the south side schools. The next morning, it takes 5 minutes to tidy up, everything is as it should be, but the hangover is severe. You vow not to drink with them for a long time as you remember the severity of the hangover.
Fianna Fáil are the school friends who have been let loose for a night out. The boisterous behavior brings back childhood memories. You reminisce over teachers, the ones hated and the ones deemed worthy of the label “sound”. The group contains everyone from doctors to teachers, engineers to farmers, technicals to people who might be unemployed but dreaming of grandeur. The eclectic collection of people mean the drink of choice is beer and copious quantities are consumed. The house takes days to clean up. Shreds of broken glass are embedded into the carpet like landmines to be found probably by those Fine Gael lads when they’re over. The hangover leaves you wrenching for hours but once you feel well again, you begin to recollect the stupid things you all got up to during the party and how the hell did you get away with it. The lasting memory is they give you a good time, but leave a bloody big mess to tidy up. Instead of casting them aside for a while, once the place has been tidied up, you’ll invite them back to have another party. This cycle seems to be ingrained into us.
Sinn Féin are the college society. Everyone is still full of principles and ideals. You all believe you will change the world for the better. You have a utopian idea for the society you will create but as a group, you haven’t fully figured out how it will all come together. As a group you’ve not known each other too long and have never gone to a house to have a party so no one really knows what the house would look like afterwards. As a result you have all your parties in a pub. The neighbors, Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour all complain about the noise you make and say you shouldn’t be let next nigh or near a house, but we all know you’ll get there eventually. What happens when you do is anyones guess.
Labour are the quiet guys and girls at the edge of the room. They never host their own party but instead get invited to Fine Gaels quiet drinks and Fianna Fáils lavish parties. Strangely, even though the parties were Fine Gael and Fianna Fáils, Labour are the ones who take more blame than is truly theirs to share. They do this because the tend to go with the flow and as the people who were invited by the popular kids, Labour themselves want to be seen as popular. Sadly they usually pretend to be something they’re not in order to get invited to Fine Gael’s and Fianna Fáil’s parties and get blamed for not telling either group to stop drinking and what drink is the one that is one too many. They are thus seen as the most irresponsible of all as they don’t ever stay true to themselves.
Independents are the people who always get invited to the party but never go. They are afraid of what people would think of them if they went to a party and are adverse to making any decision which would be deemed unpopular. They are invariably populists who tell people what they want to hear. They may campaign on specific issues but need to be part of something bigger in order to effect change.
The simple fact of the matter is we forget the hangover whichever party we go to. We have short memories once the hangover is gone. Once recovered we go back for more. We as a society need to look at the long term goal of what is best for our country. Rural Ireland is on its knees. Walking down any street in Thurles, Nenagh, Clonmel or any Tipperary town, we see shops boarded up. Our local economy has been abandoned in favour of the prosperity of Dublin. Ireland is now 100 years after our rising and approaching 100 years of independence. We should demand a transparent political system and understand where our taxes are going.
The road to a better Ireland is in our hands, but we cannot allow our futures to be sold to us for populist decisions. The lazarus like rise of Fianna Fáil is concerning as we have clearly been bought again by empty promises. The fact Sinn Fein have ruled themselves out as part of any government is cowardly and serious questions must be asked of Gerry Adams and if they are being true to their supporters. We don’t elect politicians with a view to sit in opposition. We elect them to govern.
To conclude, all parties are guilty of selling out their respective followers. Each party must have a look at the future of Ireland and what is best for Ireland and not what is best for their own political careers.