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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: February 26, 2011 @ 4:40 pm

    Legion of the Rearguard

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    So that’s it then. All the prophecies of doom about Fianna Fail are coming true. Who would have thought it, five, four, even two years ago?

    Few parties, in truth, could have come through our economic and fiscal crisis without serious damage. Not all the decisions FF made were necessarily bad but their top people made a very poor job of conveying and communicating them to the people.

    There comes a point in a battle where “rallying the troops” begins to sound hollow, and FF reached and passed that stage some time back.

    Is that the end of the Soldiers of Destiny forever and ever? Sinn Fein, having pledged itself to peaceful and democratic methods, is now a firm presence in the Dail and the two parties will be fighting more and more for market-share.

    At the start of the election campaign, I wrote that FF needed to return to its roots as a “people’s party”. That was before the cheques from the developers started to come in and the young ministers in the mid-60s had themselves measured for mohair suits.

    It’s going to be a helluva Dail. If we assume Labour goes into coalition with FG, then SF could theoretically align itself with left-wing “others” and Independents to form the biggest party in opposition. Stranger things have happened.

    Few will envy Micheál Martin today. He had a very short lead-in time to preside over the biggest defeat in the party’s history. One thinks of De Valera’s term for the defeated element in the Civil War: “Legion of the Rearguard”.

    That’s what FF are, once more. They have a huge hill to climb if they are to remain a meaningful presence in Irish politics.

    On the plus side for FF, it is possible that whatever government takes over now, whether FG-Lab or FG plus friends, may find the economic problems insuperable and we could be facing another election in another couple of years.

    That gives FF some time to recover. The dynamic with Sinn Fein in opposition is going to be interesting.

    • Bellminx says:

      I’m not sure if there are not any parallels with the Babylonian Exile (c 587/86 BC — when the kingdom of Israel had been divided into the Northern kingdom of Israel and the Southern kingdom of Judah) but the state of exile is, in fact, actually a very good place to reflect, atone, reform and eventually to return from. Apart from the prophecies of the “prophets of doom” which featured strongly in the lead-up to the Babylonian Exile, the prophets in exile (the Exillic prophets) especially Ezekiel were issuing messages of great hope, rebuilding and return. That exile lasted c 50 years. I have no doubt it will be a much shorter period for the return of Fianna Fáil.
      Btw, yet again, I am absolutely disgusted with an RTE presenter – I am referring to a very nasty comment made to Brian Cowen on RTE’s Election 2011 programme last night (Saturday 26th). Brian Cowen is a most honourable man of the highest integrity who did his best in the political culture of the time (as history will show) and had the misfortune to be in government when the global financial crisis struck. It was an inappropriate comment and very below the belt.

    • Kynos says:

      How’d you like them eggs now Mr Gormley? Slainte Mr Cowen. You’re both gone and Shannon Warport’s still tickin away counting out the 30 pcs AG and the messes of pottage and speeding glum soldiers up the line to death dementia and mutiliation and still helping foreign despots drag their slaves sedated in chains and orange jumpsuits or at least the flying racks that hoist them unto torture. Plus ca change.

    • Kynos says:

      ‘Wilful ignorance’. That was how US psychiatrist Scott Peck described human evil. As we look about us, who can deny it? You really think an election is going to change THAT? There’s been many’s an election since Davitt accused the Irish as being moral cowards. Still we’ve always strong drink – the other curse of Ireland Davitt identified – and these days other substances too so’s we can obliterate those things which we should never forget.

    • ken says:

      still in denial Bellminx, cowen had the mis-fortune of being in a goverment when the global financial crisis struck. my god what a remark, i’m sure you mean the people had the misfortune of having him running the show, and him and some of the clowns couldn’t even face the people for what they did. global crisis, jaysus wept, obviously you weren’t one of them people who worked all their life who put their retirement money into the banks so they could die with some dignity, now they have to depend on the health system that they never had to depend on before. If cowen and his muppets would of done their job properly the banks wouldn’t of been allowed to be so cavalier with the old folks few bob, so you keep making excuses for the worse goverment this country has ever seen if it makes you feel better

    • Kyue ee dee says:

      As I was saying. If you can nod and wink at the betrayal of Ireland’s cause to cowardice inhumanity and rapine you can nod and wink at anything. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2011/0301/breaking31.html


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