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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: March 19, 2012 @ 8:54 pm

    Sweeteners for Healy-Rae and Lowry

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    Despite a certain curiosity about the content of the awful-sounding Tallafornia on TV3, I resolutely stuck with the National Broadcaster and its in-depth coverage of the deals Bertie Ahern made with Independents Jackie Healy-Rae and Michael Lowry five years ago.

    This was the first time I can remember The Week in Politics devoting the entire programme to a single topic and reporter Micheál Lehane made an excellent job of it.

    “The Bert” needed the two boys to back him after the 2007 election if he was to get back into government and stay there. Why is that Fianna Fail are always so much better at doing such deals than Fine Gael? Remember Haughey and the Gregory Deal and, later, Albert Reynolds coalescing with Labour’s Dick Spring (although John Bruton did manage to lure Spring away after a while)?

    Anway, it’s a fairly academic question at the moment, given the size of the current government’s majority and the fact that Fianna Fail are at such a low ebb. But who knows, we may be back in that territory again in a couple of years, especially if the local and European elections in 2014 go badly for FG and (more likely, one suspects) Labour.

    The Gregory Deal has come in for less criticism than the arrangements made with his rural-based colleagues. Whatever the problems in the country constituencies, they paled in comparison with the deprivation on Gregory’s home turf.

    But there is a real problem at the root of our political system. Individual TDs, whether they be ministers or independents who hold the balance of power, should not be able to steer “goodies” towards their own constituencies.

    You will notice that, when a minister does something for his home-base, the opposition generally refrain from any serious criticism. That’s partly because their own deputy or deputies in the constituency don’t want to be damaged even further but also because they don’t want to upset a system that will benefit them if they ever get into power.

    It’s yet another flaw in a highly-defective political and governmental set-up that has been badly-exposed in many respects by the current financial hurricane.

    • rpe mccarthy says:

      We will see and understand a lot of this when we see / hear where the new water utility is to be based. Will it go to the NewEra Minister’s Dundalk / Drogheda or will it (much more likely) go to Kilkenny in big Phil’s patch.

      If it is going anywhere outside Dublin (where most of the expertise sits – Dublin City Council provides expertise all over the country) then it should (but probably won’t) go to Waterford city or Limerick city as they have both lost an awful lot of jobs. In fact, the location of the latter city on our largest freshwater supply should be considered a relevant factor.

    • barb.ie says:

      At this stage we may be absolutely certain that any “current affairs/politics” programme coming out of RTÉ has an extremely BIASED AGENDA.
      I notice that the findings of the MORIARTY TRIBUNAL are given as little coverage as possible.
      Yet again the “puppeteering” of RTÉ by “vested interests” pulling the strings is blatantly obvious.
      Bertie had his day and the definitive account/appraisal of his time as Taoiseach has yet to be written
      The focus should now be on this INEFFECTUAL GOVERNMENT, their lies and broken promises, and the sordid dealings and skeletons that rattle around the FG/Labour attics.
      And O please tell me the inimitable Sean O’Rourke has not been infected by the Pat Kenny virus…

    • Paul says:

      This issue is just part of democracy and all countries have to deal with it..but as you say, in Ireland it seems pretty bad at the moment.

      1. Transparency to beat the band – you can’t have too much of it!
      2. More power & money for local politicans (with distinct taxes to pay for it)
      3. More power for committees, Opposition TDs & Back-benchers.

      It would be great if the constitutional reform thingy would get into these issues.


    • barb.ie says:

      Here’ a headline for ya Deaglán


      Now let’s get back to the findings of the Moriarty Tribunal…!

    • JOD says:

      You can believe what you like about corruption but all the above is true.

      Back under yer rock barb. You and your Soldiers of Destiny. And let the words be carved upon it:

      Here Lies Fianna Fail.
      Still Lying after all these years.

    • stillstarvin&PRediCting@HMG.HRH says:

      Actually scratch that. On barb’s rock that FF are buried under at the X-roads.
      ”Here Lies Fianna Fail
      They’re Lying Still”

      Rarely does the truth fall so pleasantly on the mind.

    • JOD says:

      It didn’t say he was not corrupt barb. It said it couldn’t prove he was corrupt, in effect, because he was dishonest about where all the money came from, and the logical corollary about that was that he wouldn’t (or couldn’t) tell the truth about where it DID come from.

    • JOD says:

      And yet there remains a certain unease in me about this and a feeling that Delphidius would be delighted.

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