Ruairí Quinn’s political legacy
Sir, – Ruairí Quinn’s 1997 budget did manage to record a surplus, something little less than miraculous in Irish national economic terms; it was also a deeply politically inept budget.
The prospects for growth were good. Mr Quinn could have yielded a bit, and clawed some of it back later. The coalition might have got re-elected.
Fianna Fáil had no such inhibitions, and showed no inhibitions at all for the next 14 years: the result, bankruptcy.
However, Mr Quinn can take a large measure of credit for getting the 1995 divorce referendum passed.
When the polls started going the anti-divorce way, he went out on the hustings and campaigned strongly for it when other colleagues showed no such enthusiasm.
Given the narrowness of the margin in favour, it is arguable that he, and the weather in the west, swung it. – Yours, etc,