O’Malley in favour of coalition governments


Former Progressive Democrat party leader Mr Des O’Malley has tonight come out strongly in favour of coalition governments for Ireland.

Speaking at the launch of With A Little Help From My Friends, a book on the Flood Tribunal by Irish Timesjournalist Paul Cullen, Mr O’Malley said that all four tribunals have been established by coalition governments.

"It is to be noted that all four of these tribunals have focused to a considerable extent on the activities of one government - the administration which held office between 1987 and 1989," he said.

"And it is to be noted, in the context of current political debate, that that administration was a single-party government. In fact, it was the last single-party government and coalition has been the norm since 1989," he said.

Mr O’Malley said that this posed two questions. "First, why is it that single-party governments predominantly tend to engage in the kind of behaviour that requires investigation by tribunals?

"Second, why is it that only coalition governments seem to be willing to set up the tribunals needed to investigate that behaviour?"

Mr O’Malley said that the answer to the first question lies in the weakness of human nature. "When a party is in government on its own humility tends to be the victim, arrogance the victor."

He went on to say that in the 1987-89 Fianna Fáil administration "neither Mr Haughey nor Mr Burke nor Mr Flynn were exactly renowned for their humility".

On his second question, Mr O’Malley said that: "Coalition government is, by definition, broad-based government. A coalition administration has a wider perspective, a greater ability to transcend party allegiance and sectional interest than a one-party government."