Fintan O'Toole: Bertie is back and Ross is in The Thick of It

‘Granny grant’ a symptom of political culture that refuses to build decent public services

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern.  “Now that the boom keeps getting boomier and the property market is in full-on freak-out mode, it is time for our political leaders, as the great man famously put it, to ‘start throwing white elephants and red herrings at each other’.” File photograph:  David Sleator/The Irish Times

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern. “Now that the boom keeps getting boomier and the property market is in full-on freak-out mode, it is time for our political leaders, as the great man famously put it, to ‘start throwing white elephants and red herrings at each other’.” File photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Welcome back, Bertie. Now that the boom keeps getting boomier and the property market is in full-on freak-out mode, it is time for our political leaders, as the great man famously put it, to “start throwing white elephants and red herrings at each other”. What with austerity and Brexit and the overhang of debt from the bank crash, Irish public life has been in penitential mode.

But the hairshirt makes a body itch with the kind of prickling irritation that can drive you mad. Just as some taxi drivers pine for the days when they could regale their passengers with descriptions of the apartments they were buying in Bulgaria or the Cape Verde Islands, some Government Ministers yearn for the days of wine and Bertie.  

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