Fianna Fáil and 'fiscal restraint'


Madam, - There seems to be something about the month of July which brings out the worst in Mr John O'Donoghue. On July 24th last year he appeared in your Letters page with a scurrilous attack on Labour; now he is at it again (Opinion & Analysis, July 21st). Is he feeling lonely because the Dáil is on holidays?

That any Fianna Fáil politician would have the hard neck to attack any other party for lack of "fiscal restraint" is well nigh unbelievable. Has the Minister forgotten all about Jack Lynch and Martin O'Donoghue and the like? They won an election by promising voters that they would abolish rates on houses and road tax on cars - this at a time of growing concern at the national debt.

As to the fact that people on the left years ago were inclined to support the Russian Communists, unwisely as it turned out, political ideologies do evolve over the years. Fianna Fáil is no stranger to this phenomenon. Its founder members originally refused to recognise the State and fought a bloody civil war because, among other things, they were disquieted at the obligation on TDs to take an oath of allegiance to the British crown. They then did a U-turn on this when Eamon de Valera told them that this oath was only "a form of words".

One does not have to go back to the 1920s or early 1930s to discover Fianna Fáil hypocrisy or doublethink. Up to a couple of years ago the "Soldiers of the Rearguard" were members of a very odd group in the European Parliament known as the "Union for Europe of the Nations". This UEN included Forza Italia, a party led by one Silvio Berlusconi, a media magnate who has been engaged in a long saga fighting the Italian courts. Some say that he has had the Italian laws changed so as to avoid appearing before the courts of his country. Furthermore, the coalition now led by Berlusconi includes a party which is based on a former fascist party. How does Mr O'Donoghue feel about all this? Would he like to explain his yearly outbursts? - Yours, etc,


Goldenbridge Avenue,

Dublin 8.