FINTAN O'TOOLE AND FIANNA FAIL
Sir, - Fintan O'Toole's piece, "Murphy's law looms with Old Firm back in business" (June 13th), coming less than a week after the election results and before anything has even been done by what he seems to believe is an irredeemable Fianna Fail, was cheap, emotive and unworthy of a deservedly award winning journalist.
In his fifth paragraph, his references to "They haven't gone away, you know", and to the "Faith of Our Fathers factor" mischievously suggest some kind of Fianna Fail association with, on the one hand, the IRA, and, on the other, a Catholic fundamentalism which in actuality could not itself win a single seat in the Election.
It is gratuitous to attach the nickname "Dirty Dozen" to Mr Charles McCreevy before he has been assigned to any Ministerial portfolio - I have no recollection of Mr O'Toole ever nicknaming other politicians in that way - and it is simply inaccurate in 1997 to refer to Mr Charles Haughey as "still the most potent name in Irish politics".
Worst of all, coming at this time, is his rather sneering description of Mr Albert Reynolds as "a man who firmly believes he is the Only Begetter of the peace process" (capitals O'Toole's). Where has the former Taoiseach publicly made such a claim?
Lest I be misunderstood I should state my belief that, if Fianna Fail does lead the next government - and that seems to be what a sovereign electorate actually wants - all of its actions in that capacity should be subject to intense scrutiny and criticism both by the Opposition and, in the media, by perceptive and articulate journalists such as Fintan O'Toole, whose coverage of the Beef Tribunal, to take one of many possible examples, was quite brilliant.
He will, however, do nothing either for his own distinguished reputation or that of your newspaper by appearing to operate as an anti Fianna Fail hack; his readiness to categorise it as "still the redneck party" ignores the significant new phenomenon in the recent election: that Fianna Fail received transfers from supporters of other parties and of none - including some, it would appear, from the "crucial urban middle class." In that context, notwithstanding Fintan O'Toole's dismissal of Liz O'Donnell, other matters, if not necessarily "ancient history", certainly have implications for more than one party. Fianna Fail (of which I am not a member, by the way) has no monopoly in political imperfection. - Yours, etc.,