By Eugene McGloin
is fighting for her political future, that much became clear in the Dáil last night, Tuesday
Nothing she did will damage her was the subtext of her main statement shortly after 8pm.
However, what she did NOT do could (ultimately) cause her continuing and greater grief.
The Tánaiste herself has ensured that but neither she nor her opponents landed a heavyweight glove or a knockout last night.
The Tánaiste looked comfortable on Oireachtas live TV when the Leas Ceann Comhairle Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher ended this episode.
maybe down on the floor of the Dáil it was ‘relief’ moreso than
‘comfort’ that Frances Fitzgerald felt; the proverbial calm we see
before the storm’s fullest fury.
Motion of ‘No Confidence’ is already being mooted.....but that may be
designed more to test Fianna Fail’s stasis rather than the stand taken
by Fine Gael last night.
over the past three decades, the minor partners appear not to have much
to say — publicly anyway — on the major issues of the day, this one
All this and much more became
abundantly clear in that hour of questions to the Tánaiste, sandwiched
between her special statement and wrap-up reply last night.
Fianna Fáil asked three questions but its spokesman Jim Callaghan said the Minster had not answered two of those.
We will not get a general election before or (immediately) after Christmas from this issue.
Fianna Fáil might be (sorely) tempted to catch Sinn Féin on the hop — catch the Shinners in no mans land on its leadership.
But whenever — whenever — we get the next election, the Tanaiste’s style in this issue will move back centre onstage.....if she is still in post.
In such scenario, the person who made her Tánaiste would also come under scrutiny. That’s the nature of politics.
can be argued — and with some good merit — that the issue this week at
stake is NOT about either Frances Fitzgerald or Leo Varadkar.
was and remains overall all about Garda senior management attitude,
plural, to a whistleblower who would not stay silent or sthum, Garda
Sergeant Maurice McCabe.
But the Department of Justice statement to Katie Hannon of RTE late Monday night has re-energised a Dail debate that will never go away.
To borrow an apt idea, this whole episode is ‘the gift that goes on giving,’ to the Opposition anyway.
Who told who and who knew what and when and what did they then do within their lawful authority and obligation(s).
that respect, the shortest, most succinct and most telling contribution
last night came from Social Democrat Roisin Shortall, all of one
Two things might have helped Fitzgerald when she was on the square last night.
It would have boosted confidence(s) all around to see the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar sit four-square at her side in the Dail.
Well the Tánaiste herself told the Dail that the Taoiseach himself had
been in contact yesterday with Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe.
Dail should know if there was (a) anything new or (b) anything germane
in what the Garda whistleblower had to say about the issue privately
Hopefully we will get that answer, and others, before country TDs leave the Dail for this weekend’s humdrum of clinics.
said, in all of this current episode in the Dail my thoughts keep going
back to how swiftly Albert Reynolds was smoked from office in 1994.
bread is soon forgotten and Reynolds lasting legacy on Peace in Ireland
was derided by the frenzy of Dail detractors back then.
Gerry Adams also showed surprisingly short memory on the same subject in his Ard Fheis valediction last weekend.
Adams omitted ANY of Albert’s role in bringing Shinners in from the frozen tundra.
Despite their many misconceptions they did not do it all by themselves. They still need to learn generosity.
Reynolds took real political risks to both open doors on American
passports for Shinners and handshakes in the Dail grounds etcetera.