I remember the days when Fine Gael were known as the law and order party. If ever there was a threat to the security of the State, or if anybody sought to undermine our legal system, the Blue Shirts would rise up to protect us. Well, it seems those days are over. Remember when I suggested there was disquiet in Blue Shirt ranks about the prospect of the Taoiseach cosying up to Sinn Fein and even that this was being driven by personal ambition with principle being cast to the winds. Now we have a potentially more explosive scenario. In a craven attempt to satisfy the self-satisfied Minister for Transport Shane Ross, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has done a deal with Sinn Fein to support the deeply flawed Judicial Appointments Bill passage through the Dail. This wonderful piece of legislation has the distinction of being described by this government’s Attorney General as a “dog’s dinner”. No wonder then that Fianna Fail’s Justice spokesperson has said with great satisfaction “ Fine Gael have, indeed, come a long way from the days when they claimed a role as the party of law and order”. Charlie Flanagan, the Justice Minister, has a lot to answer for, and I pose the question to him as to what his legendary father O.J. Flanagan, a former Blue Shirt Minister, would think of his manoeuvres. I, for one, think they are a disgrace.
By the time you read this column the vote on the Eighth Amendment will be over, and for the record I voted Yes. It was a deeply contentious issue with strongly held views on both sides. However, I did want to record one view and that was on the debating skills of two of the participants. The first was the Minister for Health Simon Harris, who excelled in the Prime Time debate. He was totally on top of his brief and courteous at all times. Second was Mary Lou McDonald on the Tonight Show on TV3. She held sway and had command of the issues involved and displayed that vital ingredient, emotional intelligence. Interesting also to watch how well she worked in tandem with Micheal Martin, the Fianna Fail leader. Now that might be a combination to scupper Leo’s plans.
Now to Donald Trump, the grand narcissist, who fancied his chances at a Nobel Peace Prize, which are for the moment held in abeyance, thanks largely to the frankly ignorant references to Libya made by his National Security Advisor, John Bolton, followed up by equally unhelpful remarks by his Vice President, Mike Pence. The North Koreans took umbrage and things turned sour. Trump has now withdrawn from the Singapore Summit, despite the White House having issued commemorative coins to mark the occasion. In a letter to “Little Rocket Man” he said that the U.S.’s nuclear capabilities are “ so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used”. So do we all.