I’m not going to mince my words but this government has lost its moral authority – the wheels have not just come off Leo’s wagon, it is sinking in the mud. The position in my view is irretrievable. The last time I recall sensing a similar collapse of a government’s authority was in 1977. Fianna Fail were returned in the subsequent election with a thumping majority. Micheal Martin is striding out of the long grass and Fianna Fail are itching for an election. The behaviour of the recently resigned Fine Gael T.D. Dara Murphy has engendered a whole new level of disgust, even rising above Maria Bailey’s Swing-Gate scandal. Here was a T.D. who, as it were, had his snout in the fiscal trough. Yes, it all appears legitimate but is it morally defensible. I think not. However, more worryingly the Taoiseach seems to have approved of his behaviour, arguing that he was doing an important job in Europe. Important he may have considered it, but it was for Fine Gael’s political grouping in the European Parliament and not exactly representing the country. The pathetic argument that other T.D.’s have other jobs or professions doesn’t wash. We need a broad spectrum of people in our parliament and God forbid a parliament dominated by professional politicians. The truth of the matter is that Dara Murphy was in effect an absentee T.D. who stretched the rules to his own advantage and whose behaviour was endorsed by the Taoiseach.
If this was not enough, the government is hanging by a thread, dependant on the votes of the likes of Michael Lowry and Noel Grealish. They might have scraped through on the No Confidence motion on the Housing Minister, but how long before the next obstacle presents itself. I’m sure there are many who heave a sigh of relief that a Christmas election has been averted but come the New Year there may well be a consensus that this government should be brought to an end.
It has been in power too long, the scandal of the cost over-runs on the Children’s Hospital looms over the political landscape. Remember Fine Gael was meant to be the party of fiscal probity. Remember there are still questions on the whole national broadband process. We have a hospital crisis and a housing crisis. In the event that the corporation tax gusher stops, the Taoiseach has suggested the hole could be plugged by a tax on housing transactions.
Time to hand over the reins.