When I came home in the seventies I was asked to join Fianna Fail by their Meath T.D. Brendan Crinion. I declined, thinking from my background it was probably better to keep my head down. Then along came Garrett FitzGerald and the Constitutional Crusade and with it, hopefully, a vision for a pluralist and progressive Republic. I stood for Fine Gael in County Louth in 1992, didn’t make it and later resigned in disillusionment. Despite several approaches since then, I have remained on the side-lines concluding the pen is mightier than the sword.
So here goes. At this stage in the Republic’s history I am sick to death of those pedalling the absurdity that there are real differences between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. There remains nothing of substance and the electorate knows it. Our country’s economy is in robust good shape but our society is broken. It is morally indefensible to have people on trolleys in hospital and the homeless on the streets in such circumstances. We need a government with the will and the strength to tackle these problems with a sense of urgency that has been sadly lacking in our existing government. If Micheal Martin and Leo Varadkar fail to appreciate the urgency required in putting together a coalition, perhaps others in their parties, like Jim O’Callaghan and Simon Coveney, might have the vision and the courage to step forward. In the composition of such a coalition an essential component would be the inclusion of the Greens. They more than anybody are able to identify the problems we will face because of climate change. They will insist on the adoption of policies that will protect our grandchildren and the world they live in.
So where may you ask does this leave Sinn Fein ? They rose up in disgust at the sheer incompetence of Ministers Murphy and Harris. The size of their vote went way beyond their base and reflected the public’s very real concern about Housing and Health. They should keep up the pressure and rest reassured by the fact that if the Civil War parties fail to get their act together they can only increase their vote.
Let us not forget potentially turbulent waters lie ahead. The trade talks between the UK and the EU have barely begun and already the mood music is heavy. We need a strong and stable government in place to deal with the fallout. Above all else we need Fianna Gael to grow up.