Gosh, Micheal Martin’s tenure of Fianna Fail has resulted in the party becoming “a laughing stock “ and he should stand aside for “someone who is capable of dealing with our devious government partners”. So say the entire officer board of the Slane Cumann. Thomas Byrne, a Junior Minister and my local T.D., doesn’t agree and to be honest at the moment nor do I. The last thing we need right now is a leadership heave in Fianna Fail. Can’t they damn well wait until Micheal steps down from the Taoiseach’s office or at least until we are through dealing with this horrendous pandemic. Let’s focus for a moment on the expression “devious partners”. In this case I presume the main target is Fine Gael. Now I have noticed amongst some of Fine Gael’s natural supporters a certain disillusionment with Leo. One person I know refers to him as Leaky Leo, a reference to the leaking of a highly confidential government document. For my own part what I find a bit hard to take is his failure to understand the proper role of Tánaiste and his constantly perceived desire to get one over on the Taoiseach. We all remember how long it took to put this government together so it is vital that it operates as a cohesive unit. As for the Taoiseach himself, I think it is fair to say that he has done reasonably well considering the huge strain he has been under. Physically it looks like it has taken its toll. The government made a big mistake over Christmas, a blunder that cost lives. Martin is a decent man and I’m sure in his darkest moments he must deeply regret the course that they took. However, there is another issue that all the party leaders are guilty of and that is a reluctance to seek accountability for the failure of the European Union’s joint vaccine purchase scheme. The same anaemic stance was taken to the President of the Commission’s disgraceful behaviour over the Northern Ireland Protocol which has contributed considerably to the current difficulties in the North.
However, it is the vaccines that are uppermost in the thoughts of so many. I find it very distressing imagining the stress being felt
by 85 year old people and their families waiting for the jab only to be told it wasn’t going to happen. I fervently hope that this can be soon rectified. In truth it is still so utterly astonishing that these vaccines have been developed in such an extraordinarily short time. What, of course, is now difficult to manage is the knowledge that the UK is so far ahead of us. This means a more rapid return to normal life and to the opening up of their economy. I still find it astonishing that to my knowledge there has been no serious engagement with the British government to see if we could get additional supplies of AstraZeneca. It shows a lack of imagination and an absolute rigid adherence to the EU model despite many European countries acquiring vaccines individually. Let us hope in the months to come we will be greeted with an abundance of supply. Johnson & Johnson are due to be approved by the European Medicines Agency shortly.
A single jab is referred to as a game changer but back to where I started, when the nation is vaccinated maybe we can look at a game changer for Fianna Fail.