Irelands media reverberate now in july 2009 with a cacophony of political dissent. Some criticisms against our political decision-makers are justified and are constructive. The rising cries to reduce salaries of high ranking civil servants, to tax the judiciary in line with the citizenry, to reform the public sector- these voices must be heard and change must sooner happen. Dissonant notes of self-interest from unions, from banking groups, from the construction sector-those voices must be faced down in the long term interest of an equitable society. Fianna Fails leadership must face these groups and face the decisions which have to be made if necessary against groups who have even donated heavily to these same politicians. Perhaps therein lies the difficulty, but if Cowens government can deconstruct the legacy of Bertie Aherns misguided, if well meaning, social partnership annual giveaways and the contradictory Reagonomic tax regime, then this government could move Fianna Fail back to its ideological base as a centrist party of the " Plain people of Ireland". I say this as a committed member of Fianna Fail and acknowledge that the plain people of Ireland are now a sophisticated and discerning society who should be addressed as such. I also however ask this same society to acknowledge that these past Fianna Fail governments main sins were of creating a wastage culture and of giving too much. A wastage culture therefore that we all must partake in amending.
Most of our media commentators flaunt an agenda of blame. While the three horsemen of the apocolypse- MacWilliams, Hobbs and Lee- persist with an easy to be wise after the event refrain of "I told you so".
Yesterdays Irish Times ran a heart warming story of political inclusiveness. Against the dissonant choir of the day this was a simple tale of enhanced engagement in the political process. A recently elected Fine Gael Councillor from Bagenalstown had a series of clashes in public with a political rival. Councillor Bambrick has reason to agree that politics may indeed be a dog eat dog business. His political jousts with one Larry Byrne were however a horse of a different colour involving a dog of decidedly Blue Shirt allegiance. Byrne was cited in court for disturbance of Cllr Bambrick by loudly ordering his dog not to approach, but " to come away from that or you will be contaminated" . In his defence Byrne stated that he had merely warned his dog to avoid the greasy poo on the grass. I am reminded of Disraelis famous entreaty to avoid the greasy pole of politics- sage advice to man or beast.
Judge Harnett of Bagenalstown district court entered into the spirit of multi-species political inclusiveness towards the cause of mammalian suffrage by declaring that he was sure this canine was " undoubtedly a Fine Gael dog". Equally magnanimously both judge and Gardai agreed "it wouldnt be necessary to call the hound as a witness".
By way of setting legal precedent Judge Harnett ruled that second hand ( or second paw) commentary through the intermediary of a canine could not legally be construed as insult to any third party.
Presumably Byrne and Bambrick were given paws for thought as they left the court with Bambrick bound - or was it boned- to the peace for a year.