Woman beating, cross-dressing, drinking, womanizing, bribery: this is the range of vicious gossip, innuendo and slander that has been openly circulated about high-ranking political figures over the last two decades in order to damage their perception by the public.
There’s never any evidence to actually support the whisper campaigns, but they’re spreading like wildfire around the Leinster House bingo hall. And there is always someone who has met a nurse, guard or bouncer who knew the events first hand. Remarkably, the intensity of the slander increases around election time.
Then, a generation ago, there were the lingering rumors of the one-time Taoiseach, who championed fiscal probity and preached conservative values while stealing $50 million of today’s money from taxpayers, his party and his best friend’s health insurance while he was a Affair with a judge had wife for 27 years. Oh, actually, that was all true for Mr. Haughey. Sometimes truth can be stranger than fiction.
Remarkably, the documented cases of allegations of mass murder, violence and cover-up of sexual abuse against another senior political godfather flow like water from a duck’s back.
The advent of social media makes it a lot easier to sling mud. Politicians are often caught in the direct weft of hurtful comments. Female politicians in particular are exposed to abuse, threats and stalking.
The real instances of discrimination, intimidation and alienation should always be cited. The courage of current and former politicians like Mairia Cahill, Lorraine Higgins and Jennifer Carroll-MacNeill to stand up to their aggressors deserves applause. Your attitude will enable others to do the same.
One more reason why prejudice should not be taken lightly. It does a disservice to those facing actual harassment who have doubts about whether they will be supported. Leo Varadkar take note.
The Tánaiste’s assertion that Michael Healy-Rae’s use of the term ‘airy fairies’ in the Dáil was a gay insult was startlingly inaccurate. The word “fee” alone can be used as a gay insult. But the Tánaiste’s objection to the use of the colloquial term “airy fairies” stems more from his interpretation as someone who is “of Dublin and middle-class origin” than from any attempt by Healy-Rae to refer to Varadkar’s sexuality. The Kerry TD made the remark in the context of his view that the Green Party’s ‘air fairy’ ideology, meaning impractical and stupid, is dictating energy policy at a time when the whole world is reviewing energy security. It’s elitist to suggest that just because Healy-Rae is conservative and hails from rural Ireland, he’s some kind of bigot who dished out homophobic slurs.
Of course, if Varadkar is right, the Sinn Féin proposal is being guided by shadowy figures because the party, led by two women, Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill, is grossly sexist. Yet that is precisely the line McDonald is peddling. “And there’s just the slightest bit of dog whistling, kind of misogyny or an assumption that women can’t call the shots,” she said in the US this month when asked about her party’s ongoing ties to the IRA.
It’s utter nonsense from someone who should know better than to claim sexism in such a flippant way.
The accusation of “shadow figures” stems from Sinn Féin being part of what is euphemistically dubbed the “Republican Movement,” which sees them as the political wing of a paramilitary terrorist organization whose self-proclaimed mantra is “to have a ballot in one hand.” and an Armalite pistol in the other”.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin did not want to come to power with Sinn Féin after the last general election because of concerns about the party and the influence of unelected bosses. The reverence within the organization for people who have never run for elected office is remarkable.
Northern Ireland’s Cash for Ash inquiry even found that a Sinn Féin minister asked the Northern Executive for permission to make decisions from unelected figures who had been members of the Provisional IRA. In his most recent assessment, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris agreed that the Provisional IRA Army Council still oversees both the IRA and Sinn Féin, albeit in a reduced form.
The legitimate concern for shadow figures has nothing to do with sexism, misogyny or misogyny.
Political leaders are rightly scrutinized for what they say and do. It is not rooted in ingrained, institutionalized and intimidating prejudices.
Is it classic to point out that Ivana Bacik is the youngest political party leader to attend a private fee-paying school, even if she received a scholarship to Alexandra College, Dublin? The club already includes Leo Varadkar, who attended King’s Hospital in West Dublin, Mary Lou McDonald, who went to Notre Dame Des Missions, and Richard Boyd-Barrett, who attended St Michael’s College, Dublin 4. Could the privileged education explain Bacik’s irritated dismissiveness towards her first flagship interview with the national broadcaster after becoming leader of the Labor Party? In a stunningly pretentious performance, Bacik either didn’t or couldn’t answer a series of sensible questions put to her by Sarah McInerney on RTÉ driving time. The lack of understanding of numbers was not good advertising for the further training of the Labor leader at the London School of Economics.
Is it anti-revisionist to suggest to TDs in the Social Democrats, who constantly criticize the government’s approach to the Covid-19 pandemic, that they wanted to bring in a discredited and delusional “zero Covid” approach? Is it climate deniers to challenge Eamon Ryan over overly ambitious emissions reduction targets?
Leo and Mary Lou (as they say down in Kerry – north of the county, not the south) feel a certain need when they have to resort to these kinds of sacrificial characterizations.
And if the two leaders of Dublin’s middle class don’t understand what that means, it doesn’t allow them to shout bias either.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/a-bit-of-a-want-in-leo-and-mary-lou-does-disservice-to-real-victims-of-discrimination-41492851.html A little lack of Leo and Mary Lou doesn’t do true victims of discrimination any favors