Pigs fly over Paschal’s office, but a half-time team meeting between Micheál and Leo is out of the question

What a terrible shame that nobody who knew anything about AIB downgrading a number of branches across the country is shopping at Tesco in Phibsborough on a Sunday night. Paschal Donohoe’s discussions in the freezer department have become the stuff of economic legend.

Tonight a voter approached me in the Tesco Phibsborough refrigerated aisle. Was wondering when we will have a European Deposit Insurance Scheme!! The sophistication of Dublin Central’s voters is a great marvel,” he said last Sunday night.

If only an AIB executive, one of the Minister’s Public Interests executives, or even a random Treasury Department official would drop by and pick up a Goodfellas pizza, a bag of chips, or a can of HB vanilla ice cream.

The twist from Upper Merrion Street is that the poor minister has been unaware from his faceless officials about a highly politically sensitive move by a bank in which the government holds a controlling interest of just over 63 per cent. Pigs have been spotted from the bar stool at O’Donoghue’s on Merrion Row. And Fianna Fáil’s Seán Fleming was drawn into the fray by supporting his senior minister and saying Donohoe heard no evil, saw no evil, said no evil.

Much to the chagrin of the Fine Gael backbenchers, Taoiseach Micheál Martin was credited for stopping the AIB gallop. But the coalition as a whole was once again embroiled in a controversy in which a lack of judgment about what matters to the people was striking. “Homemade shambles” was a recurring pattern for this coalition. The government, which is approaching halfway through the life of this Dáil, has also been decidedly unlucky. Circumstances have changed dramatically. Coming to power in the midst of a global pandemic, there was no telling that life would overshadow her for at least another two years.

Covid-19 was followed by global utility disruption and inflation, leading to an unexpected cost of living crisis with constant pleas for help. Brexit has blown up and constantly threatens to spill over with dire consequences.

The war in Ukraine and the resulting refugee crisis, which was squeezing an already overheated housing need, was certainly not foreseeable. At the same time, despite all the challenges, the economy is flying at full speed with a record number of 2.5 million people in employment and an expected budget surplus. As Leo Varadkar says, the bulging coffers are no coincidence. But the government gets precious little thanks for it.

Fianna Fáil’s rebellious backbenchers are finally up to something. A review of the government program at this point is a fair enough proposition. It is certainly worth debating, not the outright dismissal it received from the Taoiseach and Tánaiste. A review would set out what the priorities are for the second half.

Much like Jack O’Connor and Pádraic Joyce giving instructions to their Kerry and Galway teams at half-time yesterday at Croke Park. In the second half, the game wins. Instead, the government is sticking to a plan based on completely changed conditions.

The staff will change in December with the rotation of the Taoiseach and the cabinet reshuffle. But an opportunity is missed to show the status, to explain what is happening and what the goals are in the run-up to the next general election.

Restating realistic health and housing goals would mean far more to voters than an overarching perspective. The long-term vision is absolutely important, but incrementally crossing milestones also keeps the public on board. Instead, the voting public is treated to a feast of random budget promises.

It’s a shame that the last major review of a coalition agreement didn’t go any further. In the midst of the country crumbling around our ears, the Green Party decided they wanted to review the government program with Fianna Fáil. Incidentally, the taxpayer then put 20.7 billion euros into the AIB to keep the bank afloat. AIB seems to have forgotten this intervention.

In any case, the junior coalition partner had just lost most of its council members in the summer of 2009. All of his TDs would follow soon enough. A review was negotiated, ending with commitments to tuition fees, an end to corporate donations and a crackdown on tax exiles, but ignoring the elephant in the room of the collapsing economy that would result in the loss of our sovereignty under the EU. IMF bailout package in just over a year.

An obsession with a ban on deer hunting while the roof was collapsing summed up this deal. Unfortunately, the Green Party dissidents failed to prevent the Bad Bank Nama from being formed – or to teach it any manners. It doesn’t hurt at all for someone to ring the alarm bells about one of the most catastrophic measures ever implemented by any government. Here we are, over a dozen years later, looking for land on which to build homes for our citizens, and prime real estate was selling at bargain prices back then. There was even an attempt to ensure a specific vote on Nama through a little-known party rule that constituency organizations could force a vote on a specific policy.

The Greens used to be the innovators in government. They mainstreamed the concept of members voting to join a coalition.

Today, however, the Greens fear the prospect of a government program review. The fear is that it will focus on attempts to dilute green policies. So what? If the Greens believe that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael would actually try to backtrack so much on climate action, then there is clearly no confidence in this government.

The docility of the Greens’ backbenchers and grassroots is a boon to the coalition. The backbenchers of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael might not like it, but the price of avoiding a general election is making sure the Greens see enough of their agenda.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/pigs-fly-over-paschals-office-yet-a-half-time-team-talk-by-micheal-and-leo-is-ruled-out-41864153.html Pigs fly over Paschal’s office, but a half-time team meeting between Micheál and Leo is out of the question

Fry Electronics Team

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