Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Political World

Politicians seek the perfect wave – not a political storm

Published

on

Under fire...Tanaiste Joan Burton.

Political World with Harry McGee

The calculation used by politicians is a little like that used by surfers when they paddle their boards out into the sea – they know conditions could be fine but they’re still hanging on until the perfect wave comes along.

So how do they know which one it is? Well it’s a combination of skill and timing and a bit of luck. But if all of the conditions fall into place, they can get up onto the crest and surf that wave all the way home.

Timing is a key factor in politics too, knowing if the time is right to start paddling furiously or if it’s better to wait for a better wave to come along.

Take Fianna Fáil. If Brian Cowen had been a cuter politician (but not necessarily a better citizen) he could have called a snap election in 2008 or early 2009. The chances are that Fianna Fáil would have lost that election and gone into opposition.

But the net effect would have been that they would have left a Fine Gael coalition take most the brunt of the hurricane that was welling up. While not getting away scot free the party would have been in a far stronger position for the next election than the much reduced entity of 2011.

So what about Fine Gael and Labour? Well, the expectations for both parties were low. To listen to some commentators you’d think that they took us out of the sewer and threw us all into the swamp.

There have been some remarkable achievements. The Troika is gone. We are no longer in a bailout programme. There is growth in the economy (last year’s figures were tremendous but many not be maintained).

For the first time in five years, there is more money – however slight – in many people’s pockets. The State can borrow money at rates only slightly higher than that for Germany, the EU’s most solid performer.

And yet, it’s getting in the neck. Tánaiste Joan Burton may be telling us that the recovery is real but the reality is that its effects are not trickling down to ordinary people.

At an earlier stage, the phrase ‘jobless recovery’ was being bandied about, to explain why the economy was growing but no jobs were being created (what seems like technical treatment of export figures was responsible for that). It hasn’t been helped by the fact that there were a couple of nasty stings in the tail that came out of the Troika years – namely the water charges and the lingering resistance to the property tax.

On the face of it, it is astounding that people seemed to be willing to grin and bear it (well, whinge a little bit) during the worst years, but as soon as things get better, the parties with the strongest anti-austerity messages have got huge purchase.

Why is that? It’s possibly because people are now saying we are told that things are getting better and we have made huge sacrifices. But I don’t see any evidence of it and now with new charges, I am reaching the end of my tether.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Corporation Tax provides cash for Budget giveaway

Published

on

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe: "the needs of the people are significant".

World of Politics with Harry McGee

I have seen some extraordinary budgets in my time. There were the giveaway budgets (Fianna Fáil 2001 and again in 2007) just before general elections.

There were the Covid budgets that allowed enough cash to pay everybody still in a job and pay everybody who was out of a job.

There were the hair shirt budgets (from 2008 to 2014) when the country was going down the tubes.

And there was Charlie McCreevy’s infamous decentralisation budget which was a great idea but a lousy way to go about it.

This week’s Budget fitted snugly into that category of out-of-the ordinary. In addition to a whopping €6.9 billion of additional funding in the Budget itself, there was an estimated €4.1bn extra in once-off spending in the cost-of-living package. So that’s €11 billion in spending altogether on Tuesday. It’s a big chunk of change in anybody’s language.

It was pure auction politics. First the Government said it would put an additional €1 billion in the once-off package, then it said it would put €2 billion into it, then we heard rumours of €3 billion and now it’s topped €4bn. Of course, the auction was joined into by the Opposition. They have all proposed packages that will involve considerably more spending than the Government’s Euromillions. Sinn Fein is at €13.5 billion. God knows what People Before Profit proposes to spend (it’s not easy to quantify) but its stratospheric. At least its message of spending everything we have got, nationalising everything we have got, is consistent.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Prodigal son Bertie could be set for return to the fold

Published

on

Bertie Ahern speaking at the announcement of the Good Friday Agreement.

World of Politics with Harry McGee

I’d actually forgotten that Bertie Ahern wasn’t a member of Fianna Fáil until the issue was brought up at the parliamentary party meeting of TDs and senators last week.

He was in Coventry or Purdah – or wherever politicians with a whiff of scandal around them are put – for a number of years but he’s been back at the centre of the political and public stage for so long now, you begin to forget that he was ever away.

And so last week, Donegal senator Niall Blaney stood up and addressed his colleagues right at the end of the meeting. He said 2023 would mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. The party needed to put its best foot forward to commemorate it.

Out of the blue, he then said that should include welcoming Bertie Ahern back into the party fold. He called on the party to act in “a spirit of inclusivity”.

It was one of those moments that Conamara people have a great expression for. ‘Tháinig sé Aniar Aduaidh orainn’ (it surprised us from the North West).

It had not been on the meeting agenda but now it was very much on the party’s agenda. Others piped up. Offaly TD Barry Cowen said that the time had come to readmit Ahern to Fianna Fáil. Over the next 24 hours colleagues joined in, saying a lot of water had flown under the bridge since a decade ago.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Sinn Féin still to learn that populism comes at a price

Published

on

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald meets up with US speaker Nancy Pelosi on her American tour last week.

World of Politics with Harry McGee

The Dáil kicked off again yesterday with the usual circus of press conferences, tetchy exchanges in the chamber and protests outside the gate. The first private members motion was tabled by the main opposition party, Sinn Féin, putting forward its own measures to assist with household bills.

Its main suggestion is to boot out this government and put Mary Lou McDonald in.

The regional group is next in line with a private members motion on Thursday. Surprise, surprise, it’s about the security of electricity supply.

The usual pre-Dáil niceties have now been dispensed with. All the political parties held parliamentary away days – or think-ins as they have been dubbed. I’m sure policy and strategy is discussed at some of them but the name of the game is to get your name up in lights before the Oireachtas kicks off.

As night follows day, it will only be a matter of days before the first no-confidence motion is tabled against a Government Minister. Given the huge price hikes in electricity and gas bills, it could be Minister for Energy Eamon Ryan who finds himself in the crosshairs of the opposition parties.

Then there’s the legislative programme. At the start of each new term, the Government Chief Whip Jack Chambers releases a list of about 40 Bills that are earmarked for publication before the session comes to an end. Getting half of them published would represent an exceptionally good performance.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads

Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending