Across The Pondby Paddy Duffy
- "Guns & Roses" - How left wing coalition might be Ireland's Labour Party's only hope
- Home thoughts from abroad can cause serious January blues - New year blues for immigrants leaving their families again
- 2012 a tale of two Northern Irelands - from the celebrations of the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympics to the violent Union flag protests
- The Irish langauge, the X-Case and youth voices heard: Being Young And Irish Seminar concludes
- Belfast's Marie Stopes clinic -- the last thing vulnerable women need is a culture war over abortion
As it stands, Brian Cowen literally stands on the brink of being illegal. His government, blighted by retirements and withdrawls, is down to the bare minimum the constitution requires: seven members, all of whom now have implausibly large workloads. Pat Carey for example, the one of the seven who looks most like Yul Brynner, is currently Minister for Transport, Gaeltacht and Community Affairs, Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. Eamon O’Cuiv also has three ministries, but such is his work ethic that he also applied for another one: leader of Fianna Fáil. Yes, because while Brian Cowen is still Taoiseach, he’s no longer leader of the party that following the Greens’ pull out is the only component of government. There is hopefully a dimension somewhere where all this makes sense.
As Irish political crises go, it’s the most baffling and volatile we’ve had in a long while. This one has inevitably been compared to all manner of past disasters, but as is often the case with Muppets, one of these things is not like the other.
“WE’RE SICK OF THIS GOVERNMENT AND WON’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!” “YEAH!”
“WE WANT DRASTIC CHANGE IN THE WAY THIS COUNTRY OPERATES!” “YEAH!”
Even though his personal finances wouldn’t have been out of place in 1920’s Chicago, and even though he and his government ran the country in a fashion so lackadaisical it was almost Zen-like, on the two central acid tests of the election (the North and the economy) Bertie was deemed to have passed with a push and prevented the opposition from winning what should have been a slam dunk of an election. It also helped that a sizeable portion of the population seemed to think he was a puppy, as criticism of Bertie back then was often met with a loud chorus of “Ah would ye leave him alone, sure he’s only lovely!” Boy, was that a mistake.
Now, two years after the former captain of Ireland’s political Hindenburg fritzed out the controls and leapt off with the only parachute on board, Bertie Ahern announced on New Year’s Eve that he was officially giving up the old flying Zeppelins business. That Ahern won’t run in next year’s general election, thus bringing an end to his 34 year reign of inanity, is no doubt satisfying, but in so announcing he made some statements that brought my gorge rising levels back to 2007 standards.