That “other context”… October 10, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
Some puzzled by Colm Keaveney’s communications in the wake of the Reilly crisis (and it is entirely possible that that crisis is still in train) may have been particularly interested in both the tone of that communication which was remarkably emollient as regards the LP leadership, given the mutterings about a mutual antipathy between him and them, and his mention of ‘another context’ to the resignation of Róisín Shortall.
There’s little to say about the former, but the Sunday Business Post suggests that:
This newspaper has learned that the other “context” to the resignation of junior health minister Roisin Shortall alluded to in an email by party chairman Colm Keaveney referred to the lack of notice Gilmore had received from Shortall to allow him troubleshoot the crisis.
Several sources said that Shortall had phoned Gilmore when he was in New York attending the United Nations General Assembly at seven minutes to seven in the evening and emailed her resignation two minutes later.
That’s it? There wasn’t enough notice when she decided to resign? That may well be true in and of itself, and that in some respects dips into gossip and personality politics, but the broader point is surely an imbalance of power between the Labour Party and Fine Gael in this administration, and it is beyond credibility that Eamon Gilmore would have over ridden FG in respect of the position and attitude of James Reilly. In other words however much notice was given, and according to other media sources both Kenny and Gilmore had made at least the show of attempting to arbitrate between Shortall and Reilly, it would have made no difference.
More importantly, and perhaps tellingly, the issue Shortall raised about the nature of the future direction of health service provision in this state – and competing models of same as regards FG and LP, has been fairly neatly sidelined during the past week. That should be brought back front and centre – whatever one’s thoughts about whether the LP version is of any great worth or not – as soon as possible.
What’s also interesting is the meta-narrative on this in the media. As always it is as if there are two narratives, one the one alluded to directly above, and then another which in some sense is the ‘real’ one, just barely visible beyond it. So on the one hand there is Shortall neatly fitted up as the fall-guy in this context who didn’t give enough notice of her intent to resign, was allegedly difficult’ and so on and so forth. And then one reads the following:
[Gilmore] restated assurances he had received from the Reilly that there was no political interference in the selection of sites.
Senior Labour figures told this newspaper that there “was a lot of political capital in those assurances of no political interference” last week and warned that Reilly was on his last chance.
The view is that Taoiseach Enda Kenny must act immediately against Reilly if these assurances were in any way disproved.
“There’s a limit we can take,” said a senior source.
Which suggests at least some degree of uncertainty about the bona fides of Reilly et al that in essence underscores Shortall’s criticism. And if Reilly goes or is forced to resign at any point in the future it will be a vindication of her stance. In other words far from the certainty exuded by the Tánaiste on this issue both publicly and to his party there’s anything but. Politics as usual – perhaps, but an intriguing if somewhat dispiriting insight into the nature of the LP in government.
And still it rumbles on…