Raising the tone of the Dáil… the lonely task of Dr. Martin Mansergh January 31, 2008Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
Back in the Dáil, an environment periodically almost as fascinating as the US election, that was some shouting match between the Green Party and Fine Gael. I’ll be interested to see who is regarded as coming out of it best. Paul Gogarty and Ciarán Cuffe whipped themselves into a frenzy of arm waving and finger pointing at the Fine Gael benches. The accusations! The bitterness! The muttered, well, not so muttered words about shady dealing on councils! To be frank, they looked like they were relishing the opportunity. One wonders is there a back story there from the past five years of opposition. Anyway, I’m always dubious about the utility of political theater as exemplified by the first two TDs, but, in truth Gogarty hit the headlines on the RTÉ bulletins. Mary White was rather more restrained, and I caught sight of her on TG4.
Still, I have to say, I’m with Ciarán Cuffe as regards the unbelievably ignorant comments directed at Martin Mansergh when he made a few references in French during his contribution to the debate. The shouts of ‘you’re talking to Irishmen now’ weren’t exactly the high point of parliamentary or democratic debate. Granted one does not hear quotes from (I think) Beaumarchais in our parliamentary debate every day, and I don’t entirely warm to Mansergh, but fair dues for actually writing a speech that deviated a bit from the usual dumbed down boilerplate that we have – unfortunately – had the misfortune of experiencing time and again.
And isn’t the response fascinating. A Little Irelander mentality so close to the surface that one hardly need scratch it… why a phrase in the language of our allies of 1798 will do the trick…
I’m told that the Green Party were fairly pleased with the ultimate counter-motion that was presented to the Dáil. Nary a hint of churlish disdain of the Tribunal. So, perhaps emboldened by this success they decided to go the distance. Got to smile. Recently I was told by a Green party person that they (the GP) were in some sense the lost social democratic wing of FG. There’s more than a little something in that analysis. Still, doesn’t look like they’re going to be refound any day soon at this rate. Loathing is generally an intangible and nebulous thing, but it was strongly evident today.
I should make special mention about Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin’s piece which was dignified and apposite and showed just how to do it if you want to make serious political points against the government and Ahern. But as is all too evident, that’s not the name of this game for some… the japing and buffoonery exhibited at various points – and I’m looking at FG here -demonstrated that principled, and even ethical, considerations are taking a subsidiary place in this contest…