Interview with John Halligan TD August 4, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
…in this fortnight’s edition of Hot Press out today. Conducted by Jason O’Toole it’s an interesting one. Halligan, surely, has had one of the strangest political journey’s of any current TD, given that he came from the WP and left it remarkably late in 2008 (or recently depending upon your point of view) for the presumably more congenial territory of the Independents before… becoming a significant figure in the Independent Alliance, that curious vehicle whose purpose in directing a tranche of TDs direct to the heart of government was notably effective (though a cynic might say that this time around anyone willing to sign on the dotted line was going to be included). For now Halligan is Minister for Training, Skills and Innovation.
It’s a wide ranging interview too. Halligan isn’t a man to hold back on any number of topics including cosmology, atheism, poetry, the Moody Blues, sex, regulation or criminalisation of prostitution, a Bill on assisted suicide that he’s introduced to the Dáil, and…er… Leninism and revolution:
Without reservation, the newly appointed Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation defines himself as a socialist. But he refuses to be pigeonholed as a Marxist. “It’s like saying, do I like a particular poet? I love poetry but I don’t like all poets,” he says philosophically.
“I think it’s always best to take parts of Marxism, Leninism, parts of the Capitalist system.
“Am I a revolutionary? I am a revolutionary in the sense that I think all of us in our heart and minds are revolutionaries: we want to change society for the better. Every time you want to change society you have to become a revolutionist.
So how’s the government thing working out?
As a self-confessed radical and Marxist, you must be extremely uncomfortable being in government?
Yes, of course I am (laughs)! They won’t like me saying that! For Christ sake, I’ve had more rows with them already on the fatal foetal abnormality and other issues. Am I comfortable with Fine Gael? No!
There are some decent people in Fine Gael. I think people like Simon Coveney would be honourable.
I’ve gotten on with him pretty well. I think he’s upfront and honest.
What’s striking is how little there is on economy – he does discuss at length ‘rip-off landlords’ and it is clear he is passionate about a range of issues. He mentions the restoration of people between 18 to 24 to full social welfare entitlement, but in terms of a broader framework it’s not clear what his thoughts are. Indeed perhaps this last is revealing:
So why prop FG up?
Jason, the problem is this: we had an election, the people voted as they voted. Now, the people said, ‘This is how we have voted. Form up and do something’. I don’t think people want an election. They want some stability for a short period of time – maybe a year or two years, and we’ll have to try and give them that. We need some sense of stability, especially with what’s happening with Brexit and what’s happening across the world.
Well worth a read. Good to see Hot Press and O’Toole running interviews like this. If ever we had a time when it’s useful to get some grasp of those in and out of government in Irish politics it is now.