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The other Independents… February 28, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Thought it interesting the reports during the week that one group in government at the present were not approached at all over the national children’s hospital controversy – those being the Independent Alliance Ministers.
And a curious point is noted by Fiach Kelly.

Insults and animosity flew between Fine Gael, Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil. Halligan’s brief, jack-in-the-box contribution was the reminder that the Independents are still part of this government, too.
Hardly any Opposition figures felt it necessary to attack the Alliance, a change from standard practice on such occasions when the junior partner in government is targeted as the soft underbelly.

I suspect that the IA are regarded as effectively a wing, if not of Fine Gael, then of the government sitting in a slightly detached position. They’re not going to be prised away short of catastrophe so why would the opposition waste their ammunition on them. It would be the equivalent of targeting Simon Coveney in the hope that he would leave Fine Gael.

Kelly makes some other very sound points. Not least that while there are those on the Independent ranks (opposition!) who will never enter government, by contrast there are those who would be more than likely to answer the call since even sharing some measure of power with a Fine Gael government is congenial enough that former WP and Fine Gael members can stomach it.

I do though find the following entertaining:

Ministers of wildly different talent and application would have to be tolerated, and questionable policies – such as Ross’s plan to exempt pensioners from property tax, a proposal shamelessly aimed at his Dublin Rathdown electorate – paid lip service before being shelved. Risible policies and dud ministers, however, are not the exclusive preserve of Independents.

Gazing at the FF benches, or those of FG, I have to say having done so across the years I don’t think it entirely fair on the IA crew, however much their politics seems constrained by ambition, to argue that they contain greater variations in talent and application than their vastly larger partner. Say what one may about their Ministers but they are assiduous and hard-working.

And Kelly isn’t wrong in the following:

Above all, the Alliance has demonstrated that the once-exotic can remain bought. Their quiescence may, in time, be seen as a welcome indication that governments with a handful of Independents in senior positions can last the distance.”

Not so much a flood, not really a trickle…


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