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The ROI government is out of energy? Did it ever have any? December 11, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I wonder is Pat Leahy slightly over-egging matters when he argues that:

The whiff of complacency around the Cabinet also rather ignores one of the obvious facts around this administration – it is flat out of energy, purpose and mission.

But that is to suggest that at one time it was anything other than that. I can’t really believe that for a moment. This government, kept in power by FF, has always had an atmosphere of impermanence around it. Indeed it was never regarded as likely to last longer than six months by many media and other commentators.

As for the following…

Some people in Government are surprisingly sanguine about housing as a political issue. Just as they are about health. Whatever about Opposition hyperventilating, they believe, most voters know that houses can’t be built overnight and they also know – because they see them – that housebuilding is accelerating. Lurking behind this is the unspoken appreciation that increases in house prices are not viewed by many voters as an unalloyed evil, shall we say. More people (70-ish per cent) own their own homes than don’t, after all. That figure is likely to be even higher among Fine Gael voters.
This level-headedness may serve Fine Gael well in next year’s election. But it misses the potential for election debates to be framed around personal stories of the failure of public services.

That seems to me to be a very Leahyesque way of viewing the world. The ‘failures of public services’ is simply not a factor in housing where the public sector has been conspicuous by its absence. It surely is a failure of government, which is a different matter. And as to other public services, one can hear sotto voce the old privatising drumbeat in that framing. And while I’m sceptical that housing will be predominant amongst election issues I suspect most people do not believe this government, a Fine Gael government with an ideological aversion to state intervention, is actually redressing the lack of housing.


1. CL - December 11, 2019

“I suspect most people do not believe this government, a Fine Gael government with an ideological aversion to state intervention, is actually redressing the lack of housing.”-Wbs.

” Homelessness is a form of structural violence….

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission says “family hubs have normalised family homelessness….
Just like direct provision, family hubs are becoming long-term institutionalisation….
The monthly homelessness figures are only the tip of the iceberg of hidden homelessness and the wider housing unaffordability and insecurity crisis….
This is an economic and social catastrophe…
This crisis is a moral and policy failure of a system that has the resources and wealth to solve it. Homelessness is preventable and can be eliminated, as Finland shows. It is about the political willingness to do what is necessary….
But this Government has prioritised the interests of the banks, real estate investors, vulture funds, landlords and developers, over the housing needs of children.”

The problem is that ‘ideological aversion’; Varadkar and Fine Gael are more concerned with implementing a failed free market fundamentalism than with the quality of life of the disadvantaged.


2. Daire O'Criodain - December 11, 2019

Agree with most of this, but:

“And as to other public services, one can hear sotto voce the old privatising drumbeat in that framing.”

I read it a few times and I am over 60, but if ithere was voce at all, it was so sotto, I couldn’t hear a thing.


Alibaba - December 11, 2019

Me too. I agree with most of Rory Hearne’s article. He knows his stuff. But, the suggested solution doesn’t carry clout with me:

‘… a new housing and homelessness plan is urgently required. It is also time to put the right to housing in policy, law and the Constitution.’

I’m not against this, but it’s not enough to address the problem.


WorldbyStorm - December 11, 2019

Speaking of the Leahy article I think the problem is not a failure of public services as he suggests, so much as a failure of investment and extension of public services. That’s not the same thing, and Leahy’s proscriptions over time have appeared to me to be effectively market oriented, or at least that’s the base line from which he operates. In other words market or semi-market solutions are his approach and public services are more likely than not to ‘fail’ anyhow. Yet from my perspective the lack of housing isn’t a failure of public services, it’s a failure of political will to use the state and subsidiary entities, or collective organisations, to push for the provision of housing on a scale seen in the past. Which is really a failure of government to use public services to promote and deliver outcomes. And moving on from housing to say health as another public service which supposedly has ‘failed’ what does Leahy offer as an alternative in health to the status quo ante of a mixed provision rather than a national health service of some form or another? Because I tend to doubt that he would see the latter as a route he would be in favour of. Now that’s grand, people will take different positions on this but… his framing it as ‘a failure of public services’ is ideologically charged from the off.

Liked by 1 person

Alibaba - December 11, 2019

I agree with the exact point you make about Leahy’s reference to the ‘failure of public services’. Sorry I put my comment on Hearne in the wrong area.


WorldbyStorm - December 11, 2019

You’re grand, I was pretty sure that you were talking about Hearne. Wasn’t Hearne SWP once by the way?


Daire O'Criodain - December 12, 2019

Hmm:Case not proven at best. I read the emphasis as being on “services” rather than “public”. And, to be fair, Leahy is surely outshouted on “the failure of public services” by the archipelago of TDs on the left and that ‘s an observation rather than a criticism of the latter.

For what its worth, I think “failure” is overblown. There’s a lot that’s right and improving in public services in Ireland. Remembering in relation to health especially that the domain of need will always be greater than the capacity to eliminate it given continuing expansion of both that capacity and its cost. Unfortunately, “Most things work” won’t sell papers. “Things are going to hell in a hangbasket” might.


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