jump to navigation

Incivility in Irish political life… January 22, 2021

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.

Stephen Collins is very exercised this morning about a problem in Irish politics…

[Biden’s] plea to American politicians to “stop the shouting and lower the temperature” could well be applied to Dáil Éireann where aggressive grandstanding by Opposition TDs like Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald and Richard Boyd Barrett have become the norm. Trump thrived on fomenting bitterness and division, constantly attempting to create conflict between “us and them”. A key element of the strategy was to portray political opponents as part of some ill-defined “elite” as distinct from the “ordinary people” he claimed to represent. It is no accident that the Trump social media strategy has been adopted here by Sinn Féin and a variety of extremists who dominate exchanges with aggressive and hate-filled messages which tend to drive more considered voices to the margins. Irish politics has steadily become more Trumpian in recent years and there is no sign that is about to change.

Now some of us would think that – given the level of antagonism displayed between M. Martin and L. Varadkar prior to their forming a coalition that these complaints are overblown, to put it mildly (and one could add to that the aggression of Martin towards McDonald over the years, and Varadkar similarly though to a slightly lesser degree, which has been marked by aggression and conflict and contempt). And the idea that Boyd Barrett or McDonald have had to learn anything or adopt anything from Trump is risible. Or even that their politics is akin to that of Trump likewise.

But unfortunately the very same day as Collins puts forward his argument we have a real example of an event that without question sits on the spectrum of Trumpist and worse behaviour. For only this morning one can read in the Examiner how…

The Lord Mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu has hit out at ongoing racism and intimidation after a group of far-right protestors showed up at her home and challenged her for wearing a face mask. A female member of the protestors was arrested and later fined for breaching public health laws. Ms Chu, who was born in Dublin to Chinese parents, has come under sustained and unrelenting abuse online from racist and far-right accounts since becoming lord mayor of Dublin.

And she related today on RTÉ how one of the protestors shouted at her ‘we’ll catch you on video turning into a dragon’ which presumably is one of the vile QAnon adjacent ‘theories’ about a global and political elite who are reptiles. As she notes:

“It’s not about my policies because no other Green Party rep is being protested.”

Odd isn’t it how Collins focuses on the – frankly – rather performative Oireachtas chamber and ignores actual events taking place outside it where a public representative is subjected to vicious and racist abuse from the far-right. Which tells us quite a bit about the focus of at least one tranche of Irish middle class political opinion.


1. irishelectionliterature - January 22, 2021

It’s a ridiculous comparison. If he were focusing on anyone it should be those Independents like Michael McNamara and Michael Collins that have been pandering to some of the anti vax, covid is a hoax nonsense.
He should look closer to home…. The IT and Indo themselves are still platforming Iona and other far right columnists.

Liked by 4 people

2. banjoagbeanjoe - January 22, 2021

Bleeding hell. I can’t find the Stupid Stuff in the Media thread but this IT article is my entry

The headline talks about the left’s lockdown critique. The article itself is all about the philosopher Giorgio Agamben. And left he ain’t. He appears to have claimed that there is no Covid 19 pandemic, it’s just like a bad cold for most people, lockdowns are a breach of people’s rights and should be scrapped. You know, the kind of stuff that leading leftists like Gemma O’Doherty and others have been spouting.

So left of Labour and SF in Ireland – Solidarity PbP and WP and others – have all argued for the total shutdown, eradicate the virus approach. But the IT does an article on the left’s lockdown critique that seems to imply that the Gemma O’Dohertys of this world are the left.

Sweet, suffering wotsit.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - January 22, 2021

That’s great, that’s in, thanks a million. The IT continues its descent.


sonofstan - January 22, 2021
WorldbyStorm - January 22, 2021

Actually I find the framing of the story and indeed some of the comments by the PhD student a bit more troubling than what Agamben’s line is, however problematic that is. The idea this is a ‘left’ critique seems askew, but the sort of ‘I don’t agree with this part but he’s got a point’ stuff is of a piece with a broader trend in the IT to deny or diminish the nature of the pandemic.


3. crocodileshoes - January 22, 2021

You’ve dealt well with the stupidity of the content – isn’t it interesting, too, that Collins can have a career of 40 years or whatever as an IT columnist, but still not know how to make the number of his verb agree with the subject of his sentence, as in the first sentence you quote? This is to be seen everywhere nowadays, but from a 60-something veteran of the press gallery!

Liked by 2 people

WorldbyStorm - January 22, 2021

And these guys are paid for it! Incredible.


4. tomasoflatharta - January 22, 2021

Great post!

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - January 22, 2021

Thanks Tomas!


Fergal - January 22, 2021

And Collins never sees the splinter in his side’s eye… in the same week where Donnelly’s middle-class bully boy tactics. were on display in the Dáil and Foley’s incompetency with lashings of sharpness made the news Collins fails to mention these?

Liked by 1 person

5. Incivility in Irish political life… | Tomás Ó Flatharta - January 22, 2021
6. Pangurbán - January 22, 2021

Of course in the old days Irish politics were a model of civility with election time shouts of “ seventy seven” or “:Eddie Coll the Spanish bastard” or indeed joe lenihan (ind, Mayo) to CCOB “ what about the black babies”:: and of course the 1977 FF election promises


WorldbyStorm - January 22, 2021

Exactly Pangurbán. Agree completely.


7. sonofstan - January 22, 2021

The stuff Hazel Chu has had to put up with is appalling.


Fergal - January 22, 2021

Absolutely Son… awful stuff altogether


WorldbyStorm - January 22, 2021

It’s disgusting. The idiocy and viciousness of those attacking her is something else. And – though this makes no difference – – she’s one of the more leftish GP people.


sonofstan - January 23, 2021

But one of the givens of official Ireland is that we are not ever ever racist, not us. Not like those Brits/ Americans.

Liked by 1 person

8. Klassenkampf Treehugger - January 22, 2021

Don’t look at the disasterous handling of the pandemic by the Fx/Green government, look over here…

The IT is a sad excuse for a quality newspaper.


WorldbyStorm - January 22, 2021

It’s so teeth grindingly middle class Irish


9. roddy - January 23, 2021

The best example of incivility ,I ever witnessed was a local woman shouting at a Unionist candidate outside our polling station.She shouted “you murdered your father on the 12th morning”.There was actually a large grain of truth in her accusation! Said candidate was the son of a very highly regarded protestant who was on very good terms with all his catholic neighbours.The son decided it would be a good idea to erect a union jack on the family home on the 12th July but his father objected strongly.When the flag was produced,a struggle ensued between father and son and the father collapsed on the street with a fatal heart attack.Suffice to say the candidate was for the first time in his political career lost for words!


10. Daniel Rayner O'Connor - January 24, 2021

Exchange from the days of ‘civility’:
Time c 1953.
Place Dail Eireann,
Deputy P.Cowan (Ind); A ceancomharle, would it be out of order to call the Minister a sewer rat?
Ceancomharle; It most certainly would be.
Cowan: Thank you, Aceancomharle, the sewer rats in my constituency will be delighted to hear this.
(Actually, I don’t think this was truly trumpian; it was far too genuinely witty)

Liked by 1 person

Miguel62 - January 24, 2021

Allegedly (according to my long dead grandfather) said about James Dillon.

TD: Deputy Dillon doesn’t have the manners of a pig
Ceann Comhairle: You must withdraw that remark
TD : Alright then. Deputy Dillon does have the manners of a pig.

No idea whether it’s true or not but it should be!

Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: