Current Affairs Economics Politics

Joan Burton, Minister For Amnesia

Joan Burton, I’m coming for your children – with visas for Australia…! Grrr…

Joan Burton, the unapologetic “minister for austerity” and now Labour Party leader on the (unlikely) possibility of Sinn Féin being elected to government in 2016, via TheJournal:

““In my view if people were to give control of the economy to Sinn Féin then they might as well hand the keys of the country back to the Troika,” she told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.”

Er… wasn’t Burton part of a coalition government that actually did hand the keys of the country to the Troika? And if that was a such a calamitous event that Burton now recoils in horror from it why did she and her colleagues agree to it in the first place? Or is this more of the same revisionist spin that pretends the policies of the last several years were beyond the control of those in power and that they “saved” us from something worse?

Sorry but taking a lesson on recent Irish history from Joan Burton or anyone else in the current Fine Oibre administration is like taking a lesson on French history in WWII from Marshal Pétain.

What did you do in the war, mammy?

12 comments on “Joan Burton, Minister For Amnesia

  1. It is a moot point as to who was/is responsible for bankrupting the country but – just like the proverbial football manager whose team is relegated I think it fair to apportion most of the blame to warriors of corruption* who were in charge at the time.

    Inheriting the mess – Labour and FG had little choice when trying to borrow money but to go with the rules of the lenders and yer man from Limerick has done an admirable job as Minister for Finance in the circumstances. So, Joan Burton does have some right to question SF’s credentials in relation to ‘economics’ – whilst they sit in the comfort of opposition they can cherry pick what they support and dont support without the country having to suffer the consequences.

    This is what opposition parties do – so it is not unique to SF – but saying popular things comes at the price of leaving yourself open to charges of not being fit for government. In the North where ‘tory policies’ are being part implemented and SF are resisting the welfare cuts – hoping presumably the Englezes will cough up – this ‘economic sugar daddy’ scenario does not apply in the South where the ‘markets’ decide whether you can afford or not afford to make cuts.

    Quite how the Labour Part choice the quare-one Joan as their leader – associated with ‘the cuts’ in the mind of the public is another thing – surely there is some talent luring in thr lAbout party undergrowth somewhere?

    *Although there maybe some stiff competition from Italian parties I suspect FF are the most corrupt political party in post war Europe.


    • All true to an extent but FG/Lab are hardly cleanskins. Even the blessed Saint Fitzgerald was the beneficiary of financial largesse from the same sources one Squire Haughey made use of in times past. In the “county” of Fingal the local cumainn/branches of Fine Gael and Labour are pretty much by-words for nepotism and and cronyism. The former in particular are a prime example of the petty stuff (local councillors getting kitchen-extensions and garden conservatories, etc. during the building boom from interested parties with nominal payments exchanged just in case of later inquiries). The Celtic Sham was not FF’s alone.

      Labour, being a left-wing party (!), could have taken the Icelandic option. Instead they took the high-road to Berlin. No principles but the acquisition of power at all costs. Hopefully they will pay the lesson of that as a party though individual members have now secured their ministerial pensions for life whatever the electoral repercussions of their actions.

      SF has my vote – though only because there is no viable alternative. Thankfully that makes me aware of their many shortcomings. And the disparity between what they say nationally and what they do regionally.

      Wrote that post on the way into work via smartphone this morning. Full of spelling/grammar errors. Cringe! 😉


  2. I wasn’t suggesting that FF were the ONLY corrupt party in Ireland (the boy Lowry et al) but the MOST corrupt and arguably the MOST corrupt in Western Europe (our Italian friends aside) .

    Re. the Icelandic option – we may well have been thrown out of the EU for not paying back the German and British bankers who lent us the money we pissed up against the property wall.

    On balance and on reflection and with the benefit of hindsight the coalition took the right options and deserve in my opinion credit for that – BUT time will tell. Those who shouted from the sidelines like SF are reasonably open to the charge that MIGHT have fecked things up.

    Economics is largely like Psychology and Astrology – it is an organised but ultimately futile attempt to measure the unmeasurable as a basis for predicting the future and explaining the past

    …so as to who is right and who is wrong – Joan or Gerry – it is largely down to ideology.


    • I would agree that FF were the most corrupt political party in Ireland c.1960s-2000s. Not sure how I’d rate them now though. On good behaviour because they were found out but likely to re-offend when eyes are turned elsewhere 😉

      I think I might disagree that FF are/were the most corrupt political party in western Europe, in recent times at least. Even excluding Italy the Greeks and Spanish would surpass FF in terms of institutionalised corruption. And how does one define corruption? In some ways the Tories surpass FF in terms of lobby-driven corruption when it comes to policies and serving big friends (and networks of friends). And the Labour Party in Glasgow makes FF in Dublin look like choirboys. I’d say FF is definitely on an ignoble list but not sure where they are on it.


    • Last time I checked Icelanders were paying their debts back.


      • Ireland had to pay back their debts in a way that suited the club to which she belonged – the EU or risked being thrown out – which every party (including relatively belatedly SF) are not keen on being thrown out of.


  3. re. “I’d say FF is definitely on an ignoble list but not sure where they are on it”

    I agree it is difficult – perhaps number of main party personnel in prison or charged with corruption – might be one ingredient – not perfect by any means.

    But perhaps extra points should be awarded for the spinning of outrageous stories e.g. Berty going on the telly and crying and telling everyone that although he was Minister of Finance he didn’t do bank accounts

    and that he did a collection from a bunch of football supporters in Manchester and held it in a brown paper bag for safe keeping

    …or was that an episode of Father Ted.


  4. Dara O Rourke

    Crikey…the rehab of Fianna Fáil and from such an unlikely forum. While Sinn Féin get a free pass for their collaboration/corruption in da North. We watch with horrified anticipation.


  5. ar an sliabh

    The problem is that they are ALL corrupt. Some just more than others. The choice is between the devil and beelzebub. That is why they should be voted out every year and someone else in until they can prove they are doing something for the country and not themselves. They all suffer from “selective amnesia” when it comes to fulfilling promises once in power. This time around, I think SF should get a chance at either mucking things up more or making them better, they hadn’t had a go yet. Having lived in the United States, I can tell you that the most corrupt Europeans are clean-shirted choir boys compared to the rabble that shames the name “public servant” there.


    • Well electoral reform should be top of the list here. That would cut down on a lot of our political-corruption problems. Personally I’d prefer 4 or 5 provincial assemblies assuming all of the powers of local government plus additional ones, directly elected by PR for 5-year terms. I would couple that with a smaller Dáil elected by a national list-system for a 5-year term. There would be term limits on office (no more than five terms in the provincial or national assemblies; 25 years as a TD, etc. is enough) and the same retirement age as other citizens. I would also fix salaries to multiples of the average industrial wage (twice the average industrial wage for a TD, 2.5 for a minister, 3 times for taoiseach, etc.). Simple reforms with potentially big impacts.


      • ar an sliabh

        Agreed. Only one change to that plan: 10 years of service maximum, that way they have to get some of their pensions from another job, and with it have a vested interest in protecting those of their constituents.


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