Are the wheels about to come off the new multiparty coalition government before it can even trundle out of the garage? Things are looking difficult for the spindly tricycle hammered together by Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens. The much diminished Legion of the Rearguard in FF, championed by the likes of Éamon Ó Cuív and a handful of well-known grassroots’ veterans, has come out in opposition to the draft deal with the support of an even smaller cadre of members more concerned about their future electoral prospects than betraying the party’s republican past. The ghosts of Civil War and the potential for Sinn Féin to annex the political ground lost – or wilfully abandoned – by Fianna Fáil are the concerns exercising the dissidents more than anything else.
Fine Gael members on the other hand seem rather more at ease with the possibility of an imminent partnership with the old foe. While some disquiet is still being expressed within the party there is also a certain degree of smugness at the thought of the Corner Boys coming cap in hand to the door of the Big House. Some of the more historically conscious Blueshirts fancy themselves as modern-day Treatyites feeding the Free State soup to the Soldiers of Destiny by enticing them into a collaborative administration. Even if that means splitting party politics in the country along far more explicit socio-economic lines rather than the blurry right-wing Christian democratic “nationalism” versus centre-right populist “republicanism” that has dominated events in Dáil Éireann for the last ninety years.
If the now diminished big beasts of Irish politics are having a few hiccups in selling the would-be deal to their cubs, some in the Green Party are looking positively nauseous at the thoughts of becoming the minority partner in the proposed Establishment lashup. While the GP leadership and much of the Oireachtas grouping has no such qualms the newer and in most cases considerably younger membership are finding the suggested administration and its bare-boned retread policies far less appealing. Will the possibility of status and influence calm their nerves? It’s remarkable what bitter pills can be swallowed when the prospect of a seat at the top table of a semi-state agency is on offer.
Meanwhile, a taster of what an “Official Ireland Government Inc.” might bring us in the months and years ahead (assuming it survives beyond the autumn) from the Oirish Mirror:
Micheal Martin is facing a battle for the soul of Fianna Fail to fulfil his dream of becoming Taoiseach – amid sinister claims that “Russian bots” are involved in trying to derail the deal.
Opposition in the party to the historic coalition with Fine Gael and the Greens has gathered pace after a disastrous poll showed it at just 14 percent support among voters.
An online group, ‘Fairer Future’ – claiming to have the support of 50 of the party councillors and 1,000 members – is actively campaigning against the agreement.
One of the TDs who helped negotiate the deal has now claimed Twitter accounts based in Russia were seeking to influence the debate.
“It is being retweeted by ‘Russian bots’ which is absolutely extraordinary in the internal affairs of a political party in this country.”
This of course is absolute bollocks. However its also indicative of a party that once marched selflessly on the high road to the republic but long ago took to skulking around some self-serving boreens.