Writing about the Shannon controversy in yesterday’s Irish Times (Sub required)Fintan O’Toole noted that Irish voters still haven’t grasped the fundamental point that you get what you vote for. Voters in the broad Midwest region gave Fianna Fail a clear endorsement in the last election in the belief that Shannon would be protected.
He expressed astonishment that Irish voters still actually believe the utterances of Irish politicians like that of Martin Cullen in May 2005.
“In the context of any decision to reduce State ownership in Aer Lingus, all the options available within the regulatory framework will be examined to ensure adequate ongoing access to Heathrow for Irish consumers”.
Cowardice is another trait common to Irish politicians but, amazingly, many Irish voters are shocked that the leader of the country has run away and refuses to deal with the crisis.
Double talk and dishonesty are also features of the Irish political scene. A letter in today’s Irish Times makes the point.
Madam, – So Willie O’Dea thinks that the Aer Lingus decision to axe the Shannon-Heathrow route is “wrong”.
Apparently, he is willing to attempt to persuade the company to change its mind, in direct contradiction to the position of the Taoiseach and the Minister for Transport.
So is this a genuine matter of conviction for Mr. O’Dea, or is it just an opportunity for some cheap publicity?
The last occasion on which Mr. O’Dea stood up against his own government was in 2000 during the introduction of taxi deregulation.
In Limerick, Mr. O’Dea told a meeting of local taxi drivers that the policy was “disastrous and unworkable”, that they should continue protesting against the move, suggesting that the decision could be reversed if enough pressure was exerted.
Two weeks later in Dublin, however, he made a pathetic and grovelling apology to his government colleagues “for any embarrassment caused” and said: “I fully support government policy on deregulation”.
Mr. O’Dea added that if he had known that his speech to Limerick taxi drivers was being recorded, he would not have said what he did.
Madam, one wonders if Mr. O’Dea realised his recent comments on Aer Lingus were being recorded!
The Taoiseach said in the wake of the taxi deregulation saga: “I will not tolerate views that are contrary to the collective responsibility of government.”
So will Mr. O’Dea now be dismissed from the Government by the Taoiseach, since he is now once again in complete public disagreement with Government policy?
And when the Dáil resumes in September, will Mr. O’Dea put his money where his mouth is and vote against the Government in protest at its inaction on the Shannon issue; or will he settle back nicely into his departmental leather chair once the silly season ends, finding himself, once again, in full agreement with Government policy?
No prizes for guessing. – Yours, etc,
For decades, Irish citizens have been voting for liars, cowards and double talkers. The surprising thing is that they continue to be surprised when those they elect then betray them.