The people of Ireland, as they struggle with the disastrous consequences of political incompetence and corruption, can take solace in the knowledge that Fianna Fail TD Mary O’Rourke, the Marie Antoinette of Irish politics, understands their anger.
Speaking in defence of John O’Donoghue’s extravagant expenses on Newstalk’s Lunchtime (Wed 19th), O’Rourke said she could understand people’s anger as they struggled to cope with the economic crisis but didn’t think it was her place to criticise O’Donoghue.
This is not Fianna Fail propaganda but I wouldn’t put pressure on him to explain, why should I, he’s a minister and I’m a back bencher and we each live our lives according to ourselves and I would think he would be best positioned whether he should go public or not.
Civil servants, she said, were to blame for the expensive hotels, nothing to do with politicians.
Questioned on the need for O’Donoghue to spend a full week in Cheltenham at taxpayer’s expense she replied:
Agencies like Horse Racing Ireland would always want a front of house person to add a bit of glitz and colour.
On the angry public reaction to the scandal she said:
It’s 2009 and things are extremely difficult so we’re judging what happened some years ago in a land of plenty, at a time of plenty. We’re judging them by today’s much more rigorous and much more stringent circumstances and of course that gives an added patina of dissatisfaction and envy.
She goes on:
That kind of atavistic spirit which is so evident now and I can understand it being evident because times are very tight and people are wondering how to get school books and clothes on the back of kids. At a time like that sentiments of that kind of atavistic nature can produce themselves and can lead to anger.
I checked out the definition of ‘atavistic’. Pertaining to, or characterized by atavism; reverting to or suggesting the characteristics of a remote ancestor or primitive type.
On O’Donoghue’s refusal to provide an explanation.
Maybe he sees that in his present position of Ceann Comhairle that he doesn’t want to go public explaining things of three or four years ago, I mean what does he want (need) to explain?
On the practice of taking along partners on trips:
There are men and women who feel better and can perform better if they have a partner with them I don’t see anything wrong in that.
Here’s my interpretation of O’Rourke’s mindset.
I absolutely refuse to make any criticism of my fellow party colleague. I do, however, think he’s a brilliant servant of the State and its people. Civil servants are to blame for any extravagance and my colleague has no responsibility in the matter whatsoever.
Some citizens are, of course, angry but this is because they are too stupid to see that all this happened a long time ago and we now live in different times. This has resulted in a reversion to primitive instincts among the peasant class making them resentful and envious.
My good friend John may at some point decide to briefly lower himself to peasant level to explain, in simple terms, the intricacies of wielding great power but he must take care not to become too familiar with ordinary folk as this could have a detrimental affect on the prestige and respect due to him as holder of the illustrious office of Ceann Comhairle.