Joan Burton: Just another gombeen poltician

Joan Burton, just days into the office of Tanaiste, confirms that she’s nothing more than your average gombeen politician.

When asked about the suggestion that her deputy leader, Alan Kelly, should intervene in the Garth Brooks farce she said:

Ah…not intervene in terms of the decision of the (Dublin city) manager but help the manager and assist the manager if he is, if he has the capacity to review it.

This is pure, unadulterated gombeenism with echoes of mafia speak. When the law of the land becomes awkward officials are ‘requested to accept assistance’ in skirting around the problem.

Here are the facts:

There was an agreement that no more than three evening events a year would be staged at Croke Park. Those three events had already taken place by the time the Garth Brooks concerts were suggested.

Garth Brooks and the organisers responded to the massive public reaction to the concerts by adding on two more.

Dublin City manager Owen Keegan bent over backwards by allowing the initial three concerts to take place.

Garth Brooks reacted, probably out of greed, by threatening that if he couldn’t have five concerts, he wasn’t going to do any.

In other words, the typical schoolboy response – It’s my ball, so you have to play by my rules.

It was at this point that Ireland revealed its true character to the world.

Appeals to the White House, pleading with the Mexican ambassador, a stupid demand by independent TD Finian McGrath that Keegan should step down, political point scoring, calls to change the law to accommodate Brooks and so on.

To his great credit Owen Keegan stood his ground. He knows, I suspect, that if he caves in to the pressure he will be making a mockery of the planning laws, of his office and, ultimately, of the country.

It seems that Garth Brooks has learned, probably from previous visits to Ireland, that Irish law is not necessarily there for the public good. He seems to know that, unlike his own country where his arrogant/greedy behaviour would never be tolerated, the law in Ireland operates on a nod and wink basis depending on who and how much money is involved.

Joan Burton could have shown that she’s different, that she’s politician of substance. She could have issued a statement on the matter supporting Owen Keegan’s decision signaling to everybody, and in particular to her coalition partner, that the gombeen culture that has done so much damage to Ireland and its people was at its end.

Sadly, Burton is as lacking in courage and vision as the man she replaced.

The people of Ireland continue their long wait for real leadership.

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Joan Burton