By Red Hugh
Micheal Martin was the real winner of this election.
He sowed the seeds for victory at his party’s Ard Fheis when he created clear blue water between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael by tacking his party well to the left of their traditional rivals.
In that one simple but very clever strategic move he also somewhat stole Sinn Fein’s clothes by putting ‘inequality’ and ‘unfairness’ at the top of the political agenda even indicating that water charges would be kicked down the road for at least five years; so people who couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Gerry Adams and his party but detested this government suddenly found a home for their vote.
So this morning Fianna Fail is not only forgiven its sins but is back centre stage, Martin’s position as leader is secure and, if he wants, places in government now await himself and his party members.
That’s some turnaround from 2011 when Fianna Fail was almost wiped out. Mr Martin must feel it’s a job well done.
On the other side, I bet Enda and Joan would now like to get their hands on the ‘genius’ who came up with that ‘Let’s keep the recovery going’ slogan.
Far from winning them support, it played a massive role in alienating half the country. Make that about 70 per cent.
Look at the facts. Around 300,000 people have emigrated, no recovery for them. Almost 20 per cent of people between the ages of 15-24 are unemployed, no recovery for them. People waiting on trolleys in hospital corridors, no recovery for them. People on zero hour contracts, no recovery for them.
The ever growing number of people being evicted from their homes, no recovery for them. And the homeless crisis, described by Fr Peter McVerry as the worst he has ever seen it, meant no recovery for the people living in freezing doorways in cities across our country. So how stupid was this? Did no one in either Fine Gael or Labour actually check it out?
And, finally, what can you say about the Labour Party that hasn’t already been said? To justify the introduction of some of the most right wing policies since the formation of this State they said but for them it would have been much worse. That’s some endorsement.
And they wonder why they got rejected by the people of Ireland. Gee, go figure.