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Dublin: 10 °C Sunday 31 August, 2014

Column: Fianna Fáil renewed? No, the optics tell a different story

The party of Cowen and Coughlan may have apologised – but they don’t seem to have got the point, writes Philip O’Connor.

Philip O'Connor

“THERE IS NO other Troy/For me to burn”, sang a young, angry Sinéad O’Connor back in the day.

If she’d been watching the born-again fervour at the RDS last night, where Fianna Fáil were attempting to once again smear a little lipstick on the pig of their failed politics, she would have found one.

Robert Troy blew hard in the trumpet, and then he was there – the man who apparently only arrived in Ireland a year ago, and had nothing to do with its ruination – Micheál Martin.

No doubt Martin believes he spoke bravely as he forked his tongue around an apology that was – in contrast to RTÉ’s reporting – anything other than unequivocal.

In fact, the apology started with equivocation:

It’s not enough to point to the worst world recession in 80 years and the Eurozone crisis.  Nor to point to the fact that other parties were demanding policies which would have made things worse.

It’s worth pointing out that Ireland’s troubles are not a result of the Eurozone crisis- we are in fact the cause of a great deal of it. And for that, the blame lies one thousand percent with Martin and the rest of his Fianna Fáil spivs, who were – lest we forget – in power at the time.

He continues to perpetuate one of Bertie’s many, many lies. Nothing has changed.

But for all his bluster, his attempt to regain the high ground of Republicanism from Sinn Féin was probably the most laughable – here was the party that sold this country down the river, throwing away our hard-won sovreignty, claiming to be Republicans?

If Tony McCoy’s undercarriage is ever damaged beyond repair, he can transplant Martin’s neck as fine replacement.

But if the laughter in a million living rooms wasn’t enough, the optics were the most damning.

‘This crisis is something that just happened to them’

Every time Martin spoke of pride and achievement and of a new kind of politics, the camera panned to the Soldiers of Destiny who were the architects of our national downfall – Cowen, Coughlan and the spineless goons that kept them in power, not to mention Martin himself.

Not only that – the party faithful actually applauded them. It would appear the party faithful are also at least partly mad.

As the recent interview with the despicable Mary Hanafin has proved, nothing in Fianna Fáil has changed – not their policies, not their leadership, not their sense that they did nothing wrong.

This crisis is something that just happened to them. They consider themselves to be desperately unlucky, rather than grossly inept and fantastically corrupt.

What they should have done was to go around to the other side of the RDS, where a careers fair was taking place.

There, they would have met the thousands desperate for a better future – any future – now forced to leave the country because of the catastrophic greed and failure of Fianna Fáil.

There, they could have prostrated themselves before those who are the true victims of this crisis- not themselves, as they would have you believe.

And there, they could have given the greatest apology of all, which would be to close down their corrupt, cancerous party and start anew.

That would have been an apology worth making.

This article first appeared on Philip’s blog, Ourmaninstockholm: Irishman’s reflections from Sweden. Philip’s book about the travails of playing GAA in Sweden, A Parish Far From Home, is published by Gill & Macmillan with a foreword by Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh.

More: Micheál Martin apologises for Fianna Fáil’s mistakes>

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