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Thread: Leadership

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    Default Leadership

    There is much commentry about the lack of leadership within both the government and Fine Gael right now. But what makes a 'good' leader?

    I got to thinking about leaders I would admire as such in Irish politics and came up with the following list. In doing so, I only went back as far as the 70's. I do not necessarily admire their causes or politics - some I detest - but I believe they had leadership qualities in that they were focussed, articulate, projected a sense of substance, commanded the support of (at least) their followers and were certainly noticed.

    In no particular order, these are who I consider to be/have been leaders:

    Ian Paisley
    Gerry Adams
    Charles J. Haughey
    Dick Spring
    Declan Ganley
    Mary Robinson


    I have no FG leaders in there. John Bruton would be the closest to making it in my opinion though I was an admirer of FitzGerald.

    Remember, these are not necessarily representative of my political leanings.

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    Politics.ie Member farnaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by consultant View Post
    There is much commentry about the lack of leadership within both the government and Fine Gael right now. But what makes a 'good' leader?

    I got to thinking about leaders I would admire as such in Irish politics and came up with the following list. In doing so, I only went back as far as the 70's. I do not necessarily admire their causes or politics - some I detest - but I believe they had leadership qualities in that they were focussed, articulate, projected a sense of substance, commanded the support of (at least) their followers and were certainly noticed.

    In no particular order, these are who I consider to be/have been leaders:

    Ian Paisley
    Gerry Adams
    Charles J. Haughey
    Dick Spring
    Declan Ganley
    Mary Robinson


    I have no FG leaders in there. John Bruton would be the closest to making it in my opinion though I was an admirer of FitzGerald.

    Remember, these are not necessarily representative of my political leanings.
    You're missing two criteria to define a great leader. One is success in achieving your major goals (including having that success attributed to your leadership).

    The other is the sense that that person has universal appeal, could have been a successful leader in another context of equal or greater importance. What we really want, in other words, is an Irish leader good enough to be US president if he/she were able to stand! None on that list are remotely near that, they are mostly respected leaders in a small field (or in Haughey's case a despised leader...). Dev and Lemass probably had some of that greater-than-the-role-itself leadership aura but I can't think of a Taoiseach since who has.

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    Quote Originally Posted by farnaby View Post
    You're missing two criteria to define a great leader. One is success in achieving your major goals (including having that success attributed to your leadership).

    The other is the sense that that person has universal appeal, could have been a successful leader in another context of equal or greater importance. What we really want, in other words, is an Irish leader good enough to be US president if he/she were able to stand! None on that list are remotely near that, they are mostly respected leaders in a small field (or in Haughey's case a despised leader...). Dev and Lemass probably had some of that greater-than-the-role-itself leadership aura but I can't think of a Taoiseach since who has.
    While I haven't gone for the 'great' leader tag, I agree with your first point and would suggest that all those on my list achieved their major goals.

    Your second point I disagree with. I don't think that messianic qualities are relevant to leadership though they enhance it, that is true. Leadership can only really be judged within the scope that the individual operates. And I do despise Haughey but recognise his leadership qualities.

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    Politics.ie Member Telemachus's Avatar
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    People who sacrifice their own self-interest for the whole. People who put good principle above politics. They dont have to be big men.

    Enoch Powell (was an NI politician also)

    Ian Paisley also.
    Last edited by Telemachus; 30th September 2010 at 09:26 PM.
    ..the Irish nation can become other than white, by privileging the voices of the racialised and subverting state immigration but also integration policies. Ronit Lentin

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    Quote Originally Posted by Telemachus View Post
    People who sacrifice their own self-interest for the whole. People who put good principle above politics. They dont have to be big men.

    Enoch Powell (was an NI politician also)

    Ian Paisley also.

    We agree on Paisley - I hadn't thought of Powell tbh.

    I would argue that the success of the Peace Process is more attributable to Paisley than any other. I've no doubt that Ahern and Blair would probably have settled for an agreement without the decommissioning which was a key and emotional aspect of the final acceptance.

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    Politics.ie Member Telemachus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by consultant View Post
    We agree on Paisley - I hadn't thought of Powell tbh.

    I would argue that the success of the Peace Process is more attributable to Paisley than any other. I've no doubt that Ahern and Blair would probably have settled for an agreement without the decommissioning which was a key and emotional aspect of the final acceptance.
    You are dead right, Only a source of strength and leadership like Paisley was going to push through the reforms. An incredible rock of the unionist people. He was a source, so what he said had great weight.
    ..the Irish nation can become other than white, by privileging the voices of the racialised and subverting state immigration but also integration policies. Ronit Lentin

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