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Thread: A microcosm of how Irish politics is dysfunctional

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    Politics.ie Member DaveM's Avatar
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    Default A microcosm of how Irish politics is dysfunctional

    When I arrived home earlier this afternoon I found my freshly delivered copy of the Local Wicklow Times awaiting me in the letter box. Now this publication is never going to make onto the essential reading lists for the world's leading opinion shapers but the front page this week really summed up a symptom which shines a light on the dysfunctionality of our political and electoral system.

    The leading article refers to the vacant Minister of State for Agriculture position which created by the untimely and tragic death of Deputy Shane McEntee before Christmas.

    The headline is:

    WILL ENDA IGNORE CO. WICKLOW AGAIN?
    You can see where this is going.

    The article opens as follows:

    There is widespread alarm in Wicklow Fine Gael that Enda Kenny may bypass the county once again when appointing the new Minister of State for Agriculture. Observers from all political parties agree that County Wicklow deserves a Minister, or at least a Minister of State, having delivered three TD's at the last election; especially as all those were elected as poll toppers.

    Also, the elected Wicklow Deputies would appear to be the best qualified to fill the vacancy that has arisen from the tragic death of Shane McEntee.
    So Wicklow deserves a minister? How exactly does a county deserve a minister? Surely the most able person for the job should be appointed? Of course the article, after hitting with the local angle first, moves onto the issue of the best qualified candidate but apparently all of Wicklow's FG TDs are "best qualified". No TD from any other constituency is mentioned.

    Now both Billy Timmins and Andrew Doyle have been opposition spokespersons on Agriculture, Timmins has a degree in Agricultural Economics and Doyle currently chairs the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture so they actually are decent candidates. Harris got lots of votes and that's about it. In any event he cites Doyle as the best candidate for the job. The article concludes by saying Timmins has no chance as he voted against Kenny in the heave and the Taoiseach can't stand him so Doyle is the only realistic contender.

    However the main thrust of the article is that Wicklow needs a minister, Wicklow deserves a minister and Enda will have let Wicklow down again if we don't get a minister. Suitability is very much a secondary consideration.

    Unfortunately suitability will also be very much a secondary consideration when Enda comes to make his decision. Remember the "Limerick needs a man in cabinet" when Willie finally fell on his sword? Enda will as always consider who is his friend and what constituency needs a boost before the next GE when making such an appointment. Some competency is supposedly required but not necessarily all that much. Phil Hogan anyone?

    This just goes to show how the PR-STV system of large multi-seat constituencies pushes issues such as geography to the fore in making appointments both in the minds of politicians and in the minds of the public. Quite frankly, it's b*llocks. Best person for the job should be the only consideration.

    All politics may be local but when it comes to Ireland it sometimes seems that no politics is national.
    Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum.

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    Cliche Number 1: all politics is local. Cliche Number 2: democracy is about balance and shared power. Cliche Number 3: mastery of conflicting claims grants the right to play at the big table. All that said, I agree with you!

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    Politics.ie Member ticketyboo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveM View Post
    When I arrived home earlier this afternoon I found my freshly delivered copy of the Local Wicklow Times awaiting me in the letter box. Now this publication is never going to make onto the essential reading lists for the world's leading opinion shapers but the front page this week really summed up a symptom which shines a light on the dysfunctionality of our political and electoral system.

    The leading article refers to the vacant Minister of State for Agriculture position which created by the untimely and tragic death of Deputy Shane McEntee before Christmas.

    The headline is:



    You can see where this is going.

    The article opens as follows:



    So Wicklow deserves a minister? How exactly does a county deserve a minister? Surely the most able person for the job should be appointed? Of course the article, after hitting with the local angle first, moves onto the issue of the best qualified candidate but apparently all of Wicklow's FG TDs are "best qualified". No TD from any other constituency is mentioned.

    Now both Billy Timmins and Andrew Doyle have been opposition spokespersons on Agriculture, Timmins has a degree in Agricultural Economics and Doyle currently chairs the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture so they actually are decent candidates. Harris got lots of votes and that's about it. In any event he cites Doyle as the best candidate for the job. The article concludes by saying Timmins has no chance as he voted against Kenny in the heave and the Taoiseach can't stand him so Doyle is the only realistic contender.

    However the main thrust of the article is that Wicklow needs a minister, Wicklow deserves a minister and Enda will have let Wicklow down again if we don't get a minister. Suitability is very much a secondary consideration.

    Unfortunately suitability will also be very much a secondary consideration when Enda comes to make his decision. Remember the "Limerick needs a man in cabinet" when Willie finally fell on his sword? Enda will as always consider who is his friend and what constituency needs a boost before the next GE when making such an appointment. Some competency is supposedly required but not necessarily all that much. Phil Hogan anyone?

    This just goes to show how the PR-STV system of large multi-seat constituencies pushes issues such as geography to the fore in making appointments both in the minds of politicians and in the minds of the public. Quite frankly, it's b*llocks. Best person for the job should be the only consideration.

    All politics may be local but when it comes to Ireland it sometimes seems that no politics is national.
    Harmless nonsense, Dave, based on the exploits of regional press everywhere, I would hazard. Up here the Donegal papers often have the most remote Donegal "connection" to international stories, you know the kind of thing.... "Letterkenny man leaves Indonesia two days before tsunami strikes". Narrow escape!
    It's part of the charm of the genre.
    I forgot some years ago the late, lamentable Dr McDaid based his campaign on the slogan that Letterkenny needs a TD. Quite why it needed one at the exclusion of all other areas of the county did and continues to escape me. BTW, it worked for him.

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    Politics.ie Member DaveM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ticketyboo View Post
    Harmless nonsense, Dave, based on the exploits of regional press everywhere, I would hazard. Up here the Donegal papers often have the most remote Donegal "connection" to international stories, you know the kind of thing.... "Letterkenny man leaves Indonesia two days before tsunami strikes". Narrow escape!
    It's part of the charm of the genre.
    That charm puts some awful goms' arses on ministerial chairs though!
    Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum.

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    Politics.ie Member Ramon Mercadar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hitch 22 View Post
    We don't want Harney back.
    In 1908, in London, at the Olympics, Irish American Martin Sheridan announced “This flag dips for no earthly king," when the US team paraded past the royal box.

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    Politics.ie Member DaveM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hitch 22 View Post
    Aughrim's new lapdancing club?
    Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum.

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    By the way The Tipperary Star last week said that Deputy Tom Hayes of Tipperary South is the fronerunner for the job. More or less has it in the bag.
    TiobradÁrann

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    Politics.ie Member Analyzer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by john scott View Post
    By the way The Tipperary Star last week said that Deputy Tom Hayes of Tipperary South is the fronerunner for the job. More or less has it in the bag.
    They are hardly going to promote that eejet to a Junior Ministerial responsibilty ?

    I heard that they would going to give it to a TD from Kildare, who is possibly decades younger than Hayes, and who represents the "future".
    Coveney's ambition is the be Ireland's next EU Commissar and Ireland will pay a price as he builds his CV to position himself sufficiently loyal to the nEU empire.

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    Actually, there's a thought: a weekly political summary of the slant of the local paper on the issues du jour.

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