There are (too many!!) times when you have to question the sanity of the people that run Dublin City. Last week I wrote about the mess regarding College Green Plaza. Dublin City is definitely involved in that, but An Bord Pleanala was also a significant contributor to that mess.
This week it is getting worse. Much worse!
You might remember a big fight between Dublin City and locals in Clontarf about the flood protection wall that was built last year. The locals wanted to have a low walls so that their pretty views of the sea will not be disturbed and Dublin City banged their fist on the table and said: NO! The “No” was based on the expected flood levels and the Clontarf locals were the ones that appeared narrow minded and short sighted in that conflict. Dublin City went ahead and got the wall built and the locals had to accept.
Fast forward just little while to last Monday: In their January meeting, the Dublin City Councillors decided to LOWER the sea wall now by just 30cm for a cost of EUR 230k below the level that is the national flood level standard to …wait for it…. “improve the view for motorists”. Have you heard anything more bonkers from the shower of City Councillors? But that’s not all! After that it will cost another EUR 300k to beautify the shortened wall. And it is also expected that the wall will have to be raised again in a few years time.
The interesting thing is that Labour, the Green Party, some from Fine Gael and some from AAA-PBP were against the shortening of the wall, but the decision was 34 in favour and 21 against, 3 abstained. In the Council with 63 councillors there are 8 from Fine Gael, 8 from Labour, 6 from AAA-PBP and 3 from the Green party. That’s 25 who should have been against it (obviously the parties weren’t able to convince their own councillors).
And what parties are on the INSANE side of the house? It is Sinn Fein (16), Independents (11), Fianna Fail (9), Social Democrats (1) and Workers Party (1). Remember them when the next election comes along in 2019!
At the time of writing this, the minutes were not yet published. so a list of names who voted for and who against is not known and the above paragraph is a guess from the above referred to article in TheJournal.ie. If you want to watch the webcast, you can find it here and look for Topic No. 6.
So they made it!! After 70 days finally a new government has been elected when on Friday Enda Kenny (Fine Gael) was re-elected as the Taoiseach.
It is called a “minority government” that is tolerated by Fianna Fail and supported by some of the Independent TDs. When the Taoiseach got elected, the Fianna Fail TDs abstained and therefore a handful of Independents was enough for Enda Kenny to get the majority.
Odd that Micheal Martin didn’t want to be in power since it was offered to him to be part of the government through a coalition. But the reason why Micheal Martin’s Fianna Fail didn’t want to get involved and form a Grand Coalition between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail is because they were worried that the electors would punish them for it in the next elections. In recent elections the smaller coalition partner (i.e. Greens and Labour) was always blamed more for a screw up of the government than the dominating party and Micheal Martin didn’t want to risk that.
So the solution was a to tolerate a minority Fine Gael government. But does that REALLY change the situation?
Is Fianna Fail now NOT part of the government and will they by innocent if Enda Kenny does a bad job?? Actually NOT AT ALL!! This is really a coalition between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, just with the odd configuration that Fianna Fail will not contribute in a positive way in the day to day running of the country.
Why do I call it a coalition? Well, if you sit down with the other party for days and negotiate a “deal” that will last for three years, during which Fianna Fail will support whatever Fine Gael does then you can’t claim anymore that you are innocent! It is like standing next to someone who commits a criminal act and not doing anything. You will NOT get away with your “I had nothing to do with it!” claim.
So this new government is a Grand Coalition, just not by name! And if Enda Kenny screws up and Fianna Fail won’t stop him because they promised to support him for 3 years, then Fianna Fail will also have to be appropriately punished for it! Don’t fall for Micheal Martin’s trick!
I am a foreigner and therefore – so I have been told occasionally – I have no clue. Keep that in mind when you read this opinion piece. :-)
Today, I am appealing to you NOT to vote for any independent politicians in the next General Election. If you want your voice to be heard, you have to decide for one of the parties, despite the fact that it is quite difficult. A vote for an Independent is a wasted vote, because at best, your Independent TD will never be more than a solo-runner that will have no significant impact and influence. At worst, however, he/she is a mad nutcase that is only interested in his/her own private agenda.
Why are Independents unreliable? Because you don’t know what they are thinking, who or what influences them and because they are a loose cannon. Look at Mick Wallace for example. The people that voted for him have to be aware that he will NEVER be at a position of influence in the Dail (and that is probably a very good thing for the rest of us!), but you also don’t know how he will vote on an issue that will come up in 2 years time and – different to parties – he won’t have to discuss his opinion or his voting behaviour with anybody.
Or take Michael Lowry, a seriously dodgy character who I wouldn’t trust to look after just EUR 50 of my own money. Can he be trusted to partake in running the country?
So what do you get by voting for an Independent? Nothing! Your representative has no influence or impact, might be a mad-cap looney and the only thing you achieve is to protest against the parties. Yes, that at times is a good feeling, BUT keep in mind that it will take many long years until you have the opportunity again to vote. Protest is a short term emotional decision, but in two years time you are still stuck with the nutcase that you voted just to protest against the parties.
So vote for the person that you would trust to look after your own hard earned EUR 5000 and vote for the party that is most aligned with your values and believes!!
Having read all that, I just want to remind you that – as a foreigner – I am not meant to have any clue about what I am talking about, but what if I did have a point!? ;-)