When the going gets tough, the junior ministers start walking

I don’t often get into the nitty gritty of political commentary, but given much that’s going on at the moment, I feel bound to write this rant. Apologies for the length, but I’d appreciate if you read it and shared your comments.

A junior ministry is for life, not just for the good times!

Our politicians will tell us that they’re elected to lead the country, to make the country a better place for all of us, and to institute change based on their, and their political parties, beliefs.

Wouldn’t it be nice, then, to see our political leaders showing the courage of their convictions and actually leading the country now, in a time when we’re told we’re facing serious difficulties.

Instead, our politicians are going missing, or are trying to go missing.

Last week we had Brian Cowen go AWOL during the Dell and Waterford Crystal announcements. Mary Coughlan only surfaced this week – even though she’s the minister responsible for (un)employment as well as being Biffos deputy.

And this week, we’re seeing 3 (so far) junior ministers saying that in the interests of the country, they’re willing to give up their positions.


We’re starting to see the Irish political equivalent of rats fleeing from a sinking ship. If these clowns believed, as they surely would have told us when appointed, that they had an important role to play – why can we suddenly do without them now that times are getting tough?

Surely a junior minister in the Department of Finance (Martin Manseragh) would have an even more important role to play these days than when originally appointed. As for Sean Power, I suppose given recent budget cut backs, being a junior minister at the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform with special responsibility for Equality probably means he actually doesn’t have anything to do anyway. As for Conor Lenihan, I’m not really sure what he does anyway, but I’m sure he told us sometime or other that his job was important – why change now?

Leaders who don’t actually lead

I’m actually going to include in this listing of wishy washy flip floppy politicians another two who are useless to the country at the moment – Brian Cowen himself for trying to give up the use of his brand new Merc because it might look bad, and Beverly Flynn for not keeping her Dail expenses allowance.

Lest anyone think any different, all of the actions by these politicians above are for show – more style than substance – and actions trying to fool the public into thinking that the govenrment are actually doing something. They’re not. They’re spectators on the sideline watching a game where they’re actually supposed to be playing.

The power to change but not the will

If Brian Cowen is really worried about the perceptions of him being driven around in a brand new Mercedes, it’s within his remit to change the rules so that new Mercedes aren’t bought or that less ostentatious cars are bought for ministers at all ranks.

If government ministers are concerned about the payment of a perfectly legitimate expenses payment to Beverly Flynn, then less of the moral pressure and running to the media to complain – use the powers they actually have to change the rules.

These clowns actually came up with the rules in the first place – if you don’t like them, change them. We the public, and the media, might like the rules to be changed, but we can’t do anything about it. Do these same rules mean that Seamus Brennans (RIP) expenses allowance are still being paid to the Fianna Fail party, despite his death for example?

To silence envious tongues. Be just, and fear not: Let all the ends thou aim’st at be thy country’s

If Martin Manseragh, Sean Power and Conor Lenihan really had the courage of their convictions and truely had the interests of the country at heart (rather than their personal political futures), they’d give up the extra money they receive as junior ministers, and any perks that go with it, but they’d still get on with the jobs that they need to be doing to sort this country out.

It’s not like removing the junior ministry positions is going to reduce staff headcount or costs that much – any staff employed there will only be redeployed rather than being made redundant.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Would anyone like to illuminate our leaders of this concept? Like I said about the budget previously, all our govenrment are doing is tinkering about the edges of the massive problems they’re telling us that we’re facing.

Fair enough, you shower of useless politicians. You’ve told us there’s a problem. We’re saving our money and cutting back on our expenses. We’re focusing on our work, trying to be more productive, and thrashing out new ideas that might being some light to the end of our personal and collective tunnels.

What are you folks doing?

Apart from actually making our lives harder through your myriad of cutbacks across all aspects of Irish life, and starting to borrow against not only ours, our childrens and our childrens childrens futures, what actually are you doing?

Well, last week we were subjected to a week of gnashing of teeth about a minor TDs €41,000 expenses that is within their own power to cut off with one simple decision and signature.  And this week we’re now being distracted further with this pointless smoke screen of removing junior ministries.

Is that it?

How the hell are these people going to be able to come up with the drastic solutions necessary to address the issues the country as a whole is facing?

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5 Responses to When the going gets tough, the junior ministers start walking

  1. dhardy January 14, 2009 at 14:47 #

    It’s terrifying really. As you pointed out – the way they are disappearing during a crisis, such as the Dell situation. Focussing on that stupid Flynn’s money, etc, instead of on our future. Ship of fools. And sadly we’re all on the rudderless ship.

  2. Marie January 15, 2009 at 11:55 #

    Not a rant – you speak for most of us. its a smokescreen to put off doing anything, which as you point out they could do, if they chose.

    They could and should end immediately the nonsense of unvouched untaxed ‘expenses’, payments for chairing committees (nice if we ordinary workers got big bucks on top of salary for chairing in company committees)and reduce dail salaries in line with those in comparable countries.

    Then, we ordinary folks might accept tough measures which do need to be taken immediately.

    The Minister for Employment Calamitous Coughlan never had a real job in her life (like Harney) – she was elected at 22. What a person to have in employment at this time!


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