The death has been announced of the former leader and founder of the Progressive Democrats. What is his political legacy? Did he achieve his ambition to "break the mould" of Irish politics. I think not. He was a great exponent of political rhetoric and had integrity and bravery but all of that was negated by one gigantic act of hypocrisy - forming a coalition government with his arch nemesis Charles J. Haughey.
Did perhaps more than any other political figure in Ireland to downgrade the Catholic Church and put the frighteners on the Provos.
Ireland of 2021 is largely in his image and that's some legacy.
Yes, one of the true greats of 20th Century Irish politics. Met him many times and he could be a curmudgeonly so and so but always had a clear vision of what was right and just.
The lionising of the likes of O'Malley always sticks in the craw. I walk past his portrait every morning on the way to my office and it annoys me to think what the creation of the PDs unleashed upon this State and how a lot of the problems that we suffer from today are a direct result of policies that they championed when in government.
He created a party that was a natural home for the Libertarians and Partitionists that didn't quite fit in with FF and FG like Harney and McDowell.
Like Paisley and Haughey, he was a politician of a immense consequence in Irish history, but let's not kid ourselves that that was of a true benefit in all ways to the State in the long run.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam.
Yeah, things were better for the common man and woman when rubbers were unobtainable unless you had a contact in the North, and it cost £300 to fly to London 🙄
His legacy is the successful free market economy that we live in which has lifted us up from being the poorest country in the EEC by far to being among the wealthiest. Yes we still have problems but I'd rather have problems of wealth than problems of poverty.
His party failed to a large degree because of internal conflict (Pat Cox 🤬 ) but also to a large degree because the main parties adopted its policies as their own.
The PDs were the only party in the 80s who stuck it to the church and took a lot or flak at the time because of this. If only we as a society had known then what we know now about that bunch of black robed disreputables - but I'd never trusted any of them farther than I could have thrown them. The PDs were widely ridiculed when they suggested that having an explicitly catholic constitution might not have been a good idea 🙄
Are we there yet?
Ah stop now.
The liberalism you espouse is the cause of the EEC/EC and ECHR and hardly the PDs.
Not allowing married women back to work in the civil service and it being illegal to be gay until 1993 are 2 examples off the top of my head that existed despite this great liberal in our midst.
The 1997 election was the watershed election in the history of State. The rainbow coalition continuing would have been a more preferable road to go down, as vomit inducing as Bruton Sr could be. The social democratic society that was developing then was just dandy. Instead we got FF at their worst and the PDs at their "best". Now look at us.
You should go into town some day and count the tents...
ECHR != EEC/EC/EU
He was the only member of FF who, at the height of the AIDS crisis, didn't vote to oppose the sale of rubbers in chemists. Everyone else opposed it for purely political opportunism reasons. Many of whom were having affairs...
I was a low paid worker in the 90s and was getting absolutely screwed on tax by the rainbow coalition, fair enough if they wanted a large tax wedge (was Bruton in control, or de Rossa?) but they failed to tax the rich, instead they just screwed the PAYE worker.
Jesus. Is that where we're at in this discussion?
I'm sure the point was impenetrable but for this intervention. I've updated it all for you.
You might explain to me how, in a democracy, one man is supposed to be able to overthrow an entire parliament supportive of such measures?
Leadership is doing what is right, not what is popular at the time. History has vindicated Des O'Malley and rightly condemned those cowering in fear of the parish priest calling them out.
A minute ago he was a liberal behemoth dragging this country kicking and screaming out from under the yoke of the Catholic Church, now he is but one man?
He is a man of consequence, no more, no less. But you go on like he's Lemass, Whitaker, Collins and Browne wrapped up in the body of a mortal.
He founded a destructive sore of a party that has done more damage to this State in its fleeting existence than Dev managed in his pomp. That is some legacy.
Arguably, that was breaking the mould. Up to that point, FF didn't do coalitions; since then, they've hardly ever done anything else.
Also worth pointing out that it's only because he went into coalition with Haughey that O'Malley was in a position to shaft him a couple of years later.
The destructive sore which saved thousands of lives by banning smoky coal, and introduced a mimimum wage - something which Labour in power never saw fit to do?
Seems to me you are shoehorning history to fit a narrative here. PDs will always be an irrational figure of hatred for some. The fact that FF and FG eventually adopted all their policies shows how necessary that party was in the 80s.
Never realised that Eoin O'Malley was his son. Makes more sense now why he's so anti-SF.
Gene Kerrigan is turning into a crank. His commentary on Dessie O'Malley today is graceless and mean-spirited. They buried Dessie just yesterday but Gene couldn't wait to get some digs in.
At first glance, I expected Gene would unleash some startling allegation that the Sindo was afraid to print until Dessie was safely six feet under - the dead are fair game in our libel laws - but instead Gene parses Dessie's "Stand by the Republic" speech to remind us about the complex politics of contraception in the 1980s. Gene clearly thinks he is exposing some terrible flaw in Dessie character but Gene has become fixated on themes that were germane 30 years - the power of the Catholic Church, the perfidy of FF - and he doesn't have insights to offer on forward-looking themes e.g. Climate change, the post-pandemic recovery.
Kerrigan is one of the bitterest journalists in the country.
I think it was a marriage of convenience for both parties, one desperate to retain power and the other desperate to attain power. So much for high ethical standards in public life.
That seems a little unfair, at least on the PDs. The only way a party like the PDs is ever going to attain office is through a coalition. It's not unreasonable for a political party to aspire to office - that's kind of the point of a political party - and for a party like the PDs that means aspiring to form coalition. When the whole point of your existence is to try and get into coalition, there is nothing remotely unethical about going into a coalition.
On the FF side, up to that point the party had never gone into coalition and some in FF used to say that not going into coalition was a core value for the party. Frankly, even at the time I thought that was a bizarre claim to to make - matters of principle might be core values, but how could a matter of tactics or strategy be core values? - but, for those who made that claim, FF going into coalition was obviously embarrassing. The embarrassment, though, lay not so much in going into coalition as in the fact that they had made such an absurd claim in the first place. And I do think it's important for healthy politics that, when a politician has said something stupid and damaging that he should never have said, he shouldn't be held to it if means we'll all continue to suffer from stupidity and damage. Politicians need to be able to correct their mistakes.
FF having a core value to do with power and electoral success really sums them up and explains the tail spin that they have been in for the past decade.
What does the party who defined themselves mainly by their electoral successes and persistent power have left when it is no longer electorally successful and mostly weak and ineffectual?
Well, not always. We have several political parties whose "point" is to be the perennial hurlers on the ditch, always finding fault with everything, but running a mile when it is suggested that they might actually be interested in getting into government and implementing some policies and accepting responsibility for the outcomes!