– Gameness til the End
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
By Juno McEnroe
Kerry TD Brendan Griffin has warned that local politics is in a race to the bottom, warning that bright people are shunning political careers as they will have to go to “every funeral or cock fight”.
TDs should not spend time dealing with “Mary’s medical card” or social welfare payments and instead should focus on national issues, said the Fine Gael TD.
“If we want to attract the bright people, the best people in to politics, they’re not going to go into politics as it is at present. Many won’t as they have to go to every funeral, because they have to go to the opening of every envelope, or they have to be at every cock fight,” he told the Irish Examiner.
Mr Griffin thinks that multi-seat constituencies should be eliminated and replaced by single seat, smaller electoral areas.
Politicians should then not focus on spending as much time on local issues, he explained.
“Not issues relating to personal stuff, such as medical cards and social protection.
“At the moment, you can almost have a race to the bottom for some constituencies.
“There’s a certain number of people who will reward the guy who fills the pothole, who does the social welfare. That’s fine but what you’re effectively losing out on is someone who does the bigger stuff, who ensures you’ve the proper planning for jobs, the proper infrastructure. It’s [politics] too local.”
His comments will be viewed as criticism of constituency competitors the Healy-Raes, who have defended going to large numbers of funerals. Mr Griffin denied being specific in his remarks.
Elsewhere, the Oireachtas committee chairman has said he supports reforming the abortion laws but that the process will be difficult for his party.
As his party finishes up its pre-Dáil think-in today, he said Fine Gael cannot bury its head in the sand on repealing the Eighth Amendment, the part of the Constitution that protects the life of of the unborn.
“My feeling is that the Eighth Amendment needs to be repealed but you need to know what replaces that, what fills that vacuum.
“It will be difficult but we are going to have confront it, we’re going to have to deal with it.”
Fine Gael (meaning Family or Tribe of the Irish) is a liberal-conservative and Christian democratic political party in Ireland. Fine Gael is currently the governing and largest party in Ireland in terms of members of the Oireachtas and Irish members of European Parliament. The party has a membership of 25,000, and is the senior partner governing in a minority coalition with several independent politicians, with the Fine Gael party leader Enda Kenny serving as Taoiseach. Kenny has led the party since 2002.
Fine Gael was founded on 8 September 1933 following the merger of its parent party Cumann na nGaedheal, the National Centre Party and the National Guard (popularly known as the “Blueshirts”, a name still used colloquially to refer to the party). Its origins lie in the struggle for Irish independence and the pro-Treaty side in the Irish Civil War and Michael Collins, in particular, is often identified as the founder of the movement.
Fine Gael is generally considered to be more of a proponent of market liberalism than its traditional rival, Fianna Fáil. However, apart from brief minority governments (as in 1987), Fine Gael has rarely governed Ireland without a coalition that also included the Labour Party, a social-democratic, centre-left party. Fine Gael describes itself as a “party of the progressive centre” which it defines as acting “in a way that is right for Ireland, regardless of dogma or ideology”. It lists its core values as equality of opportunity, free enterprise and reward, security, integrity and hope. It is strongly in favour of the European Union and opposed to physical force Irish republicanism. The party’s youth wing, Young Fine Gael, was formed in 1977, and has approximately four thousand members. Fine Gael is a founding member of the European People’s Party and a member of the Centrist Democrat International.
A TD (plural TDanna in Irish; full Irish form Teachta Dála, plural Teachtaí Dála) is a member of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas (the Irish Parliament). It is the equivalent of terms such as “Member of Parliament” (MP) or “Member of Congress” used in other states. The official translation of the term is “Deputy to the Dáil”, although a more literal translation is “Assembly Delegate”.