A letter from the Indo. Fine Gael had a disastrous Ard Fheis at the weekend and already the Labour party bracing themselves for protests at their conference in a couple of weeks time. The exact figure of those who didn’t register nor pay for the household tax is still not known. It’s seems over the million mark though. Many who did register and pay it are already full of regrets.
Monday April 02 2012
Lacking in chutzpah and Champagne, as befits a broken republic, the Fine Gael Ard Fheis had the aura of a therapy session.
This was enhanced by the comfortable armchairs and air of brittle vulnerability that seemed to permeate. Taoiseach Enda Kenny was in no mood to party.
But for all the solemn sobriety there was still a sense of delusion. Outside, 5,000 people were protesting on the streets. A population smarting from the raw scars of the property crash have been asked to re-open the wound, and pay a tax on that negative equity millstone around their necks as they drown. No, they are not happy, so Enda keep the Dom Perignon on ice, if you will. Another almost 500,000 are stuck on the dole -- their best prospect for a job is in another country. No standing ovations there either.
How about health reform: abolition of the Senate, cuts in the number of TDs or even a significant pruning of expenses?
No thunderous applause, barely even the sound of one hand clapping.
Mr Kenny told his party that there could be no shindigs until the economy was stabilised. When the economy was 'stable' before, Brother Kevin still had to provide soup for the hungry, the St Vincent de Paul had to clothe and succour the poor.
So can you please broaden your priorities, Taoiseach? We are a people, not just an economy. Ordinary people will pay the household tax with alacrity when they see those who brought us to ruin doing hard time.
When they see liens on the palatial houses of 'bankrupt' builders put in the names of their wives; when they see bankers who secreted millions into their own accounts for personal use brought to justice, that is when people will give you the ovations and garlands, and even pay the property tax! Remember how your predecessor was condemned for putting his party before the country? It is by your deeds that you will be judged.
Ireland is emerging from a 'demonstrably unfair' system that was in place until very recently, under which 'untouchables' in society were allowed to do what they liked, you told us.
You wanted this job, Taoiseach, the buck stops with you, so show us the 'untouchables' in the dock, the crooked heads on the block. You have had a year to deliver them; by the time we do see them, I fear you may have forgotten what Dom or Bollinger tastes like.
Yours in total abstinence,
Queens, New York City