The following is a press release attacking the Green Dublin Mayor bill, and gives an interesting insight into how some of the Fine Gael frontbench think. Consider the fact that FG, in their “New Politics” document, are basing a lot of their reforms on the idea that the public needs a greater say in how the country is run. It’s a very valid point Fine Gael are making.
But just look at Deputy James Reilly’s description of an elected mayor below: “The principle of a directly elected mayor for Dublin is accepted by Fine Gael but there is a time and a place for everything.” In other words, all this guff about political reform, accountability and all is very well, but not, in Deputy Reilly’s mind, anything to do with the real world.
Maybe it’s my inherent scepticism, but when I hear a politician say that we should throw out an idea and go back to the drawing board, that traditionally has been a delaying tactic to stop anything happening.
But maybe I’m doing James Reilly a disservice. Perhaps he is working on amendments to make the Dublin Mayor legislation work better. If he is, I’m more than happy to let him point them out here.
You can see the full statement below. My comments in italics:
Fine Gael Deputy Leader and Dublin North TD, Dr James Reilly, today (Thursday) condemned the passage of the Green Party’s Dublin Mayor Bill which will cost taxpayers and businesses €1.6 million in Fingal County Council alone.“The feckless and foolish (Oh come on. Calling them names? That’s like the Fianna Failers who refer to FG as the post-fascist Fine Gael) Greens are determined to leave their mark on Dublin after their bizarre exit from Government. Their legacy will be John Gormley’s Dublin Mayor vanity project (Vanity project? And you wonder why I doubt James’s committment to the idea of a Dublin Mayor?) which will cost €5 million a year to Dublin ratepayers and €1.6 million in Fingal alone.“The principle of a directly elected mayor for Dublin is accepted by Fine Gael but there is a time and a place for everything. It is not acceptable at a time when the Government is proposing a severe austerity budget to correct a financial mess of its own making to heap further pain on taxpayers and businesses that can ill afford it. (As I said before, James Reilly seems to regard political reform as some sort of middle class dinner party game as opposed to something to help us run the country better)“It was a reminder of the Fianna Fáil ways which landed the country in the trouble it is in, to hear Michael Kennedy declare his opposition to the Bill passing today while at the same time saying he will vote in favour of it. (I do agree with Deputy Reilly on this. You have to love the Fianna Fail ability to point the finger at themselves and say “It’s nothing to do with me, take it up with dem fellas!”)“Fine Gael will vote against the Bill because we believe that any election should be postponed until 2014 to coincide with the local elections so that the intervening period can be spent reforming local government and, at that stage, a well thought out proposal can be introduced for a directly elected mayor.” (I will apologise wholeheartedly if I’m wrong, but I simply do not believe that FG will have those reforms in place by 2014, because going by James Reilly’s tone, you’d have to have serious doubts as to whether they believe in them in the first place)