The Irish & European Elections in Ireland: a Step Forward for Democracy?

End to Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum Politics?
The results of the local and European elections of last Friday were a watershed in Irish politics. Public anger in the last general election (in 2012) brought to an end Fianna Fáil’s tenure as the largest party in the Irish republic.  Popular disgust at the lies and betrayal of the electorate by the Labour Party has ended its century-old status as the main left-wing force in Irish politics and ushered in Sinn Féin as the new radical movement of the island of Ireland. The division of political power between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael-dominated governments, that has been a hallmark of the state since the early 1930s, has come to an end. 
There are of course many good honest hardworking idealistic people in all of the established parties- Ciaran Cannon and councillor Frank Fahy in Fine Gael;  Eamon O'Cuiv, John McGuinness and Noel Tracey in Fianna Fáil; Sean Sherlock and Billy Cameron in Labour. But they are too few; power and greed has corrupted too many of their colleagues.  
When Michael D. Higgins left Labour after winning the Irish Presidency the party lost its conscience. Both Fianna Fáil and Labour have betrayed the egalitarian principles of their visionary patriotic founders.

The Cosy Cartel 
This weekend's results show that there is now an alternative government-in-waiting comprising progressive independents, socialists, republicans, environmentalists, community activists and beneficial business interests that has the potential to break the three-party monolith and its long time cosy relationship with property speculators, builders, top civil servants, the trade union leaders, bishops, ranchers, bankers and the EU hierarchy that has created a huge democratic deficit in this country and across Europe that has led to growing public apathy and alienation with the body politic due to the high levels of emigration, unemployment, corruption and taxes.

For the first time since we joined the EEC in 1972, people are starting to question the never-ending loss of sovereignty to a supra-national unrepresentative bureaucratic institution that has created the environment and circumstances to privatise public services and sell off national resources across Europe to multi-national corporations unaccountable to its citizens.
Newly elected TD, Ruth Coppinger
Of course the struggle for nations, local communities and ordinary people to secure control over their destinies will take many more years to achieve and will not be without heartbreak. Sinn Féin could lose their idealism and become over time corrupted by power. But the election results today was a step forward hopefully to a better future for Ireland and Europe that will be a true union of peaceful, democratic independent countries. 
It will mean at last that the great untouchables such as Denis O'Brien and others, who as the Moriarty Tribunal showed undermined the democratic institutions of our state, can be brought to justice.

No comments: