Longford Leader Columnist Mattie Fox: Ireland is in the firm grip of a bad case of career politicians

Mattie Fox


Mattie Fox



Longford Leader Columnist Mattie Fox: Ireland is in the firm grip of a bad case of career politicians

'Dublin are a slick, professional side'....Dublin midfielder Brian Fenton gets his shot away ahead of Galway's Gareth Bradshaw.

In reland the GAA and the Church have both been founding fathers, in different ways. Both have become pillars of society, again in different ways, yet closely aligned, strangely.

They’ve both appealed to the ordinary people, creating two massive institutions across the land, that could always be relied on to represent the ordinary people.

Both have served society very well, and taught them to believe in Irishness, the power of staying firm, and the essence of just being good, and looking after the plain people.

But many have discovered the reality that both institutions are capable of being used for evil to exist.

The third former occupation that somehow felt like they cared about the poorer, were politicians.

Not any more, however.

The church has been overrun by child abusers, hundreds of them in this fair land, where once upon a time nobody would believe such a thing could possibly happen.

First, that any such thing could possibly happen in the first place, and second, that bishops and some clergy were constantly defending the behaviour when at this stage everyone knew how widespread it had become.

I can still see a well-known bishop on TV calmly defending the church, while all around him was crumbling. It was the first time the church had shown its hand, by defending itself on TV, and ever since it’s been imploding.

A terrible beauty was destroyed.

If the bishops had learned to be humble, and own up to the problem, and apologise, it would never have come to this.

Granted, the church would have been forced to change, but wouldn’t that have been a great result?

The GAA, meanwhile, has become overrun by the preoccupation with money. Everywhere you turn, it’s in evidence.

It’s destroyed by authoritarianism and cynical rule.

Sadly, there’s no longer any rationale attached to pitches getting large sums which they don’t need. That’s just one example, simply because we still cannot understand how on earth Pairc Uí Chaoimh got €30 million at a time when countless people are homeless.

The GAA have loads of dosh, and didn’t need that weighty donation to fund their expansion. It’s really sad.

Politics in the GAA.

Competitions are being changed and rearranged to benefit the coffers, although that one may come back to haunt the GAA, as hardly anyone will allow all games in the Super 8’s in future to be played in Croke Park. Similarly, hardly anyone will want Dublin to use Croke Park as their home venue.

That chestnut has been well and truly cracked.

All over the country, we see the great work the GAA is doing still, but now it’s accompanied, usually, by negative noises about Croke Park, which continues to behave as though it’s not responsible to anyone.

The games are becoming more unsavoury by the day.

I totally agree with Eamon Sweeney writing in Monday’s Independent, when he said Tyrone were “unlovely...against Monaghan their sledging, diving, playacting, pulling, dragging, snarling, cribbing side was much in evidence”.

The ref on the other hand thought it hard to give Monaghan a free. No doubt Tyrone were the better team, on the day.

But terrible, awful stuff.

The GAA are like the church in attendance too. The lowest semi-final attendance in Croke Park since Dublin beat Leitrim in 1994.

Dublin are a slick, professional side that at least make it easy to look at, and admire, their prowess.

Nonetheless, it’s boring when we know the result in advance.

The last bastion of hope for ordinary people has been eroded too.

Politicians nowadays are all simply doing it for career.

Nowadays we relegate refugees into huge dormitories or even ‘hotels’ occasionally, but nothing like the hotels we’ve come to expect. The refugees hotels are stripped back to the last, with just running water, bed covers, toilets, and cooking facilities. In these terrible locations refugees are housed. Many for several years.

Similarly the homeless, a disaster which is gathering momentum like a tsunami about 1000 miles off shore. Gathering pace, slowly becoming a huge storm that will sweep away everything in its wake when it finally hits. It could take a few more years, but relatively soon, this country will be awash with the eventual outcome of government policy in relation to homelessness, and health.

I talked to a government minister at the weekend and he laughed when I mentioned the Health Minister, and Minister for Housing, both of whom were reported on in the weekend's papers.

“Two yes men,” he opined. “PR is all they know”.

Once again, let’s face it, it’s not just this government.

Ireland is in the firm grip of a bad case of career politicians.

Hardly anyone is truly putting themselves up for election just for the good of the country.

Every government has the same disease. Fianna Fáil the very same as Fine Gael. Almost all, are career politicians. What defines politics is the absence of seriousness.