Enda Kenny is set to retire as I speak as Fine Gael leader, and as prime minister when a replacement is found, and we look back on a legacy that will be shrouded darkly by the ghosts of the dead – those who killed themselves as a result of banks taking their homes, farms and businesses in compliance with austerity.
The cure he offered was as bad as the condition, and only served to protect the assets of the rich, and the poor buried our dead at politicians where there were no politicians from pro austerity regime parties attending to let it be known they were there with an eye to harvesting votes at the next election.
Young people, the crop of a lost generation of Irish people, emigrated or died. Idealists and campaigners like Trevor Eivers ended up dead in a tragic consequence of a policy that at a time when we were reducing traditional suicides (deaths from folk who had problems regardless of the economic situation), the overall numbers actually went up.
The homeless died in droves, Jonathan Corrie dying near the Dail, in Dublin, in Cork, and across the provincial towns of Ireland, as services were not up to scratch, inaccessible, or the agenda of which meant the homeless would not engage.
The other issues apart from Austerity
The other big A
On the plus side, his handling of the difficult case of the tragedy of Savita’s death is a plus in his book. He could not keep either side happy totally, as both are entrenched, and both milked the case for what it was worth.
I would have hated to see what mash up of things that Michael Martin would have made of it had be become leader of the country in advance of that.
A level head was kept when it was needed, though the referendum questions should have been what was offered to the infamous Citizens Convention – and hopefully may be yet.
Hero of the Windmills
In the wake of their political meltdown the ambitius in Fianna Fail jumped ship to go independent and keep their profile until the name of the party was less toxic, and they are slowly rejoining again.
As part of this, they jumped on the craziest bandwagon of them all – joing the protests AGAINST wind turbines… in the name of the envoronment, so odd and bizarre a movement that not even Donald Trump would support it!
While it may be a policy promoted and forced through by the EU, his stewardship of it will be one of the positive legacys of his rule.
Uniting Ireland – by accident!
Fine Gael have never been known for being at the front of the argument to unite Ireland, but in the wake of Brexit Enda Kenny to his credit did do his best politically to bring the issue to the top of the agenda, making way possible for the North of Ireland to reenter the EU if there was a united Ireland.
In a solo run that left Gerry Adams playing catch up, it culminated in what history will look back on as quite an achievement, as the Britexit negotiations contain the “Kenny Text” to allow this to happen.
, Martin MacGuinness died this year, after a political career of where he deposed the man who could have united Ireland in the 1970’s, who had the loyalists trust, Rory Brady, and maybe its fitting that as he went cold in the clay that completely unrelated to the armed campaign once more it was the Protestants of Ulster that were looking to the benefits of a united Ireland.
Whether it will ever happen we do not know.
Conclusion – Collusion and Confusion
In conclusion, it will be always told from the point of the teller of the history as to how good or bad his rule was, there will be few truly neutral positions. Ultra capitalists will look on him favourably, anti austerity activists will hate the sound of his name.
Other issues not touched on here include the abuse victims still ignored by the state, the handover of St Vincents for the new Maternity Hospital, Garda Curruption, and may more issues.
Gerry Adams summed it up well: “He did his best from his prespective, it was however not good enough”
Which when he retires is exaclty the wording I will use to describe the contribution of Gerry Adams to the Irish story!
But for me, as an activist and as a poet, it is the legacy of the lives lost, of the litte people who did not matter that I had the tragic privileged to chronicle, for which Kenny will be remembered. He is prehaps the Ernest Blythe of the modern political era…
– Anger of the Water Carriers
The real tragedy of the austerit protests was how it boiled down to a class issue as opposed to whether or not the issue was right or wrong, as shown by the crazy argument offered at a funeral I attended last year…
– My Ireland
Cynically I look on the aftermath of the current era in ten years time when this is all history.
– Stopped Clocks and All That
Blog on being one of the last encamped outside the Dáil at the Dec 10th protests!
– On Boycotting the Sean Mac Eoin Statue Unveiling
I boycotted the staute unveiling though in North Longford at the time, in protest at auterity. I missed a quite historical moment in my own hinterland, but I was not going to partake in that when Irish folk were being put to the road again, but also would not make a scene at a solomn occasion, unlike the pro lifers who turned more people against their cause when they did.