We Have Failed You



Labour TD Michael McNamara, left, with Labour Senator Ivana Bacik and former Labour leader Eamon Gilmore

In Village magazine, Michael McNamara, a Labour TD, writes:

“When Irish Water was established, it was deliberately placed outside the parliamentary questions process by two parties in government, including my own, that had spent years criticising the fact that the provision of vital health services was not susceptible to parliamentary questions.

The minister who took the Irish Water legislation through all stages of the Dáil in one afternoon – despite a clear commitment in the programme for government that there would be two weeks between all stages – has had a change of mind since he lost ministerial office.

What is it about the advice of civil servants that is so enchanting that their commitment to keeping information from the public they serve is always followed by their political “masters” who subsequently go into opposition and complain that they cannot get information from government on behalf of their constituents?

One of the first things this Government did after extending the Freedom of Information system was to close it down again when it came to the Refugee Appeals Tribunal – one of the shadiest areas of our justice system and it did so by ramming a motion through the Dáil with a limited debate on the last sitting day before a break.

Yes, this government brought the economy back from the edge which was one of its main tasks. But it failed to address the underlying problems and causes of what went so badly wrong. This government could have tackled corporate culture here, changed how this country is governed and how those who provide public services are held accountable to the public.

Instead, it spent too long just revelling in being in government. To date, it has comprehensively failed to carry out the task it set itself and for which it received a mandate – to reform how the business of government is done.”

Coalition has comprehensively failed to reform business of government: Labour TD (Village magazine)

Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

34 thoughts on “We Have Failed You

    1. TransOpTrans

      Even with his surplus in DLR last time out he couldn’t get her elected. Ivana Bacik if unelectable except in the Rotten Borough of the TCD panel in the Seanad.

  1. Bonzor

    An accurate assessment. Not sure what to make of McNamara though. He seems to have become significantly more vocal once the chance of a top job eluded him and the election drew closer. That said, he did take part in the Vincent Browne debate against his party’s advice so I suppose that shows he’s prepared to get out there and face the people. Perhaps a decent politician tarnished by his party’s brand, but I’m far from convinced.

  2. life boy

    I like this guy. What he is saying is undoubtedly true. Nothing has changed and we need fundamental change.

    1. Miko

      Is it? Or is it just the same idealistic crap that every politician drops when they have to run a country….

  3. galwaytt

    So now, now that the iceberg looms, they decide to admit this ? After all the protests, the courtcases, the near hysterics from all quarters ? What on earth have they been doing the last 4 years ?? Sorry, but way too little (actually, nothing), and way to late. The door is thattaway >>>>>>
    Exeunt, right.

  4. Bacchus

    What is it about the advice of civil servants that is so enchanting that their commitment to keeping information from the public they serve is always followed by their political “masters”

    Horsepoo. Civil Servants enact government policy. They may well give advice, they generally have a lot more experience and insight in their sectors, but it is only advice. Nice attempt to pander to the uninformed electorate but it’s an old trick and few enough fall for that guff anymore.

    1. Clampers Outside!

      I’d add to that, that when ‘projects’ (for want of a word) work their way through to the top of the Civil Service and make the leap to the Ministers Dept, all accountability is lost in the leap.

      There’s no buck-stops-here / accountability between the two departments and so a game of tennis blame happens when it does go wrong. Phil Hogan and IW being a major fupp up of an example of zero accountability.

      It’s built into the system of operation between all ministers offices and their respective civil departments, that no one gets blamed. fact.

      A bug bear of mine.

      1. Bacchus

        Irish Water and indeed the Property Tax are not typical. Dept of Envirionment fupped up hugely on both issues (that’s what they generally do but normally not so high profile) and handed their mess to Irish Water and Revenue respectively. Phil Hogan’s fingerprints all over them both.

  5. sp

    “Though many might want to tell Paul Murphy to toddle off or stronger words to the same effect – and he deserves at least that – Murphy wasn’t just an ordinary citizen who accidentally wandered into the Dáil chamber to ask a question out of turn this week.”

    So in McNamara’s world it would have been more justified for the Taoiseach to tell an “ordinary citizen” to toddle off?

  6. invpat

    He will be tossed out in Clare next election,I’d say he is already lobbying for work at the bar (legal not liquor).hopeless constituency TD he will follow his predecessor Mr Bhamgee into oblivion.

  7. John Martin

    It reminds me of the film Titanic. Once the leaks in the hull revealed the ship was sinking, the rats went looking for pastures new. Three years to late mate, Tschüs.

  8. bisted

    …I suppose we’ll have to get used to whinging from Labour party underlings who failed to secure the ministerial pension…but to try and blame civil servants reeks of despair.

  9. Kevin M

    He has a neck. The absolute cheek of this man. How many families has this government allowed the banks to turf out of their homes? How many young people have had to leave this country because of the government’s policies? A million people cannot afford the very basics in this country but you would labour them with water charges, even though they have always paid for their water.Your government will always be remembered as the one who brought Water Poverty into this country against massive public opposition. You wheeled out an environment minister whose only priority is his own legacy.Our elderly sit in their own filth in hospital corridors for hours and hours, pregnant mothers walk into hospitals in fear for their lives and the lives of their babies.

    Not only have you failed to bring any lasting and proper democratic reform, you have governed with fear and bullying, using our police force as foot soldiers to install your vicious austerity protocols. Your attempted power grab of the Seanad was, thankfully, seen for what it was. Your continued strangling of FOI will not be forgotten, your stifling of debate and accountability will not be forgotten.

    I would hope that those within your party and the Fascist Git party come to my door and the doors of so many who you have betrayed looking for votes, at least then there may be some justice in this country.

    How do you sleep at night, McNamara?

  10. Truth in the News

    Coming events cast their shadow, and how many more are ready to jump

  11. Spjoap

    Its a shame that the government has been allowed to act along the lines of a one party state and only when the little followers get thrown out of office they open their mouths.
    I see no one in Irish politics that is an orator a statesman or stateswoman, no one who is open or honest.
    They have followed their German masters from day one have agreed to pay more to them in compensation and fines and yet if you look at the OECD Germany is making that much money they are supposed to pay more and they are not. Not one word from our little tyrants.
    Irish water is a joke they way the FG and Liebour government has behaved makes a mockery of the words democracy.

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