The Case For Alan Kelly



From top: Environment Minister Alan Kelly (centre) with FAI chief executiveJohn Delaney (right) and his partner Emma English at Mr Kelly’s 40th birthday party; Dan Boyle

On foot of John Delaney’s endorsement of Alan Kelly the author argues it would be better if everyone in the public sphere declared their allegiances and inclinations.

Dan Boyle writes:

I wouldn’t be a fan of John Delaney. There are things he has done well, others he hasn’t. I would consider him to be grossly overpaid, but if he has convinced his employers he’s worth that then more power to him.

In canvassing with, and encouraging people to vote for Alan Kelly, I would say his judgement is questionable. However his right to publicly state political opinion, as a citizen, should be unquestioned.

In Ireland we live with this myth that those associated with NGOs, charities, arts organisations and sporting bodies are and should be apolitical.

This is a nonsense. Every person is political and every piece of human activity is political. The dance we practice that these people should not be avowedly political is also a nonsense. This is the Irish hypocrisy.

Maintaining this pretence sees the creation of a false politics often within these organisations themselves. A politics that is often more vicious than anything found in Leinster House.

As long as you are not avowedly political you can be nakedly so. There are caveats of course. If you are in or close to the mainstream, many blind eyes can be turned to pseudo near direct involvement with politics.

Those in this milieu can slip between the voluntary and the party political with consummate ease. I could reference Fergus Finlay, Frank Flannery or Angela Kerins, as those names speak for themselves. Those who espouse less than traditional viewpoints constantly end up being lectured on the necessity of strict impartiality.

Take the trade unions and their representatives. It’s taken for granted that they speak on behalf of the Labour Party, despite the fact that a majority of their members do not vote for that party.

Environmental NGOs take the other position. While their objectives are practically symmetrical with those of The Green Party, these organisations tie themselves up in knots to ensure that they don’t deal with The Greens in any favourable way.

Both these approaches are wrong.

It would be better if everyone in the public sphere declared their allegiances and inclinations. Knowing such biases they could be checked if they were ever seen to act on them. The likelihood is that having known what their opinions are they would overcompensate and would want to be seen in act in an opposite direction.

I wouldn’t be advocating a US approach where everyone from judges to dog catchers are linked to a political affiliation, although that could be said of our judges too.

Maybe we introduce a protocol where our citizens when brought before a court could choose a judge depending on what political party they had been appointed by? The only obvious caveat is the words or actions of anyone in the public sphere should not compromise their work or the work of the public body they represent.

John Delaney may not have anything interesting to say, but he like any one of us should not be restricted in what he can say.

Someone has to make the case for Alan Kelly.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party Td. His column appears here her every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

81 thoughts on “The Case For Alan Kelly

  1. ollie

    Dan, you’ve misunderstood John Delany’s support for Alan Kelly. His support for Kelly smacks of the old parish pump, which Fine Gael and Labour promised to remove from politics.

    As for this statement ” I would consider him to be grossly overpaid, but if he has convinced his employers he’s worth that then more power to him.” Would you apply the same rationale to Angela Kerins, the highest paid midwife in the world in an organisation where a significant amount of taxpayer’s money was spent on salaries?
    You see Dan, we all don’t espouse to this culture of greed.

    1. Dan Boyle

      I wouldn’t justify either salary but the fault isn’t with the individual but with the government system that allowed it to come about.

      1. nellyb

        Fault in the system is not a license to plunder. Same way the lack of anti-corruption laws is not a license to harvest bribes.

        1. Nigel

          Dan, why didn’t you fix everything when you were the inexperienced junior coalition partners of a party that had been entrenched in the corridors of power for a record-breaking period? You were our vague gesture at a final act of contrition on the deathbed of the Celtic Tiger, Dan, why didn’t you get us into heaven? Why didn’t you make everything better, Dan? Why didn’t you save us from austerity and save us from ourselves?

  2. Clampers Outside!

    I think the issue with Delaney speaking up is that the body he sits on gets truck loads of money from govt.

    He’s not just some guy with a high profile.

    He’s some guy with a high profile with lots of govt money.

    1. Kieran NYC

      This exactly. What if the CEOs of RTE, An Post or Irish Water came out and endorsed a particular candidate?

  3. fluffybiscuits

    Delaney has a massive salary every year. Alan Kelly earns a huge salary for his work. This is the old style gentlemens club a la le Tories where they all support one and other. Delaneys judgement is very questionable when you look at the FAI and the lack of attention on League of Ireland, the appointment of Steve Staunton and his hilariously misjudged comments on the World Cup in 2012.

    No where however has anyone mentioned that he is not entitled to his opinion, we live in a democracy.

    The rest of the article is hot air, its getting worse by the week…

    1. Dan Boyle

      Of having things of interest to say you seem to have a lot in common with John Delaney, Fluffy. There have been many references to this. Your selective reading isn’t my problem.

          1. Dan Boyle

            Wasn’t aware you had a case. I’ve already had a lengthy career – 20 years. It’s been a privilege to serve.

          2. MajorThrill

            I’m fully aware of your career – County councillor, single term TD and unelected Senator. it wasn’t the duration of your stellar career I was being sarcastic about.

          1. Dan Boyle

            Ouch. We stood knowing we were the lightening rod for the anger that existed. My average vote in all Dáil elections was 8%. Proud to offered the choice, proud to have participated, proud to have tried. Have you anything else adolescent to say?

          2. Fergus the magic postman

            Some of your replies today Dan are on a par with replies we see regularly from trolls who are pulled up for… well trolling.

            Has the conflict of interest in John Delaney’s support for Alan Kelly really gone entirely over your head? Seriously?

          3. Dan Boyle

            Don’t think so. I don’t like either man but the FAIs money does not come through Kelly’s department.

          4. Dan Boyle

            Don’t think so. I don’t like either man but the FAIs money doesn’t come out of Kelly’s department.

  4. Lilly

    I wouldn’t be a fan a John Delaney either. An endorsement from him is the kiss of death so have at it boys.

    1. nellyb

      I don’t think social endorsements matter as much as endorsements of ballot preferences [for transfers] on the election literature. I am sure Dan is on the first name basis with “ballot management planning”, like anybody who runs for public office.

      In fact, Dan, could you write a piece on ballot mechanics? From insiders point of view. Thanks!

        1. nellyb

          Ah… I heard there was more to it. But then that’s that – “heard” and prompts on posters.
          Thanks for reply all the same. I’ll slice n dice Dail Eireann’s previous election results. Something might jump out.

        1. Dan Boyle

          Would love to know the context. Their funding is usually Transport/Sport and then mainly lottery based.

  5. J

    There is a conflict of interest. John Delaney is chief executive of a private company that is in receipt of government grants. He is lobbying on behalf of a government minister in which he has a financial interest.

    1. Clampers Outside!

      There ya have it.

      Angela… and Rehab

      Finlay… Barnardos and the ‘Pretend To Want To Get People To Drink Responsibly’ lobby

      Frank Flannery…. he is political, he’s involved in FG….. why is he on that short list, I dunno…. Dan?

    1. Dan Boyle

      If you read it you would realise that it isn’t about Alan Kelly but thank you for your interest Mr. Turvy.

  6. poppy

    Tipperary is a beautiful county but id friends in Wales who dreamt of visiting Tipperary town. The world war famous song ” its a long way to Tipperary, its a long way to go…”. They were severely disappointed, said Tipperary town was a kip. Im just extremely surprised elected representatives havent made more of an effort in attracting tourists . John Delaney in his private time should be able to go where he likes . Give Tipp town a face lift guys!!

  7. nellyb

    Dan, why do you engage with comments? As a public figure you’re gagged by defamation threat, And what you’re free to say – we likely already know.
    [it’s not a swipe at Greens, i gave yous preferences in the past election and will do same with DConney in March, For the balance sake].
    Just curious.

    1. Dan Boyle

      I engage to rebut, to confront ignorance where it exists, to puncture the preciousness of those who cower over keyboards but never dare do or say anything publicly constructive. And because I enjoy it.

      1. nellyb

        Thanks Dan, wrong assumption on my side. Thought you wanted to share your political experience and pour some light on cause-n-effect of current shambles.
        “to puncture the preciousness of those who cower over keyboards but never dare do or say anything publicly constructive” – I do not believe you meant it.
        Anyhow, till next week.

          1. nellyb

            Of course not, however people engage with you as experienced political professional, but get “two pints” response instead. I personally want to know WHERE our systemic issues are. And you’re well positioned to cover that. Without diluting it into oblivion.

  8. ollie

    Dan Boyle describing Dan Boyle? “those who cower over keyboards but never dare do or say anything publicly constructive.”

      1. ollie

        the important piece of that quote was “never dare do or say anything publicly constructive.””

          1. Dan Boyle

            I’m not aware of ever having done that but I suspect that what you’re implying. Everyday in government was a battle to be heard and to try and change things. Don’t really care what any hurler on the ditch thinks.

  9. rotide

    I seem to remember another senator that espoused the notion that public figures should declare their political leanings in the public interest, McCarthy I believe was his name.

    That worked out well

        1. Dan Boyle

          On the contrary I’m responding. The content is for those agenda’s are more about me than the subjects I write about.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            I really don’t know why you bother to respond to the basement dwellers. Unless you’re in it for the craic, in which case, carry on.

      1. rotide

        Well that’s alright so, I’m sure everyone is as tolerant and sanguine on political positions as youself.

  10. MoyestWithExcitement

    People throw insults at this fella and then whine like children when he gives it back to them. I don’t know whether to be amused or disgusted at the sheer lack of balls on show here.

  11. bisted

    …got a great insight from a friend who conducts private polling …neither Alan Kelly nor Joan Burton have a chance of being re-elected and that chance is diminishing.
    Unfortunately, she had bad news…Dan’s mate, Eamon Ryan looks like he will be elected in a close run for the last seat in Dublin Bay South

  12. rotide

    I like Dan’s column. He’s pretty much the only column on BS written by someone with the credentials to be talking about what he’s talking about. He’s also the most engaging of them.

    I might not always agree with what he says but that counts for everyone really. The pervading wind of ‘why didn’t you create a utopia while you were in government’ is patently ridiculous as Nigel pointed out above and it’s annoying that this is constantly used as a stick to beat him with.

    1. inPisces

      No one wants him to explain why he didn’t create a utopia

      Some reflections in which he explains how the Green era in government was such a dismal failure would be appreciated however

  13. ollie

    Dan’s boo hoo we did our best attitude is patently ridiculous, also his refusal to address any criticisms without being a total plonker.

    1. Dan Boyle

      Because obviously we did our worse and we did so deliberately. Ridiculous is your word. Some of the responses I get here are hysterical.

      1. Kieran NYC

        Gotta say – reading the ‘feedback’ you get, I don’t know why anyone would want to be a politician. The vitriol is astounding. No wonder it doesn’t always attract the best and brightest, or the most idealistic or moral, but the ones who have necks like a jockey’s bollocks.

        Fair play to you for standing for election and now continuing to put your view out there.

  14. Ron

    This is Dan

    Dan writes engaging articles that really annoy the trolls that visit broadsheet everyday and think their opinion is important.

    I like Dan

    Be like Dan

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