Keeping Their Recovery Going


Minister for Housing Simon Coveney speaking to Seán O’Rourke this morning

This morning.

On the Today with Seán O’Rourke show.

Fine Gael’s Simon Coveney said he needed five members of the parliamentary party, who’ve already declared for Leo Varadkar, to switch their allegiance to him – in order for him to win the Fine Gael leadership contest tomorrow.

Mr Coveney also spoke of “hard-left” parties and “a dependency culture”, saying:

I’m about representing people who don’t vote for Fine Gael, people who have felt excluded from economic recovery, people who need the State’s intervention today, whether it’s a housing or healthcare or education or whatever, they are the people, in my view, who in the future will see Fine Gael, as a party that’s there to help them.

“And by the way, this isn’t some kind of left-wing agenda. Many of the hard-left parties in Ireland advocate for a dependency culture, where people demand on their rights for free, high levels of social welfare and so on.

“What I’m about it actually helping people to contribute in a positive way to society and the economy and if people can’t get up in the morning to go to work, or they’re not motivated to do that or they come from a jobless household, Fine Gael needs to be the party that’s asking the question: why is that?”

Sound familiar?

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar on RTÉ Six One on May 22

Readers may recall an interview Fine Gael’s Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar recently did on RTE’s Six One, in which he said:

“Well, I suppose, they’re people who do exist in Ireland, unfortunately, there is a degree of an entitlement culture. It mightn’t be many people but there are people who believe and, you know, they’re very often supporters of the far left, that believe that everything should be free. And that, you know, somehow, Apple or bondholders or somebody else should pay for it, or billionaires who don’t live in this country. And I don’t accept that culture.

“I think, I come from a very different political point of view. I think everyone who can should pay into the system and by paying into the system, we can all have a better society.”

“Yeah, they’re [a] pretty small [group] but they’re loud and they’re growing and the kind of politics they preach is the idea that we should have, you know, free education, free healthcare, free housing, free everything but you shouldn’t have to contribute to it at all. Somehow that, you know, billionaires living overseas or American corporations, that make their profits elsewhere, are going to pay for everything. I think that’s dishonest.”


Readers may recall the 2016 general election results (above).

It saw Fine Gael win 50 seats – 26 seats fewer than it won in 2011.

It followed the party losing 105 seats in the local elections of 2014.

Following the results of the 2016 election, Fintan O’Toole wrote in The Irish Times:

If much of the political establishment is shaking its head in disbelief, at least it knows how the Irish public has felt for much of the last decade. Citizens have been told a story by the last two governments and by much of the media: Attacks on the most vulnerable were both necessary and salutary. Austerity works. The troika programme was like chemotherapy – unpleasant and at times sickening, but effective medicine. Putting tens of billions into dead banks was a good idea. The systems that failed so catastrophically have been reformed. And everything is getting inexorably better.

This was not just an Irish story – it was a European narrative: Ireland vindicated the tough love of the dominant centre-right ideology and made its disastrous response to the euro crisis look a lot better. Ireland is the anti-Greece. If only everyone had been as good as the Irish, Europe would be fine.

What voters said on Friday is in some ways highly complex but in relation to this dominant narrative, it is very simple: we don’t believe you. Over the past five years, most citizens have watched the little drama that has been scripted for them – a morality play of sin, punishment and redemption – with feelings ranging from mild scepticism to passive disgust to furious outrage.

…Indeed, there has never been popular consent to the combination of harsh austerity for the little people and astonishing generosity to bondholders. It was emphatically rejected in 2011 and at the local elections in 2014.

The strange thing is that the Government, for all its well-paid handlers, never grasped this essential fact. It was so convinced of its own heroic virtue that it simply could not believe that anyone beyond the ranks of the malcontents and the whingers could fail to share its enormously high opinion of itself.

The winner of Election 2016 is social democracy (Fintan O’Toole, February 29, The Irish Times)

Listen back to Simon Coveney’s interview here and watch Leo Varadkar’s interview here

41 thoughts on “Keeping Their Recovery Going

  1. jusayinlike

    A tidal wave is coming and the right wing cults are trying hard to ignore it..

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      Yep. Neoliberal economics is unsustainable. You can’t keep taking from the many on the bottom to give to the few at the top. Eventually there’s nothing left at the bottom but rage. ‘Eat the rich’.

      1. :-Joe

        Yes, this…

        A really important point and simply put.

        Move on to Ireland v2.0alpha and make it better than France v7.0beta


  2. Rob_G

    I’m not sure what point Fintan (and by extension, Bodger) are trying to make: sure, the 2016 election was far from a ringing endorsement of FG. But they still got more seats than all of the broadly anti-austerity parties combined, so again we have an FG government.

    Also, I seem to remember that FG were the only party willing to form a government last time around, too.

    1. Fact Checker

      Comparisons of raw seats won between the 2011 and 2016 general elections and the 2009 and 2014 local elections, respectively, are specious.

      The 2016 general election saw an overall reduction of six seats nationwide. The 2014 local elections saw a large reduction in the number of councillors, abolition of town councils, and a slight re-weighting so that the huge disparity in councillors per head between rural and urban local authorities was reduced somewhat.

      Clearly FG saw a decline in seat and vote share in both elections. But unless you are doing an adjusted comparison – which the Irish media is too innumerate to carry out – the raw numbers are not meaningful.

      1. ReproBertie

        Also 2011 was FF’s meltdown. The amnesia of the Irish electorate and the austerity necessary after FF messed up the economy meant FG were never going to repeat that success.

        1. Fact Checker

          FG got a big seat bonus vis-a-vis their vote share in 2011 because Fianna Fáil ran a sub-optimally large number of candidates.

          Kildare North is a good example. FG took 2/4 (50%) of seats with only 33% first preferences. FF took 0/4 seats despite taking 14.5% of the first preference vote. The problem was that FF ran two candidates, neither of which could pull into fourth place as the counts progressed.

          This error was never going to be repeated in 2016 where FF ran only one candidate in most constituencies and only ran two where they would be competitive.

          To some extent the same thing happened to FG in 2016 as happened to FF in 2011. For example five-seater Tipperary where FG ran three candidates whose combined 16% vote share was spread too thinly for them even to take the fifth seat.

    2. realPolithicks

      “Also, I seem to remember that FG were the only party willing to form a government last time around, too”

      Thanks Robbie, I got a good laugh out of that.

  3. MoyestWithExcitement

    “if people can’t get up in the morning to go to work, or they’re not motivated to do that or they come from a jobless household, Fine Gael needs to be the party that’s asking the question: why is that?””

    Because poor people are lazy scroungers who’ve been brainwashed by the hard left and they’re laughing at us working stiffs and living the life on €188 a week. Obviously. Nothing to do with depression, a lack of hope and a lack of self confidence stemming a society that looks down on them as subhumans. We need to kick these lazy bums up the botty. Love and empathy are for weaklings.

    1. Milo

      The bang of victimhood is strong on this one. If I was unemployed for whatever reason, Id hate to have you on my side. Then again, you’re only a student so you don’t really matter. You’re just something the rest of us have to pay for while you get slightly less awkward and angry.

      1. Kennysmells

        Yes Milo imagine being unemployed or hard up; you’d change that awful tune your trying to play on your FG fiddle

    2. Andrew

      It’s got feck all to do with depression, lack of hope or confidence.
      The middle class left want to keep people on welfare where they are.
      The middle class left look down on welfare dependants and don’t think they have the ability to do anything else. They write them off.
      Just like you have.

    3. Fact Checker

      Ireland has had an unusually high share of jobless households both before, during, and after the economic crisis.

      Households with children are also much more likely to experience joblessness, to some extent because Ireland has a high share of lone parents, and of course lone parents are less likely to be in employment.

      See more here:

      “Ireland consistently has a higher proportion of children living in jobless
      households compared to the EU average, even in times of high growth and low
      unemployment. In 2007, for example, when the proportion of adults in jobless
      households in Ireland was 7.2% compared to 9.3% in the EU, the proportion of
      children was 11.6% compared to 9.4% in the EU. “

      1. DubLoony

        Most lone parents work. But households in consistent poverty are likely to be lone parents.
        45% of our population receive a weekly social welfare payment – this includes unemployed, lone parents, pensioners, disabled, carers etc
        The reason why some people aren’t up early in the morning is quite simply they can’t or it takes them an hour. For people like that, its a triumph to be able to do that much.
        FG attitude is insulting to so many.

        For people who should be working, there needs to be a more personalized approach. Some will be older, others its childcare affordability, others will be a confidence issue or ex-prisoners, or any number of reasons why they are stuck.

        1. Fact Checker

          “Most lone parents work.”

          Census 2011 showed 212k lone parents with children, of which 92k were in employment. So not a majority.

  4. Otis Blue

    This faux concern for the marginalised or disaffected is complete tosh from Coveney. He has been a serving Minister for six years now. Let him name just one initiative that he led that was about social justice, equality or a fair society. Let him evidence an imprint that he made on successive programmes for government. He’s merely seeking to create a tactical counterweight to Varadkar’s obvious biases.

    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      Otis, it’s Herr Flick v Leo Kardashian. Neither one of these rhymes with sticks has an ounce of empathy or sincerity in their entire bodies. “WHAT’S IN IT FOR MEEEEE” is all they, or their spiritual fellows in FG/FF/LAB, comprehend or care about.

      1. Happy Molloy

        You’re much smarter than that juvenile name calling Sheik, you can make plenty of good points without it. Just my opinion, no offence meant.

  5. Otis Blue

    These chancers can hardly believe their luck. Without a singular achievement to their names, they’re within shouting distance of the big prize.

    Two cheeks of the same arse.

  6. :-Joe

    It’s all Bullsh1t and it’s bad for ye folks….

    The political system is a giant ponsi scheme, politicians in power don’t know what they are doing most of the time and they don’t really care because they don’t need to, the institutions keep everything ticking over nicely.

    The class sytem operates to keep you all in a box. The middle class are taught to fear becoming the working class which drives them to work harder under the illusion that they will one day become part of the elite while at the same time carrying the most of the workload for driving resentment and crucifying the poor and unfortunate members of society.

    The elites sit back and pull the strings so that less than a quarter of the population enjoys ALL THE FRUITS OF NO LABOUR.

    You can keep thinking and acting against your own self interest but wholeheartedly for the grand charade of The Fine To Fail two party coalition majority


    You can do yourself a real favour and leave behind the 60% voting majority that supports these two halves of the same problem and then things will really start to change and fast too.

    Use your voting power to force FF/FG to decline and merge into what they are in reality, the same party and let them fight and actually earn their positions in politics for a change.

    It’s time for another dynamic in Irsh politics, a new republic, Ireland mark 2 and it’s long overdue…


      1. :-Joe

        Yes and if we can’t stir up enough for the full on storming the walls of the castle this time round then…

        I’d settle for even just. a little…. Evolution !!

        Hardly asking for too much too soon really… are we?


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