In view of the seismic rumblings now taking place in the lower strata of the political earth in Ireland, as the unintended consequences of the Irish coalition government’s “ final solution” abortion legislation begin to unfold, it seems like time to look at the political future.
The quartet of rebel Fine Gael TDs expelled for voting against the Abortion Bill were promised yesterday at Ireland’s biggest ever public street demonstration that they will receive the full backing of the pro-life movement in the next election if they decide to run as independents.
The big political question now is what strategy will be best to bring about the formation of a new political landscape – the pre-election formation of a new party or the flooding of the Dail chamber with a new wave of independent, conscientious and intelligent members who will then put their heads together and collectively and freely deliberate on the needs of the country and the common good of its people.
The Sunday Independent speculated today that the four deputies who have been whipped out of their party and other Fine Gael dissenters could be attracted to run for a new political party, now being actively advocated by a group led by Libertas founder, businessman Declan Ganley. It is another option but somewhat more complicated than getting new and better blood into Dail Eireann on the wave of revulsion against the old politics now sweeping the country.
That wave became stronger yesterday with the revelations about the emails and other messages which were doing the rounds before the last election, exposing further the barefaced audacity of the Taoiseach’s U-turn on abortion legislation.
The Independent reported: In the run-up to election 2011, a “direct approach from Enda”, which was unsolicited, was made to the PLC, (Pro Life Campaign), seeking to associate Fine Gael with the views of the pro-life movement.
One pro-life source said that once FG had made contact “they wouldn’t stay away from us, they were insatiable, they kept on coming back for more and more”.
The claims are backed up by a series of e-mails, where on Saturday February 19, Fine Gael noted its strong pro-life stance and added: “We would be most appreciative of your support in spreading this message to your supporters at your earliest convenience.”
A day later, another e-mail from Mr Kenny’s then legal adviser said the party would be “obliged if you would send to your supporters and post on your Facebook page” the FG position.
One PLC source told the Sunday Independent they were told the hierarchy were “very anxious the message got out, that it would be put on Facebook as quickly as possible after that e-mail. Fine Gael headquarters made several calls over a period of days to ensure that the message was getting out on Facebook and on e-mail to pro-life supporters”.
A spokesperson for PLC, Cora Sherlock, said: “Fine Gael went to extraordinary lengths, they courted us. It was made clear Enda Kenny was centrally involved and willing it on.”
Fine Gael was not entirely united, though. At one point the pro-life camp was told: “Alan Shatter was trying to hold it up but he was told by the Taoiseach’s men to back off. Shatter stayed quiet – for once he knew what side his bread was buttered on.”
Others were more supportive. One PLC source claimed the then Fine Gael front bencher Leo Varadkar “followed his letter up with a call to assure us how committed he was to the cause”.
Fine Gael TD Simon Harris also sent an anxious e-mail in the final week of the campaign assuring PLC that: “I am happy and proud to assure you I am pro-life.”
Mr Harris added the nervous plea of: “Please be assured of my support. I need No1 votes on Friday so I can be in a position to support these positions in Dail Eireann.”
“I’ll smile and smile and be a villain” Richard III said to himself – according to William Shakespeare – on his way to medieval murder and mayhem before finally being butchered on the battlefield at Bosworth. Smiling young Mr. Harris may soon get his comeuppance