Letter: What did Enda Kenny ever do for us?
2017-07-05 14:22:49 -
Opinion
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Enda Kenny’s departure as Taoiseach has not come a moment too soon. He presided over a sterile ultra-conservative government which made the rich richer and the poor poorer. The bankers walked out of court one by one with big smiles across their faces, as the ordinary Joe Soap got fleeced with water charges and other austerity measures to clean up the mess. He kept his head down when Garda scandals became too much, and was unable to resource the force adequately.

The enormous problems in the healthcare system have not gone away, while patients get bullied into signing contracts against their interests. More patients than ever before are stacked up on waiting lists in hospitals littered with people on trolleys.

The problems with church and State relations are as bad as ever. Kenny did nothing substantial to draw a clear line between them, as was borne out in the National Maternity Hospital debacle, in which his party Fine Gael were seen to have a Catholic hue about them.

Problems with the accountability of State agencies and quangos are as bad as ever, notwithstanding the very long time he and Fine Gael have been in power, as the country rots away in high debt, as was recently highlighted by the EU.

Kenny’s ability to lead the government in solving issues such as housing was, in a word, pathetic. Developers came first while housing lists soared and the homeless were deferred to slow and very often ineffective housing charities. It was left mainly to outreach workers to provide sustenance on the streets of our cities as they waited and suffered from the elements. 

Under Kenny’s watch, we have seen crime rates soar while his party colleagues patted him on the back for a job well done. Organised crime continues to make for lurid headlines as Ireland makes do with a Garda low in moral and low on resources, and a court system that’s a sanctuary for wealthy career criminals who are legally aided at the taxpayers’ expense.

Kenny has done nothing for rural Ireland, only closed post offices and other vital services and concentrated Government investments on special interests close to urban and suburban areas.

He seemed out of his depth on Brexit, and was more interested in putting all his efforts into the pipe dream of a united Ireland than real-world economic effects. Job programmes for the unemployed fell to the ground one by one as they offered nothing but exploitation and buttons for wages, only to see their patrons return to the dole after their stint on ill-conceived schemes.

It is refreshing to see the back of Enda Kenny, a man who was quick to show his face when things were going good but nowhere to be seen when they were not. He is off now to resign to the back benches and to claim his huge pension while the country goes into the most uncertain period in its history. His send-off in the Dáil by opposition deputies and parties who berated him regularly was an astonishing show of hypocrisy, with even the likes of Gerry Adams saying he will be “missed”.

It proves the forgetfulness of Dáil politicians who now cannot seem to remember the aftermath of the Celtic Tiger and the legions of people who were foreclosed, while the corrupt bankers and gambler-investors got bailed out by the taxpayers by Kenny’s government. That’s not forgetting the vulture capitalists who benefited from the selloff of Nama portfolios in the multi-millions, while Kenny’s government dodged inconvenient questions.

Enda Kenny made no difference, and his successor Leo Varadkar, a member of the same sterile and conservative party, may yield exactly the same: protecting the status quo of our two-tier monopoly and monolith for the elite, connected, and privileged.

Maurice Fitzgerald
Shanbally, Co Cork
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