The new ‘partnership’ between the SDLP and Fianna Fail will see a link up between the craw-thumpers for the Northern Bishops and the most corrupt entity that ever existed in Ireland.
To be fair, the scale of Fianna Fail’s corruption is related to the long periods it held office. If Fine Gael ever gets a similar record, they would equal FF in the corruption stakes.
Fianna Fail began as a radical party, founded by De Valera to break away from the absentionist policies of Sinn Fein. Initially, it spoke a language that was to the left of anything ever spoken by Gerry Adams.
In the 1920s, Fianna Fail promised to rid the country of banks and a standing army because they regarded them as relics of an imperial age. They wanted to replace them with credit unions and a citizens’ militia. They frequently invoked the name of James Connolly when supporting workers struggles.
But once they took office in 1932, it was a different story.
The rhetoric about ending partition was replaced by one which promoted and defended the ethos of the 26 county state. In one famous example, De Valera, called for the sacking of a librarian in Mayo because, as a Protestant, she was not deemed a fit person to distribute books to a largely Catholic population.
FF formed a close alliance with the Catholic Church to clamp down on any moves to introduce divorce, contraception or provide students with sex education.
Women who married were excluded from the public sector workforce under this type of fundamentalist regime.
This legacy remains within FF to this day as most of its TDs opposed the Repeal of the amendment outlawing abortion.
Aside from this conservatism, FF was mainly distinguished by its corruption.
One leader, Charles Haughey, was a regular taker of bribes and did favours for top business people.
Even while Taoiseach of the country, he was involved in an Ansbacher account whereby rich people hid their money from the Revenue Commissioners.
His successor, Bertie Ahern had signed the cheques for Haughey and was also forced to resign because of dubious ‘loans’ he received.
The present leader of FF, Michael Martin served with Ahern and never opened his mouth in criticism.
This corruption and tax dodging has had a detrimental effect on the Southern population.
To this day, there is not a proper health service that treats people according to medical need rather than the size of their wallet. People wait for years for basic operations – all because a corrupt elite want to use the country as a tax haven for the rich.
The partnership from which the SDLP and Fianna Fail arises is the fact that they are kindred spirits when it comes to social conservatism and defending the wealthy. Let’s hope that they get a marriage made in hell.