IN HOT WATER Former minister Katherine Zappone and Tánainste Leo Varadker.
THERE’S no denying it. Our politicians in power are part of the Great Entitlement Club, the elite, with one law for them and another for the rest of us.
In my view, and in that of many others, it’s way past time that Tánainste Leo Varadker stood up, took responsibility and faced the music about his attendance at former minister Katherine Zappone’ large outdoor social event at the luxury, five-star Merrion Hotel. He has ignored the people he claims to serve. The only one he is looking after is himself.
Some time back he showed his disrespect for people of faith with his remarks on attending church and sacraments. We also see it with his speaking out of both sides of his mouth when it comes to taking advice from Nphet.
Of course, he is aided and abetted by An Taoiseach Micheál Martin. This is the man who went on record last year saying there wasn’t a hope in hell of Fianna Fáil going into coalition with Fine Gael. People told him they wanted FG ousted from government as he hopped around the country. Yet his words meant nothing, especially to himself.
To me, these men are not statesmen. They are mé-féiners, or chancers, quite simply. I believe they’re unfit to govern our country. Micheál Martin wanted to be Taoiseach at any cost. It was so obvious. Now he finds he cannot lead, cannot take action and certainly hasn’t a bulls clue what’s going on in his Liquorice Allsorts government. Leo is the ringmaster.
After much delay and outcry, Leo finally apologised to the hospitality industry on Friday night last, while insisting that his attendance was ‘probably’ within Fáilte Ireland guidelines. Let’s not even go there on why the Attorney General ran in like an Olympian sprinter to pass the bail-out baton to Leo Varadkar by claiming that it was legal to have up to 200 people at an outdoor party. And the hospitality sector weren’t aware of it! You couldn’t make it up. We might laugh at it, but it has really gone beyond a joke.
People are fed up with the deceit and double standards from politicians. In a time of pandemic, with fear being breathed from almost every Government quarter, they were very quiet when their Covid hospital figures were challenged.
“A big jump in hospitalisations,” they claimed, until it was brought to their attention that there is a difference between people hospitalised because of Covid and people in hospital with Covid (who caught it during their hospital stay, as was the case for many people in the Mayo General).
‘Grubby little episode’
Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall TD has challenged the recent Olympic dash by the AG: “The Government spent weeks in negotiations with the hospitality industry, about the rules that should apply to their businesses, but we now learn that everybody was working from a misplaced understanding of the law.
“Instead of the numbers for outdoor social gatherings being strictly curtailed, it is actually possible to host an event with up to 200 people. Curiously, this revelation was only made public after the Tánaiste himself attended a private function in a five-star hotel with 50 guests. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the government has sacrificed its own public health guidelines to save the Tánaiste’s political skin.
“This grubby little episode suggests there is a prevalent attitude, among an elite in Irish society, that there is one rule for the little people and another for them. It is possible to host an event for scores of political insiders at a swanky hotel, but Communions and Confirmations are deemed too dangerous to proceed while wedding parties cannot exceed 100 guests – even if they are held outside… Has NPHET been consulted about these new guidelines?”
We have heard no real detail from Minister Simon Coveney also about the Zappone appointment – as my colleague John Healy points out in his column – how, why, when, where and what now? At a time like this we deserve better from politicians and deserve a lot more from those in leadership positions.
It’s left to HSE CEO Paul Reid to appeal to people not to drop their guard and ignore the frustration and confusion emanating from the Zappone gig. How do politicians! They’d even put Boris to shame – and that’s something.