You would almost be feeling sorry for our blue-shirted friends. Almost.

images-2 Listening to the news today it feels like the good times are back. One hears that unemployment continues to fall (now at its lowest level since 2009), job creation is going up, the economy is performing strongly and “could bounce back more quickly than expected” (Davy Stockbrokers), house prices are going back up, ghost estates are seeing the ghosts banished as they are finally brought to completion, Dublin Airport is jammed again and the traffic reports on radio are getting longer as the queues get longer, retail sales are up while new car sales are a full quarter up on last year. And the banks are making money! And yet for Fine Gael things appear to be going from bad to worse with disillusionment, confusion and anger breaking out among the troops. Why is it always the little things that trip our blue-shirted friends up? On the one hand they really do appear, with their partners in government, to be doing their best to do what they think is best for the country. On the other hand they go and do something stupid and before you know it everyone is talking about ‘McNulty-gate’. Boys that is really not the kind of thing you want people to be saying about you! The ham-fisted way in which the McNulty affair was handled has done nothing to counter the image of a regressive, misogynist and self-serving bunch of lads who appear to have let power go to their heads. And then to have the ultimate insult thrown at you – that this is something you might have expected from FF in the bad old days! Look at these headlines: “Minister’s driver resigns from Irish Water” “FG TD thinks McNulty appointment is ‘stroke politics at its worst’” “Jobs Minster Bruton defends crony appointments to State boards” “Public still left out as state board jobs go to ministers’ candidates” “Coalition breaking own rules on State boards” The truth, of course, is that the practise of appointing people to state boards is something that parties in government have done with impunity for decades. And in many instances those appointed are about as useful to the board to which they have been appointed as the proverbial spare tit on the bull. Anyway now that all the appointments have been made the Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform is going to make sure that this kind of thing never happens again.

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