Groundhog Day is a classic 1980’s comedy starring Bill Murray as a news reporter that continuously lives one day over and over again. It’s a good story, but never quite “ha ha oh dear I’ve pissed my pants” funny. It’s good for a few laughs. On the other hand, the utterly depressing Groundhog Day-esque comedy that the Irish Republic has found itself in is considerably less so.
The announcement of a Fianna Fail/Fine Gael/Green Party coalition is a devastating blow to anyone that hoped for some semblance of change following the election in February. In fact, it is a devastating blow to anyone with an iota of common sense. I’ll admit, I wasn’t surprised by the announcement. What caught my eye was their laughable concept of a “rotating Taoiseach”. Unfortunately this doesn’t mean Martin and Varadkar over a spitfire with an M&S foodhall organic apple in their mouths, rather that Martin will take over as Taoiseach until 2022, when Leo will regain control of the sinking ship. This concept alone proves how indivisble the two parties are; which boggles the mind as to why they don’t just combine the parties into the anti-Sinn Fein alliance.
Which brings me to the poster boys for change. They have absolutely bottled it. Any momentum they had was swallowed up by the zombie government which took over during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their result in February finally gave the party a sense of political authenticity; and they became the best damn politicians they could. That is they espoused a whole lot of talking and a whole lot of promises which led to absolutely nothing. They will happily continue in opposition to the FF/FG/GP coalition and constantly berate them while having absolutely zero impact, much like the Labour party does to the Conservative party in the UK Parliament.
The latest thing I’ve seen from Sinn Fein on my social media was a survey, no doubt drafted by New York Times bestselling author Eoin O’Broin looking for people suffering within the housing system during this pandemic to answer a few questions. “Why yes I do feel like killing myself due to the mounting pressure of not being able to afford my 1200 euro per month box room,” Dano ticks, content in the knowledge he has helped Sinn Fein come to the conclusion that housing in Ireland is a problem. Who would have guessed? I certainly didn’t know until this survey. The election in February was a victory for Sinn Fein, as it has now given them the capability of becoming career politicians.
Maybe I’m being too negative. Maybe this is the dream coalition Ireland has been waiting for. Announced today was the promise to build 35,000 housing units per year. No doubt 70% of these will be “affordable housing” which start at 350k for a two bedroom flat. But fear not! The Greens will drag Ireland kicking and screaming into the zero-carbon 24th century where we can all rejoice as our affordable housing units are demolished to make way for Europe’s biggest cycling path. We just need to raise taxes to make this dream a possibility. I don’t blame the Greens however, I blame the army of mindless NCAD types that were whipped up into a frenzy by a Swedish teenager and enabled the Greens to cycle uphill to power.
So here we find ourselves. With the same two parties propped up by one of the lesser parties (this time Greens instead of Labour). In Groundhog Day, Bill Murray escapes the cycle of repeating the same day over and over by making changes and bettering himself. However, that is a fiction and this is the utterly depressing reality we have found ourselves in. The same two parties take the reins of the country time after time in the hope that something will change. Newsflash, it won’t. That my friends is a textbook case of insanity.
Aaron Flood is a writer who was born, raised and educated in Dublin. He writes with a particular interest in politics, culture and society at large.