Fianna Fail’s latest contortions on the Leo the Leak fiasco have proven that it is in fact quite possible for a political party to occupy a space some distance below rock bottom.
In fact, if shooting yourself in the foot was a sport, Fianna Fail would surely be Olympic champions by now.
For what is clear at this point is that while Fianna Fail may be in government they are most certainly not in power.
Reports that Fianna Fail have committed to supporting Leo Varadkar based on some kind of perverse quid pro quo, i.e. that he stops “undermining” the government are beyond embarrassing.
This is the political equivalent of a parent throwing its hands in the air and admitting that the only way they can ‘control’ a wayward and awkward child is by humouring all its demands.
“If we are nice to him and keep giving him what he wants then maybe he will settle down and get his act together.”
This is not a political strategy to be admired. It is instead a response that deserves the scorn and ridicule it is receiving.
The more serious point here is that this stuff is genuinely damaging to what little remains of the integrity of Irish politics.
Fianna Fail, operating from a position of intense self-inflicted weakness has chosen to rationalise their protection of Mr
Varadkar in a series of transparently ludicrous statements.
“It’s a ball of smoke.”
“He has been playing games constantly and we hope this brings it to an end,” one minister said. “His way of operating up to now will have to end and the contract issue should draw a line under it,” another Fianna Fáil minister said.
Just how exactly such a Damascene conversion is expected to come about is not clear.
Do Fianna Fail ministers and TD’s really expect a man who plays “games” with the stability of his own government to suddenly see the light?
Can a single one of them provide an answer as to why Mr Varadkar should stop playing games when every time he breaks the ‘rules’ he may not only be supported but actually lauded as having acted with the public interest at heart?
What little political ‘capital’ Fianna Fail had in reserve is being squandered through its response to this debacle; not only because of the way in which it is has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory but also because it has now made itself the villain of the piece.
Varadkar may have acted stupidly, but Fianna Fail have responded with obvious and glaring levels of self-interest and self-preservation.
And in the eyes of many Irish people, it is the latter which will be seen as the graver sin.