Micheal Martin is waiting for an invitation to Washington DC, an essential trip it seems.
Fianna Fáil loyalists may wonder why their leader is so unpopular, but today’s announcement that he intends to travel to the White House for St Patrick’s Day (if invited), is yet more confirmation that Martin’s propensity to infuriate is as strong as ever.
On the same day our leaders have confirmed Ireland’s status as an open prison with onerous travel restrictions on anyone that might like a break from the misery, An Taoiseach took the opportunity to rub it in by all but booking a first class seat on a sycophantic trip to the US capital.
Is it essential that he goes? Well, we know that anything of even the slightest importance could be said over Zoom, but we’re also aware that photo-ops are the bread and butter of self-serving careerist politicians, and they don’t get much bigger than handing a bowl of shamrocks to the US president.
Martin’s calculation of the personal benefit of meeting President Biden outweighs any risk of a peasant revolt at home. It’s an essential trip for his image, but certainly not essential for our benefit.
Will the Taoiseach quarantine after the trip like anyone else would have to? No, those measures are only for plebs, not for essential workers like Mr Martin.
The Irish media, of course, have failed to expose the reality of such inconsistent, hypocritical behaviour, preferring not to stoke unrest among a population being taken for fools. They will not cover this story as another faux pas by the government, but instead portray it as insignificant in the midst of a pandemic everyone else is bound to take seriously.
At the heart of the Irish media is ultimately a major conflict of interest, buoyed as their coffers are by unprecedented government spending on Covid-19 advertising, a revenue stream they hope will continue well into 2021, but which requires them to deflect attention away from the enormous collateral damage the lockdown is doing and will do into the future.
The cost is not just economic, but is also paid by those who commit suicide because their depression couldn’t be treated as readily, or by those whose cancer screening appointment had been cancelled and is now too late, or those who cannot hold the hand and attend the funeral of a person they deeply loved.
These issues and many more have not been given proportionate weight by decision-makers in government mainly because the media are not holding them to account by shining a light on the hidden suffering so many in Ireland are enduring.
It is simply not in the media’s financial interest to focus anywhere other than the threat of Covid-19, which is why today’s RTE Radio 1 news bulletin led with a story about the WHO warning us against complacency, rather than focusing on the rank hypocrisy of our Taoiseach.
The madness of this situation will continue unabated until we the people realise the merry-go-round that exists among Irish elites.
Our money is funding not only RTE, but also the government, who in turn give more money to RTE for advertising, who in turn make sure their paymasters’ message, brand and image is protected at almost any cost, thus securing their high-paid jobs in perpetuity.
And round and round they go.