We must never forget the damage Fianna Fail did to us all
LAST night's TV3 programme, The Rise And Fall Of Fianna Fail, was meant to be a history of the party. In reality, it was a history of us.
If you wonder why we are billions in debt, why 7,000 people are on hospital trolleys around the country, you will find clues in last night's programme.
An ideal got lost in corruption as power was misused for personal gain. One of Fianna Fail's founders was Eamon de Valera.
Devs's original dream of a pure Irish nation itself became corrupted when money raised in the US in the Thirties, which was meant for the country, was channelled into the Irish Press. The now defunct newspaper was set up to back Dev.
Another early loss, which was covered in the debate afterwards, was the party's early anti-Church stance. It had gone by the Thirties. The influence and power of the bishops was imprinted on all parties, with devastating consequences. Think of the Cloyne and Murphy reports today. What if someone had stood up to the Church back then?
A standout feature of the show for me was the sight of so many FF people saying they were shocked by Bertie's tribunal evidence. I was kinda shocked by how shocked they were.
Did they really never get a sniff of anything? It reminded of everyone's 'shock' when CJ Haughey's dealings were revealed by the McCracken and Moriarty tribunals. None ever wondered at the time as to how Haughey managed to purchase an island and build a country mansion. Very strange. This denial just doesn't apply to Haughey. In the more recent fundraising era did they never hear the stories of fellas passing brown envelopes?
This worked from county councillor to higher levels. This was cash that, in many instances, never found its way to the party.
The programme highlighted how the rot truly set in with CJ. He corruptly took more than ¤45 million in today's terms. Some still refuse to acknowledge the seriousness of this.
Bertie did his standard denial of how he got money and wasn't pushed on it. However, credit to Ursula and TV3 for covering a lot of ground.
Haughey featured strongly and is associated by many with the notion of 'The Boss'.
The cult of the leader actually originated with de Valera, based as it was on the old IRA structure. CJ and Bertie continued it to a truly detrimental level.
It was sad that the party was there to serve the leader and not the other way around. Sad, because free secondary school education, welfare provision and cleared slums are part of the FF legacy.
Sad, because today the recklessness of FF's leaders and some ministers have contributed to the mess we are in.
Something else emerged from last night's programme. We would have known very little of the corruption were it not for the Moriarty and Flood tribunals.
Yes, there has to be a better and cheaper way of investigating matters. However, they flushed out the likes of Ray Burke and CJ Haughey.
Today FF is barely alive. Ursula Halligan made the point that the party was slowly becoming obsolete because the united Ireland dream was rendered obsolete by the peace deal.
I don't think people here ever cared that much about the North in the last 20 years, however, the issue of our sovereignty is critical in accounting for FF's collapse.
The reason for the party's death is our debt. We will owe ¤194 billion in four years' time.
Whatever about world conditions, Irish people will never forgive FF for that and for the sight of the IMF/ EU walking down our streets to take control.
Sovereignty, the FF founding principle, is out the window.
Last night's programme was a reminder of how power and greed can corrupt an ideal.
Let's hope we don't forget the lesson.
Read Pat Stacey's TV review, Page 35