Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Bull O'Donoghue

In an article on negative politics/campaigning in the Irish Times on Saturday 6th January, political correspondent Mark Hennessy recalled the last “Rainbow Coalition” period in office (1994-97) when Nora Owen (FG) was Minister for Justice and John O’Donoghue was Fianna Fail front-bench spokesman on Justice. Hennessy described O’Donoghue’s approach thus: "frequently bordered on the vicious"; and "certainly targeted, personal, sustained and ultimately, probably successful".

O’Donoghue, currently Minister for Arts, Sport & Tourism and a political pitbull, had a letter published in the Irish Times (10th Jan) vehemently denying this description and listing his political achievements in the Justice area while in opposition.
This prompted me to send the following letter, which I’m delighted to see that they’ve published today (Friday 12th January).

Madam - Anyone who recalls the performance of John O’Donoghue as opposition Justice spokeman will have a mental picture of a red-faced political boot-boy, laying into Minister for Justice Nora Owen.

He deemed her personally responsible for every crime committed in the country and attacked her at every opportunity. Mark Hennessy’s description of O’Donoghue’s approach was quite accurate.

In hindsight, Mr O’Donoghue’s own rhetoric on “zero tolerance” proved to be complete waffle when he became Justice Minister, while any Fianna Fail minister taking personal responsibility for bad news remains an alien concept, in stark contrast to their willingness to claim credit for the success of the economy. Yours etc.

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