Kevin Myers Hatred of Fine GaelIn an article titled "Fine Gael needs a little less of the Kingstown knitting and a little more of the Kshatriya knight" Kevin Myers loses the run of himself and displays an abnormal hatred of the FG Party. Sadly Myers ignorance of Southern History is astounding. In this response I set the record straight.
The article is nothing more than a slashing attack on the FG Party. Myers is the typical Northerner from a Catholic background blinded by hatred of Fine Gael. This hatred is based on the signing of the Treaty in 1922.The article is a mismash of half truths and is completely lacking in balance. Perhaps Kevin needs some history lessons as he continues to make a complete ass of himself
He launches into an attack on the Cumann na nGaedhael Party (ancestors of FG). He omits to mention that it took over a state whose economy had been smashed by the War of Independence and the Civil War. No criticism from him of the needless civil war caused by De Valera and the Anti-Treatites. The country was bankrupt in 1922.
The party set up the institutions of the state. It set up the army, courts and a new police force-the gardai. This police force was unarmed. Myers omits to mention the large number of murders committed against supporters of the government. It cracked down on lawlessness. It made large-scale economic improvements by overseeing the growth of the Carlow sugar beet factory and the development of the Shannon scheme at Ardnacrusha. Patrick Hogan, the Minister for Agriculture, set up the Agricultural Credit Corporation. It managed to manoeuvre FF into accepting the institutions of the state. In 1932 it handed over a democratic state with an unarmed police force to the incoming FF Party(Anti-Treatites).
In 1950 Fine Gael Minister for Industry and Commerce Dan Morrissey established the IDA -The Industrial Development Authority. Sean Lemass in opposition pledged to abolish the IDA if returned to power. FF on return to power in 1951 did not abolish the IDA. The IDA has played a major role in the development of Irish industry.
FF remained in power from 1951- 1954.
In 1954 Fine Gael, Labour, and Clann na Talmhan took office. FG TD Gerard Sweetman was appointed Minister for Finance.
That government inherited an economic mess. Unemployment stood at 421,000 whilst over 100,000 people had left agriculture during the previous 8 years. Sweetman strongly opposed the protectionist policies of FF and took very hard decisions. Sweetman believed that Ireland could grow its economy on the basis off booming exports. In his budget in 1955, he introduced a radical -for the time-scheme whereby a tax exemption was provided for exported goods. He also established the prize bonds scheme as a means of covering the national debt. In 1956 he plucked civil servant TK Whitaker from relative obscurity in the Civil Service and appointed him Secretary General of the Department of Finance. This raised quite a few eyebrows but the decision was a mark of Sweetman's greatness.
The incoming FF government benefited from Sweetman's decisions and indeed the work of Dan Morrissey in establishing the IDA in 1950.
TK Whitaker was the brainchild behind the First Programme for Economic Expansion, which played a major role in Irelands economic development in the 1960s. It is to the credit of Sean Lemass and a mark of his greatness that he accepted Whitaker's proposals and supported free trade policies espoused by Gerard Sweetman and T K Whitaker. In fact Lemass was now advocating policies diametrically opposed to those pursued by FF in power since the 1930. Certainly Sean Lemass was one of the makers of modern Ireland. But so also were Gerard Sweetman and T K Whitaker amongst others. It is important to realise that without the work of Sweetman and Whitaker, Lemass would have achieved little.
The 1973-77 FG/Labour Coalition successfully steered the Irish economy through a massive oil price shock where international oil prices quadrupled. Finance Minister Richie Ryan had been demonised by FF. History now recognises his greatness. It managed to maintain the security of the state at a time of great political violence in the North. Liam Cosgrave signed the historic Sunningdale Agreement on 9 December 1973. This introduced power sharing between the Unionist Party, the Alliance Party and SDLP.
FG/Labour Governments in the 1980s inherited a horrific economic mess from FF governments led by Jack Lynch and Charlie Haughey.
Myers makes a snide remark about a tax on childrens shoes. He forgot to mention that the incoming FG/Labour government found an exchequer completely emptied by Haughey. In fact it had to borrow money from a prominent Dublin firm.
Inflation under Haughey was 21%. Under the the outgoing FG government in 1987 inflation stood at 3%. In 1985 the Garret Fitzgerald and Margaret Thatcher signed the Anglo Irish Agreement.The treaty gave the Irish Government an advisory role in Northern Ireland's government. Donal Creed-Minister for Sport set up the National Lottery.
The 1994-1997 Rainbow Coalition government of FG/Labour/DL was a huge success. It created new jobs at a rate of 1,000 per week. Justice Minister Nora Owen introduced the CAB which smashed crime gangs. It introduced the 12.5% Corporation Profits Tax which has been hugely successful in attracting industry to Ireland.
So you see Mr Myers, FG is fit to govern. You are incapable of being objective where FG is concerned. Colourful writing is no substitute for substance. Your "article" is a rant laced with a venomous hatred of FG. As such it is only fit for the trash can.