Anyone whoever daydreamed through a Leaving Cert history class might have some recall of Fine Gael’s origins in the fascist fancying Blueshirts. Well, here’s a selection box of five recent moments that show today’s apples haven’t fallen all that far from the xenophobia tree…
1. Emer Higgins.
P.R. graduate and Rathcoole Councillor Emer Higgins of Fine Gael badly misjudged public opinion when she dropped a leaflet announcing that she was “delighted to announce that the Council are no longer considering purchasing houses off [sic] the developer for development as a Traveller Accommodation Scheme”. A close colleague (she claims) of Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, the previous month she’d written an article on the merits of diversity and inclusiveness in thejournal.ie. Yes Equality, wha?
2. Darren Scully
Infamous Naasist Darren Scully caused a terrible furore back in 2011 when he announced his refusal to represent Black African constituents. Upset at the “bad manners” of some of his flock, he deftly chose to go on the record and bad mouth the whole continent. He resigned… and was readmitted to the party just in-time for the local elections. He was subsequently shortlisted to join the party’s National Executive one year later. Fine Gael: a party where intolerance is more than tolerated.
3. Kevin Kiely
In 2009 Fine Gael Mayor of Limerick Kevin Kiely demanded the deportation of jobless EU Nationals. Kiely argued that “During the good times it was grand but we can’t afford the current situation unless the EU is willing to step in and pay for non-nationals. I’m not racist but it is very simple, we can’t continue to borrow €400 million a week and the Government has to pull a halt and say enough is enough”. He has also called for the re-introduction of capital punishment, good man Kevin.
4. Josepha Madigan.
Last year, Josepha Madigan of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Co Co distributed a leaflet voicing her opposition to the development of housing for the Travelling Community on council land in Mount Anville Road, Dublin 14 stating “that it was a dreadful waste of taxpayers money”. The vacant site has been considered for Traveller accommodation since 1985. Like Cllr Higgins’ faux pas, the public reaction caused the party to disassociate itself from it’s rep’s “personal opinions”. Yet in a sure sign that those 1930’s roots run deep, she has since been selected by Fine Gael to run for the Dáil alongside Alan Shatter in Dublin South – a constituency that includes Carrickmines.
5. Phil Hogan
Before boarding the Euro gravy train, Phil Hogan got himself in hot water with an intervention he made in his home county of Kilkenny. He wrote to locals assuring them that a local Traveller family “will not be allocated the house in your area”. In the finest tradition of parish-pump politics, Big Thick Phil told locals he was “glad to be of assistance in this matter”. Then he charged them three times for shite-infected water.