Fine Gael in Dublin – is social democracy an anachronism and now anathema?

Re Group Leader of Fine Gael at Dublin City Council

For the past year approximately, it has been my privilege to lead the
Group at the City Council. Sometimes I found this onerous but mostly
it was a pleasant task.

My political views encompass a few general ideas.

1. Humanity is interdependent. No man is an island. There is such a
thing as society. The more competent always carry the less competent
to varying extents.

2. Personally, I am non-nationalist, non-racist and consider that
religions are common causes of wars and hatred with God, the deity,
called to all sides to act on their behalf.

3. I believe that you cannot buck nature and you cannot buck the market.

4. Talents in all their manifestations are distributed in a Gaussian
manner across the human race. Some are good runners, others
physicists, other boxers etc. In a civilised society, the strong
protect the weak.

5. Society has set up oligopolies to protect the professions and
develop a privileged class.

6. Society works best when the gap between rich and poor is less
rather than more.

7. Politics should reflect society which it clearly does.

8. The rights of minorities and the less able must be upheld by the
organised state.

9. In the 21st Century, the nation state is becoming deconstructed and
is being superseded by confederations in the western world. The
Internet is the most revolutionary gift that the US has given the
world. We are slowly evolving into citizens of the world not merely of
Dublin City.

10. Health, self respect through work and decent social conditions
commensurate with the 21st Century are my objectives.

11. Fine Gael used to have many Social Democratic ideals which, in the
1960s had been blended onto a Conservative petit bourgeois essentially
Catholic sectarian party mixed with the remnants of the Collins people
but also encompassed what would now be classed as the Official
Unionists mainly along the border and in Dublin.

12. Fine Gael in Dublin may be a cold place for Social Democrats.
There is no social democratic party in Ireland but such species lie
within what were the three main parties.

13. I am a liberal, economically dry, social democrat. That is clear
from what I write and say in all forums. My views are well worked out
and I can give chapter and verse as to why I hold an opinion. If I am
shown to be wrong, I will change and not repeat a falsehood.

At Dublin City Council, as leader I forged good relationships with
many of the independents and tried to extend the influence of Fine
Gael outside of the narrow party membership.

When you are a conservative yourself, it must be difficult to put up
with a social democrat as Group Leader. So best of luck to the Mary
O’Shea as the new group leader. I have other things to do in he
medical legal and toxicological spheres at the moment. I will also
monitor and comment on what is happening in our heath service.

The Seanad Election last Winter and Spring was a wonderful experience
for me. The quality of the Fine Gael people around the country is one
of the major reasons why I am still a party member. They are certainly
not all Tories by any means! And, as is obvious now, I was correct
about Enda Kenny.

Some in Fine Gael pride themselves in being Christian Democrats and on
the Right in European terms. If that is so, then the late Garret
FinzGerald and Declan Costello would have been some distance from the
mainstream.

The evolution of social democracy in Ireland will be interesting.
There is a large area for philosophical and political debate. So much
to study, so much to consider, so little time to do so.