I have never been a big fan of Labour Minister Joan Burton. Frankly I am not a big fan of the Irish Labour Party. They rarely take an interest in the North…..and too many like Eamonn Gilmore and Pat Rabitte had connexions to Democtratic Left and earlier connexions.
Mostly the Irish Labour Party shows interest in getting into coalition with (mostly) Fine Gael and then doing the right wing dirty work that harms its own voters. Just like the Liberal Democrats. Accordingly no Labour revival (it happens every two decades) is really sustainable because the Party lets down its core vote …………..it happens every two decades.
To her credit, Joan Burton is taking her role as Minister for Social Protection seriously. I wonder if she sees herself as the Guardian of the real Labour flame ……who sees the Democratic Left (née Workers Party, Official Sinn Féin, Official IR………oh wait it never existed did it?) as the tail wagging the Labour Dog. Since the merger with Labour the Democratic Left entryists …….Gilmore, Rabbitte, de Rossa, Kathleen Lynch, Sean Sherlock have done better than the old Labour faces……Quinn and Shortall……..and Burton.
Yet her criticism of fellow Minister ……..Phil Hogan (Fine Gael) for meeting disgraced Independent TD, Michael Lowry over a constituency matter……..seems over the top…and even dangerous. While there are friendships across the political divides and hostility within parties, it is surely inevitable that Mr Lowry is on first name terms with his former Fine Gael colleagues and indeed many of the other members of An Dáil.
For all his faults, Michael Lowry is an elected member of An Dáil……he was sent there by the voters of Tipperary North. He has the right to put constituency matters to any Minister including Phil Hogan and Joan Burton. And they have a duty to hear those constituency concerns.
It would be churlish of me to point out that one or two members on the Sinn Féin benches are alleged to have a dodgy past. Would Minister Burton meet them? And it would be even more churlish of me to point out that if the Official IRA……….ever existed ……..which of course it er didnt….no sirree……….Minister Burton might have to stop talking to lots of people.