February 10, 2010

Office politics snuffed out Fine Gael's brightest star

Posted in Irish Independent · 361 comments ·

Like you, I’ve been listening to many opinions on the George Lee episode. The one thing that has stood out in all the conversations is just how out of touch the political insiders seem to be with the rest of the population. The political insiders — the politicians themselves, party members and canvassers as well as the political pundits and correspondents who live inside the world of the Dail — speak of George’s betrayal, his petulance and something called procedure. Of his many crimes, the idea of not knowing your place appears to be a significant offence.

On the other hand, you examine the polls taken by ‘Liveline’ and the like and you get a totally different picture. The average person believes George; the average person trusts him and supports his move to quit. If these polls are to be taken at face value, could it be that the political “insiders” are out of step with the civilian “outsiders”?

Arguably we have a clear division between, on one side, the wizened, “nose-tapping” cynics who believe they know how things should be done and, on the other, the wide-eyed, possibly naive, optimists who hope for change. The George Lee saga could well be the first skirmish in a long war between those who believe the system should be defended — the insiders — and the outsiders who believe the status quo is part of the problem. One of the most significant and consistent criticisms of George by the insiders has been that he didn’t do his time. Some say he couldn’t hack it. But hack what? Hack the “slowly, slowly, don’t rock the boat” world of biding your time, playing the game and, ultimately, engineering a career based on climbing up the slippery pole. Of course he couldn’t hack it and why should he? He wasn’t voted in to do that.

Another politician yesterday spoke earnestly of learning the ropes. He suggested that George didn’t really give himself a chance to understand how the system worked. But why should he have? Surely the point is that the system is the problem and if someone with his specific talents (for economics) is seen as being of equal value in an economic crisis to another backbencher who can’t spell monopoly, then what is the point in the whole exercise? Either we vote for competence or we don’t.

To the observer, it is difficult not to conclude that George scared the daylights out of lesser able contemporaries who decided that the only way to deal with a bright star was put manners on him. So leave him out, let him cool off. Anyone who has worked in an office will recognise the tell-tale signs of office politics.

One of the classic ploys in this game is to let it be known that the person’s assets are in fact superficial and a liability for the “hard graft” of the ground war. And so it came to pass. Amazingly, another factor that emerged as a stick to bash him with is that George Lee is famous, articulate, intelligent and a great communicator — and rather than these being attributes that could be deployed usefully these are seen to be the dubious affectations of a “poster boy”, leading to slurs such as narcissism and self-absorption.

When are the political insiders going to realise that there are people like George Lee who stand out from the crowd because of the very talent that distinguishes them from others? This is why people follow them. This is why 27,000 people vote for them, precisely because they are not like everyone else. Sorry, the world isn’t equal. Some kids are better at football than others, that’s just the way it goes and the one who is better gets picked.

George Lee’s crime was honesty and having the courage to ask, why? Why should it be like this? Why should we serve time on the backbenches? Why should the best economic communicator in the Dail who has forgotten more about economics than most of our politicians will ever learn, have to sit and listen to men on his own side make things up as they go along — spoofing and clutching at second-rate notes scribbled by advisers?

Just in case you think this is one high-profile economist defending another one, I acknowledge that I know and like George Lee. We were both economists in the Central Bank years ago — so we go back a long way. I have huge respect for his talents and know that he has “living room” appeal. Ordinary people believe him because he has been both right and honest in his work over the years. What the insiders don’t understand is that he has done his time, just not in the Dail. He has done his time where it really matters, in people’s living rooms. This is his currency. It is not celebrity, it is credibility — and credibility is what is lacking in politics.

Not deploying George Lee effectively is not an academic point. Fine Gael’s “good” bank was the best solution to our banking crisis. It is a basic model used in many countries. There is no need for a NAMA; instead the old banks should be allowed to disappear and their deposits transferred to a new bank. The State is the major shareholder in the new bank and so can make a huge profit for taxpayers when it is sold. The old creditors take a nasty haircut but get equity in the new bank and they stay in the game. That’s the basic story. It is easy to sell, easy to understand and far preferable to the NAMA monster (which the IMF told the Government close to a year ago wouldn’t work).

But instead of getting George Lee to sell this idea to the electorate which he would have done in his sleep, and in so doing might have created a united front against NAMA with a credible alternative, Fine Gael didn’t deploy him effectively. God knows why. Selling this idea should have been his and his alone and the older, more established politicians should have been big enough to see that he was the best man to sell it. He is the man that your auntie believes. The trust of the aunties and mammies of Ireland is hard earned. They see through show-boaters. They remember who said what when. They remember in the last few years, George Lee told it as it was. Who in Fine Gael is going to replace him? Who is going to do things differently now?

Worse still, whether you agree with the way he departed, who — with experience — will now contemplate joining one of the established parties now? On the other hand, maybe this episode brings closer the emergence of a totally new party looking to change, not preserve the system.

  1. Tim

    David, I agree with 100% of this article.

    Please start the new party; then sign me up.

    • wills

      Then after tim David sign me up.

      • GF

        And after Wills please sign me up David.

        Seriously, I don’t think you realise how much support there would be for a new party, led by the people who saw all this coming, led by the people who warned of the impending doom, led by people who have a united front and a detailed the exact exit plan.

        A party that would be disbanded after say, eight years, once the economy and political system was fixed. Run like a project manager would run it, with regular Status Reports to the people, RAG reporting, priorities of change, MoSCoW, etc.

        David, START THE PARTY, we all have our beer cans, grass and best clothes ready…

      • Jonathan Hannon

        I agree with David completely on this. I do believe that George is a man of principal and integrety. It turns my stomach to see hald witted politicians playing the “game that is politics. David hit the nail on the head with all his points. I have seen the inner workings of politics first hand. They all play a game, the civil servants included. Every type of back bitting a two faced behaviour you can imagine is going on and all masked with words like mission, progress political correctness. Its all so false and so cynical. A bit like the inner workings of Hollywood. All image and no substance. George was totally naieve to think he could change this from the opposition. The avergae fianna fail backbencher has no power, no say and no input. That is a fact and their the government party. What input could a Fine gael backbencher expect. Everyone has missed the point this week, this action by Lee should have seen us examine massive constitutional change regarding how the business of politics is carried out. Again we missed the point. I went to the leviathain show hosted by David before christmas in Galway. A local Fine gael senator was also on the podium. She’s one of these really intelligent people thats never had an intelligent thought. I got so bored listening to her party line rubbish that i resorted to heckling. So we roared at her repeatedly “where’s george? where’s george?” she wouldnt answer even when david picked up on the heckling. The dogs on the street knew that Fine gael had hidden george away and indeed phoenix have been writing about it for months. Kieron O’donnell, another family dynastic politician has been chasing brutons coat tails for months. In a nutshell, george for a little silly but well meaning, fine gael weren’t able for a star. The game continues…

      • adamabyss

        Yes, I want to join too.

    • mcsean2163

      Couldn’t disagree more with David except for the final sentiment, a new party is needed.

      I think George Lee’s resignation is treasonous and would be in favour of a law preventing an elected representative from resigning without some mitigating circumstance – health, family, etc.

      Why didn’t Lee start the new party? It’s an absolutely appalling act to commit, why didn’t he kick up a fuss, talk to the press etc. get the balling rolling in FG. Just goes to show what a bag of s these guys and their rhetoric constitute.

      “hey everybody, you’re all wrong and stupid, if i was in parliament it would be different.”

      “hey now I’m in parliament I’m incapable of achieving anything. i blame the system. i’m leaving”

      What does he propose? A dictatorship with himself and DMcW where they make no decisions but give out about the people that were there before them.

      • mcsean2163

        Edit: I think George Lee’s resignation is almost treasonous. I still haven’t fully decided if it is treasonous or not. It’s certainly a huge waste of money.

        • Treason has defined semantics under the Irish constitution. See article 39.
          “Treason shall consist only in levying war against the State, or assisting any State or person or inciting or conspiring with any person to levy war against the State, or attempting by force of arms or other violent means to overthrow the organs of government established by this Constitution, or taking part or being concerned in or inciting or conspiring with any person to make or to take part or be concerned in any such attempt.”

          Treason is a criminal act under the laws of this state. So its arguably a defamation per-se to allege George Lee is committing treason in a public forum.. Putting an “I think” before it doesn’t let you off the hook either as it’s still an allegation. as in “I think you’re remarkably churlish to abuse someone on their own site”..

          Also a bit ironic that you’ve exposed yourself to a tort by insulting Lee and McWilliams on DMcW’s own website. Not sure Irish law has taken the “mere conduit” argument into account so the site moderator might want to take a look at your comment. Lucky both these “dictators” are reasonable blokes.

          • G

            I don’t agree with the comment on Lee, think it best to move on.

            But what if the State is deemed to be acting in a treasonous way towards its citizens? (i.e. neglect, betrayal, acting against the interests of its citizens and for those who have perished on trolley’s in hospital corridors, been complicit in death)? A State which is viewed as irreedeemably corrupt by its citiens, does that government still have a mandate to rule when 75% seek an early election?

            A government hell-bent holding on to power despite the calls from the people? Is this democracy?

            Is the government legitimate/credible when it is alledged to have played a leading role in the mismanagement of the economy? Failed to ensure the financial regulator did its job (monitor the banks and other financial institutions)? Allowed a competitive edge to be lost, prices and wages rise? Leading politicians who availed of preferential loans from financial institutions which are close to nationalisation (conflict of interests) or amass property empires while fully paid public representatives? Allow them upon resignation from office to join leading professional/lobbying bodies for industries that should have been regulated? Is this proper? Is this in the public interest?

            A State which aided and abetted the effort to inflate house prices, driving thousands of citizens into contrived ‘negative equity’. A government which failed to diversify away from construction and overly dependent on foreign multinationals and the financial services sector?

            A State which has been neglient in the provision of health care and education to its citizens…….

            A State which is close to ‘Failed State’ status.

            How did Steve Biko respond to the Apartheid governments use of the ‘law’?

            How did Fidel Castro respond to Batista’s application of the ‘law’?

            How did the French respond to ‘God’s representative on earth’ and his court in 1789?

            How did the Polish respond to the Gauleiters in 1944 and their laws?

            Do morality/ human dignity/rights supercede such laws?

          • I agree with you G. I guess my point is that criticism and fair comment is required but commenters on this site should, for sound reasons, avoid accusing anyone of a criminal act when it’s they haven’t been convicted of one.. It could create problems for the site owner who has graciously created a forum for public debate where he often takes some severe criticism. Actually, I don’t think the government’s actions constitute treason BUT I do believe that some of their actions may be unconstitutional. Public outrage is entirely justified yet it seems many Irish have put the head down and decided it’s all hopeless. We don’t have official “class actions” as in the US but there may be a way for the people to legally challenge the government.

            By the way I was in Greece a few days ago and everyone I met wanted to know how bad our economy was.They don’t believe our economy is improving. I spoke with an economics researcher who believes our nama debt guarantees we’ll be an economic basketcase for many years. Have you seen this article in the Guardian?

          • mcsean2163


            Thank you for updating me to the definition of treason and the legal implications of accusing someone of treason.

            You may have noticed that I included the word “almost” in my edit following my first response. This is similar to an immediate retraction. I accidentally excluded this in my first remark. If you had noticed it, I don’t know why you wrote your comment. I’ll assume you didn’t notice it.

            I felt that GLee’s department after 9 months in parliament was an insult to the Irish Republic, to the parliament and to the people who elected. I felt in doing this, that he is directly undermining the state as a whole.

            These things may be meaningless to you but they mean something to me. I would prefer if there was a legal process that would follow such an act by a politician, such as 30 days imprisonment, a fine or similar.

            Perhaps I’m being extreme and maybe it’s better to let people jump the boat if they’re not interested but at the same time I think it did national damage.

    • Mother of Three

      Please start a new party, five voters here ….and let us know how to help.

  2. brum mayo

    Having listened to RTE as an outsider with no skin in the game I must admit that I was taken aback at the way the station personell were trying to whip up anti-Kenny hysteria,literally ten hours of this tripe both of the last two days,Is it now the national broadcasters duty to attack the opposition?George Lee was part of Fine Gael who are in opposition,how on earth can he state that he had run out of patience with his quest to fix the economy,even if he were party leader or shadow finance spokesman he would have no power whatever to change anything,did he ever brief off the record?Even by Irish standards his behaviour is bizarre!This was a spin operation similar to what we in the UK have constantly churned out by our clapped out Labour administration.

    • Deco

      Brum Mayo – you should have changed your listenship to Denis O’Brien’s radio stations. On O’Brien’s radio stations the presenters were relentlessly making fun of Lee. You would have been much happier there.

      I personally have decided to boycot Newstalk and Today FM. Denis ‘taxation’ O’Brien wants a FG government. I am not providing any assistance to this tax dodger who wants to decide on the nation’s government.

  3. MT25

    great article David. With all the frenzy It was sometimes all too easy to lose sight of the fact that GL went into this with passion and public service in mind – in a time of emergency. Good on him for havin a go.

  4. G

    I think George Lee behaved appallingly, revealing political discussions to the media hounds on the steps of Leinster House being one of the unprofessional acts.

    The guy lasted 9 months, 19 weeks the Dail sat, someone mentioned he turned up for 40 days or something, are we supposed to applaud this ‘renegade’?

    He was appointed Chair of an economics committee which he never convened.

    He had full access to a generally compliant media.

    What about his duty to the 27,000 who gave him the first perference votes?

    What about the two people in his office who are apparently losing their jobs?

    What about the constituents in dire straits, who need issues resolved tonight as I write this? Do they have the luxury of waiting for a by-election? Or a state job paying allegedly 150k per year?

    Whatever about the political system (which has been written about at length) you’ve got to learn the ropes, you’ve got to learn the rudiments of parliament, electricians, accountants, administrators, solicitors, junior doctors all have to serve apprenticeships – but not George Lee!!! What ego!

    We are on dangerous ground when we get into cult of the leader, hero-worship stuff.

    Name one thing George Lee did in office besides sulk and wait for someone to knock on his Majesty’s door, he talked about urgency, you’ll probably say he wasn’t allowed………

    He should have sucked it up and got on with it, there are ways around everything, but I doubt the guy had the will or the interest.

    We need fighters not quitters. I have to do it every day I get out of bed, why should it be any different for George Lee.

    For me, this is the flip side to the complaints about our politicians, same stuff, just in a different guise.

    • Are you a fine-galer ? Did you not listen to what the man said when he quit on Monday ? The country needs action NOW not next year or when the next election takes place – And you think he behaved appallingly by revealing political discussions to the media hounds ? REALLY ? I wouldn’t object to a few more of them taking a truth pill and revealing their political discussions .. at least then we might know what is really going down in this (doomed) little island of ours ..

      • G

        I’m not a Fine Gaeler, I am a Republican, not in the connotation it has come to mean in Ireland, but in the original sense of cherishing all citizens equally regardless of ability, background or ability to put sentences together in a coherent fashion.

        I stick to my views on Lee, he was not the change we were looking for, nor needed, I think he got more than he bargained for, and quickly did the mental calculation and got out of dodge, that’s fine for Lee but not for those he left in the lurch.

        • Deco

          But surely if you are a Republican you should be delighted that these imposters and snobs have been revealed for what they are.

          Anyway what on all earth was the son of a motor mechanic doing in FG ? He should know well that he was not did not have the correct pedigree for them. Especially in Dublin South – of all places.

          G, I feel obliged to repeat a question that I asked two weeks ago. Where is your self-respect ? These are a collection of liars. I am grateful to Lee for telling us the truth. The truth no matter how painful must guide each of us.

      • brum mayo

        “The country needs action NOW”
        Did wee George not realise he had joined the opposition party?poor diddums,just cos its his party it does not mean government is HIS right!
        Was he looking at the the long term ever?
        more like he had the script written for the patriotic movie “Georges 90 day turnaround”
        An UTTER ASS

      • Robert

        Then why didn’t he join FF – the party in Government – if the country “needs action now”?

    • Spare Change


      Are you a Fine Gaeler? Be honest

      • G

        I’m nothing but honest on this site, I am not a Fine Gaeler as I have stated, nor am I a Fianna Failer, more closer to the a socialist outlook on politics, libertarian socialist/anarchic, but I am not aligned to the socialists for various reasons, I am a Republican in the original sense, not of Northern Ireland definition, although I do respect some of the social aspects of the policies on the Left up there.

        I think George Lee had his huff and puff called by the reality of Dail life, people have to work incredibly difficult jobs, my own father is self employed, my uncle did 12 years of night work but stayed the course, Lee couldn’t do 9 months in relative comfort and slight intellectual discomfort, if he couldn’t figure a way out of his supposed ‘maze’ then he is best to be on his way, but the taxpayer will have to pick up the tab for his ‘crisis’.

        I am not a fan of Eoghan Harris but I can’t see what the issue is with what he said on Newstalk, far more honest than anything I heard in my time in Ireland since I returned from abroad.

        It is quite hilarious, Spare Change, you have me laughing – next you’ll be accusing me of being Harris’s bastard child!

        • Spare Change

          Just reading your posts you come across as very angry at poor lil George, the only other people that are angry are entrenched FG’s.

          If you are so against the current political system, why arent you attacking it as opposed to Mr Lee???

          • G

            You obviously haven’t been on this blog very long, absurd.

            Nor is it emotion – pure logic and reason, well maybe a little angry or annoyed for those people who were counting on this joker to represent them!

        • Spare Change

          Classic mole answer

          Start with the Damnation “you obviously havent been on this blog very long” I am talking about your comments on this page alone G, where you quiet clearly attack George Lee using the same crap that has been spouted by FG for the past 2 days.

          If your so anti FG & FF what do you think should be done?

          Anyone smell a rat????

          • G

            I’m no mole brother, enough with your Stalinist witchhunt, it ill becomes you, and no, I didn’t complain about your blog just in case there is any effort by a double-agent.

    • Robert


      I totally agree with this assessment.

      The title provided here by DMcW (Fine Gael’s “brightest star”) is nothing short of a joke.

      He simply wasn’t up to the demands of being a TD (He admitted as much when he told Kenny last week that he was ‘drained’).

      Hardly surprising since he has lived in the enormous protective highly overpaid 4 hour working day that is RTE.

      Can someone please tell me what exactly it was that Lee foretold about the collapse in the economy/banks?

      Personally I can honestly say that I never once heard him during the 2005-07 period talk about the excessive house prices in Ireland. Only “reporting” on it.

      Lee has an immense ego – 27000 voted for him in anger at the present Government . . . . . and now he has done more to keep them in p[ower than any single individual.

      Furthermore he is a godsend to other “high-profile economists” (strange that DMcW would use such a term) – for e offers the perfect excuse of “Don’t ask me to get involved . . . . . Sure look what happened to Lee?”

      • Spare Change

        Another FG’r, for gods sake, do you people not realise we are fed up with FG & FF, neither party is right or good for Ireland.

        Robert why dont you go to Bill Twoumeys website or whatever his name is and knock off one to his lovely letter to George Lee and leave us in peace from your Fine Gael nonsense.

        • Robert

          I am not a member of FG and I have never voted for FG in my life and I do not intend to do so at the next election.

        • G

          Listen Spare Change, not everyone who deviates from the ‘common consensus’ or unlike George Lee, the prevailing winds is a Fine Gael member!

          • Spare Change

            Yes, true, but which are you?

            You still havent answered my question on why you have spent so much time in the past 2 days attacking George Lee and not the political system??

          • mcsean2163


            I agree fairly wholeheartedly with you assessment of Lee. It beggars belief that people say he did the right thing, quitting, quitting from the job he was elected to carry out.

  5. I agree 100% – the first honest (former) politician and some in the country have the brass neck to ridicule him .. is it any wonder that we’re in such a mess .. start that new party UP and QUICK ..

  6. Malcolm McClure

    David: Enough already about George Lee. He was a one day wonder. People wanted change and pinned their hopes on George. He wasn’t up to it. You should be grateful, because he saved you the trouble of going through the same doleful experience, as many here have suggested.
    Horses for courses. George is an Derby runner and somebody entered him for the Irish Grand National. Surprise, surprise, he fell at the first fence.
    Let’s stick to the real problem, which is the stability of the euro. You asked for useful links. Here’s one:

    • Tim

      Malcolm McClure, With respect, I think this misses the point: until we get the political actors and system right, we cannot correct our economic course.

      I t is not “about George Lee”, it is about us and it is about our mode of politics. Lee wanted to manouvre like a small “topper”, but found himself stuck aboard a supertanker and he knows the turning-circle is too large.

      He assumed that he could enter Dáil Éireann and still be moving through a regular atmosphere of air; instead, he discovered that it is like trying to move through honey.

      He has revealed it and it must be changed.

      • wills

        All economics is political.

      • G

        people seem to have an uncanny ability to lay out exactly what George Lee had in mind.

        I find the whole thing rather incredulous. Who knows what he was thinking? His actions not words or thoughts speak volumes.

        If anything his antics have distracted people and the media from the real issues.

        Thanks to Malcolm McClure for getting things back on message.

      • Malcolm McClure

        Tim I completely agree. “I t is not “about George Lee”, it is about us.” ….Us and 100,000 like us. Until we get 1000 people participating in this blog twice weekly we will remain a negligible sideshow. I notice a significant increase recently. We need more word-of-mouth recruits. Then we will have more clout than George Lee ever achieved.

        • Tim

          Malcolm McClure, you are (of course) correct, here. I really hope that DMcW’s hint at a new party in the final paragraph is more than just “copy”.

          If so, we get to a new level.

    • Spare Change


      The guy saw the shambles Irish Politics was in and realised reform was not possible.

      Stop defending the politicians and the political system, it is making me sick. Your narrowmindedness does not deserve a voice.

  7. wills


    George killed the dragon.

  8. [...] Office politics snuffed out Fine Gael’s brightest star | David McWilliams [...]

  9. Ruairí

    Hi all,

    well written David. It had to be said. You were attacked personally and told to jump off a cliff. That suited many in FG also. An attack on David McWilliams or an attack on George Lee or an attack on Shane Ross is an attack on freedom o expression, honesty and REALITY for the vast population on this island.

    G, and Malcolm, and others, it is VITAL that the George Lee incident not go on forever but that it end on the right note; not spun by 1st FG and now FF. He attacked the ‘laissez-faire’ of Dáil Eireann. He was an outsider with competence, sought out for that reason. Who acquires shiny weapons and then doesn’t let the world know about them? George Lee had to be utilised, he wasn’t. deterrents are for peacetime, not war-time. 9 months is long enough to have a new son or daughter that you didn’t even plan. 9 months is an AWFUL long time to be in arrears. 9 months is an AWFUL long time for a bank to be insolvent. Get real please.

    Here is an open letter / a challenge that I sent to every major newsdesk in the country late last night. A few responded positively. None negatively. All ran with the torch today, if I am correct from my monitoring of today at the creche.

    I am sick of gombeen politicians telling competent people, including all posters here, how things are and how things must play out.

    “Dear Sir / Madam,

    re George Lee and the revolving door claim by Peter Kelly, TD for Longford / Westmeath: -

    It seems ludicrous to me that a TD can say something so lacking in credibility and so full of fear and deception and be allowed to get away with it.

    83% of those who were polled by Liveline on Monday (I was one) believed that George Lee was justified in walking away. He was true to his mandate, they feel and took the required action.

    Yet on Tuesday we have this press release from the hallowed offices of FF HQ: -


    “It appears that George Lee is about to step straight back into a plum job in RTE after just eight months as a politician and this can hardly be acceptable, according to Fianna Fail TD for Longford, Peter Kelly.

    Deputy Kelly, Vice-Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, said : “The former Fine Gael TD has quit politics and has indicated that he is to return to a big job in RTE. I find this completely unbelievable, particularly in the current economic climate.”

    “Few other people have the freedom to leave their job, try something new, and then come back to their job if they simply become disillusioned and decide that their new venture is not for them.”

    “The system whereby other people like teachers, barristers, etc return to their jobs after their time on a career break is over is well established and there are good reasons for it.

    “But it is different with RTE. They are supposed to be imparting the news in an independent, dispassionate and detached fashion. To have a revolving door as seems to be the case for some individuals is hardly right.

    “If people leave RTE to enter politics they should not be able to flit back in the door if they cannot cope,” concluded Deputy Kelly.”

    Do you as a journalist not report “the news in an independent, dispassionate and detached fashion”?
    Do you accept such a wide-ranging slur on a journalist’s presumed professionalism and therefore that of all journalists? Is this not implying that non-State media are biased? Where was this man in his official role, when George Lee was voted into the Dáil? Why did he say nothing then? I believe your listeners have a stomach full of FF and FG. They live in a different world to the ordinary debt-laden people of Ireland. Nothing could be clearer.

    Do you as a journalist accept that there is some special magic rule that we must not question that allows teachers and barristers (conveniently covering off attack on current FF deputies and FG / Labour too) to return to their posts unscathed but not for George Lee, a full-time reporter on sabbatical?

    Is Mr Kelly TD telling us, the ordinary people, that the Dáil is only for the preserves of teachers and barristers and self-employed publicans like Brian Cowen, Batt O’Keeffe, Michael Noonan and Mr Kelly etc? To put an ordinary person off entering the risky world of politics? To make it too difficult for private sector workers or anyone not within his magic set of rules to challenge the status quo in Dáil Eireann?

    I do not accept his attack on George Lee and his attack on the principles of professional freedom, honesty in civic society and the right to employment. This is an attack on every journalist and is also therefore an attack on the wider rights of citizens of Ireland.

    I feel you should probe his line of thinking further. I and many other free-minded citizens will take the fight to him gladly as I feel he is abusing his position as Vice-Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Communications.

    He holds two seats on committees, http://www.fiannafail.ie/people/peter-kelly/ one of which George Lee apparently could have taken the place of Deputy Leo Varadkar on. These committees are necessary, double payment is not though. If Mr Kelly is so concerned about the times we’re in, perhaps he might start there and give back his allowances and do his job patriotically? George walked away from salaries, pensions and committee allowances. Mr Kelly’s background is as a publican and a funeral director. What in the name of God would he possibly know about either committee specialisms??


    • Robert

      “An attack on David McWilliams or an attack on George Lee or an attack on Shane Ross is an attack on freedom of expression . . . . ”

      Do people not have the “freedom of expression” to disagree?

    • G

      George’s reasoning is far too simplistic for a man of such widely trumpeted ability (McWilliams included).

      He saw the writing on the wall, nailed people on the way out the door, let down those he was elected to serve and is now being handed garlands for his ridiculous behaviour – we are reaching new levels of absurdity.

      Even if we accept he wasn’t getting a hearing, which I find hard to buy, did he really have the right to throw the whole towel in and leave everyone in the lurch and two people unemployed??

      That really helped the economic situation, if he was as smart as almost everyone seems to say he is, then how come he couldn’t find a solution to the ‘challenges’ he faced? Did he reach out to colleagues? Build Alliances? Table Motions? Get out and meet the people? Get his considerable media contacts into action?

      Lee can’t go back to commenting on economics, he can’t go back to a political role, so will he be put out to pastures courtesy of the tax-payer until he can come back into such a role? The ‘people’ he so publicly stated he was out to serve?

      Do we really want someone who would walk away at the first sign of trouble?

      If he couldn’t surmount the so called ‘office politics’ within Fine Gael then would he have been an effective Minister or just someone content to call himself Minister for Every Blooming thing!!!

      Lee resigning was perversely a victory for democracy in Ireland, God only knows where it would have led.

    • Tim

      Spare Change, be careful; you will be attacked for that, since I am a (delinquent) memeber of FF.

  10. Spare Change

    Great Article David, you hit the nail on the head. Never mind these FGrs (Malcom & G), I suppose if George had of been elected for FF they would be crying fowl, saying George is a great man who was run out of the Dail by FF.

    Party politics does not work, until the poeple wake up and realise Irish politics needs a new force, a new party, we are going to be stuck with the current “player”, gombeens & quangos.

    • Robert

      Spare Change,

      Not in a million years would Lee have joined FF and then become their by-election candidate on the same day. No FF convention in any constituency in the country would have selected any person (not even Obama) on that basis – and they’d be right?

      FG and the people of South Dublin gave “the ego” his chance – and 9 months later he stuck his two fingers up to him all because he wasn’t the centre of attention.

      Does a trainee doctor expect to be made a consultant in 9 months?

      Does a newly qualified teacher expect to be made Principal in 9 months?

      Does an RTE ego who joins a political party expect to be made its finance spokesman in 9 months despite the fact that their are qualified economists already holding such positions?

      Apparently yes.

      • Spare Change

        FF or FG or Labour or Green it makes no difference. The views being expressed here are of the opinion that the Irish political system is a shambles, George Lee figured this out first hand.

        By mocking or attacking George Lee you are defending the Irish Political system, a system that is outdated, that is played by players, where change doesnt happen quickly unless you grease the right palms.

        Forget about Georges RTE job, forget about his “ego” the simple fact is FG used him as a poster boy, the same way our politicians use us a plebs.

        If you think the Irish political system isnt in need of change then you shouldnt be here.

        This is a place for new ideas for change and for reform. If your not down with that then go elsewhere.

        • G

          absurd, two separate issues.

          As Robert correctly points out, George Lee probably did more for the FF government than any single other issue or individual in recent times, for that reason alone he should not have resigned, but when its the George Lee show no considerations outside of your own come into play.

          The damage seemed to be so orchestrated and reasoning so poor that some where I am accuse him of being the ultimate political Trojan Horse, brough into the heart of FG and denotated a political atom bomb.

          • Spare Change

            G & Robert. Ok we have established that neither of you is a FG’r nor have you ever voted for Fianna Gael.

            What is you view on our current political system and politicians in general in the Dail?

            I am all ears?

          • Spare Change

            If Lee was a Trojan Horse they would not have pressed the detonate button yet.

            This is mere deflection G and you know. It is plian to see for everyone.

            What are your views on politics, politicians & the political system in Ireland?

            I am all ears?

          • G

            @spare change

            they didn’t press the denote button, he did!

            As for my views, I believe in ‘reform’, I believe in ‘public servants’ not having property empires or second jobs or many other things.

            I believe in a political system which puts the interests of the people first and foremost, I believe in a Republic, the ideal of the founding fathers however ideal, which cherishes all citizens equally, where a house is not a commodity but a home, where people don’t have to work two or three jobs to pay off their bank slave masters, I believe in a Republic which provides health, education and other public services for their citizens and doesn’t charge them 100 euro in A&E or brings in water charges or cut the salaries of the low paid, unemployed to bail out their banker/developer friends, I could go on but I think you catch my ire – now they are things I am very angry about, Lee is a mere footnote to the whole appalling period.

          • Spare Change

            Good Man, thats fighting talk if I ever heard it.

            Now if we could just channel that George Lee anger towards the very prats in the Dail who are running this country, we will be one step closer to the goal that we all want.

            A New Party, with Fresh New Leaders, to challenge the fecking stalwarts and players in the Dail.

          • G

            spare change – George Lee is an active part of this system……………hence my ire, my double ire because of the pretence of being something else and now the ‘reasoning’ for leaving which do drive me mad!

            Leaving honest people in the lurch, which I see day in and day out drives me bananas, no matter who does so!!!!!!!!

            Lee has distrubed my peace so now he reaps what he sowed!

      • Ruairí


        I think if you look the world of revolutionaries instead of medical centres and schools (we are after all conducting a war for survival of our way of life), then you might find better examples.

        Ché Guevara was a medical student, almost qualified; yet within a very short time he was advanced through the ‘ranks’ by Fidel Castro and in the battle of Santa Clara (we might have our own yet in Offaly as Santa’s from Clara but he’s BAD SANTA) he won depsite being outnumbered 10-1 http://latinamericanhistory.about.com/od/historyofthecaribbean/a/08battlestaclar.htm, a feat which is still studied and honoured by American military scholars.
        We do not have time for apprenticeships. Or niceties. Or not causing offence. We do not have need for Neville Chamberlains, we have need for Churchills. We do not have need for Peter kellys and Brian Cowens and Brian “Peace in our time “Lenihans. we have need for Brian Luceys, David McWilliams, George Lees, Shane Ross etc etc.

        9 months? Are you guys soft in the brain? Every week, this freight-train to hell is speeding up and the dead bodies are piling up exponentially.
        Robert, 1 month from now, when you post , do you believe that economic stats (PEOPLE’s LIVES!!) will have gotten worse or better? George Lee was silent, more or less, for the last 9 months. For the last few days, everything he has spoken for is on the table again.
        You may or may not agree with extremism, be it bombs or sudden resignations or what not, but you owuld have to be crazy to not admit that it catches the attention like nothing else. negotiation is only for when you are talking to nice people, rational people. People genuinely concerned about win-wins for all stakeholders. Trojan horses and dirty bombs and guerrilla tacttics are for when you have been out-manoeuvred, out-flanked and brought to the table too many times with empty promises………

        Is it right? Who knows? Depends on the circumstances. Does it get their attention? Yes.

        • G

          And how long Ruairi did it take Che to get to the level of Comandante before he could work out Santa Clara, longer than nine months my friend, he had to learn how to handle men, weapons and tactics, he also bowed to the superior knowledge of Fidel and others, not quite as clear cut as you potray, Lee is no Che by the way – you couldn’t get a more unlikely comparison, a man who risked life and limb and another who joined a right wing party, walked away from the people he was elected to serve for the security of a permanent and well paid position in RTE, give me a break.

          • Spare Change

            I agree with Ruairi +++1, although George is definetly not Che.

            The revolution need not be bloody. I seriously doubt the Gardai or Army would defend this Governement, as long as the word has beed spread to them.
            It could be a peaceful coup. Can you imagine Biffo & the boys hightailing it to Sean Fitzpatricks Marbella pad. Now that would be a sight to see

          • Ruairí

            G, George’s political colour is irrelevant. Surely you can grasp the metaphor? In fact, I know you can. Your posts are highly intelligent, congruent and full of empathy. And then you fall for the machiavellian works of Dail Eireann, realise your folly but plod on regardless on the wrong side of the argument just for sport I presume? Resume your proper place at the table, at the side of right and reason, and stop all this daft carry-on ;-)

  11. Spare Change

    The Irish Reform Party, has a nice ring to it.


  12. Alf

    Hi David
    George Lee got a lesson in how tight a grip the insiders have on the political system. Having ideas is one thing but the Irish party whip system is very tightly controlled. George Lee realises the urgency of the situation and wanted things to be changed not now but yesterday. He wanted Fine Gael to articulate an alternative to NAMA, to use its poll advantage to counteract the lies told by Fianna Fail. But lets be honest here; at the top anyway, both parties are controlled by the same crony actors. Two branches of the same tree. George has shown one thing though, that a Fine Gael vote will be a vote for more of the same.

  13. G

    We are now in with the PIGS


    Who will be the first to fall?

    Will George return in Joan D’Arc format?

  14. Tim

    Folks, listen to Eoghan Harris protecting thosewho have their snouts in the trough, by attacking the “whistle-blower”:


    • Dilly

      Brilliant !!, Eoghan Harris just showed live on air, just how pointless Seanad Éireann really is.

      • ThomasFergus

        Eoghan Harris should be a dragged through the streets of Fallujah, a town whose destruction he cheered to the rafters….he’s the scum of the earth.

      • Deco

        Thanks for that Tim.

        Harris is a waste of taxpayers money. In fact he produces nothing of value. He got handed the job as a result of a favour rendered to a politician.He has biased opinions. And just lives off the tax system. He also likes to say that other people are parasites.

        Eh..hold on…he is a parasite.

  15. Spare Change

    By the way, I know which of you reported my video as an abuse. I do have a web tracker on my site, it tells me everything I need to know about every visitor.

    Just to let you know I have reposted it. If you report it as abusive again I will name and shame you on this site, as it was amember of this site.



    • Dilly

      Thats the best video of its type I have seen so far, considering all that has been loaded onto youtube these days, by people who see through the lies.

    • G

      Spare change, despite our disagreements, I like it, hilarious actually, is it available on youtube? will pass on the link, always liked that song.

      I don’t think Ireland is mature enough, given from what I have seen of the way people interact and view talent, for a new political party, we have what we have for a reason.

    • wills

      Spare change.

      Please, when you can, explain how one reports a video and reports it to who?…….!!!!

      • Spare Change

        Somebody reported it as abusive on Blogger. Blogger is owned by Google.

        Blogger is handy if you want to set up a quick site for free in 5 minutes.

        Problem is if someone reports the content as offensive or abusive, Google effectively own the content and can take it down if they so please. In reality it is just some 20 year old guy sitting at a desk in California who will review the video, and if it contains offensive or inciting content he can remove it.

        I was told it was reported as offensive, maybe it was cos it contained the word “Fuck”, which I stated to my defense is now in the Oxford english dictionary

  16. Spare Change

    One more thing….

    In the foundations of every movement there are moles, whose sole function is to thwart, debunk, create smokescreens and doubt in the minds of possible new followers. I experienced this first hand. I have seen these people at work on other sites. I know their games and how they play them.

    Beware, there are such individuals here. Beware their underhand tricks, beware their minor deflections to keep you away from the main point of the arguement.

    How can you spot them??? well thats easy, they are the one who want to keep the status quo.

  17. Thank God we are talking about a new party. It’s the only way forward and George Lee has done us a service by showing his frustration…. There are over 400,000 people unemployed in this country now, at least 300,000 probably want a job and a job in the Dáil is well paid – surely we can find at least 80 good people out of all those and more besides who are still in employment. New people, new party, new government.
    Thank you George for showing us the Enda is not the future.

    • G

      did we need heroic george to show us that, george added two to the unemployment line, wonderful, maybe one of them should stand for election and then they can employ the other!!!!!

    • Robert


      I wouldn’t get too excited about the formation of a new political party from this site or anywhere else.

      The last time a new party was formed in Ireland was in 1985 when one politican (Des O’Malley) didn’t get on with another (Haughey) and left FF with his mates. It had nothing to do with the dreadful state of the country then. We’ve all seen where the PDs have left us.

      I remember being absolutely delighted when Lee was elected – especially with such a massive mandate – as it was a kick in the arse for the crowd in power now.

      His articulation of his criticism of FF following showed that more like Lee in politics could change Ireland for the better.

      Perhaps we will never know the real reason why Lee left.

      My own view is that he never realised the demands of politics.

      He might well have legitmately asked himself: Do I really want to do this – spending less time with my wife and family, getting paid vastly less than in RTE whilst working until all hours?

      His own pride and ego would not let him tell the people of Dublin South & Ireland that he’d made a mistake – instead he came up with waffle.

      • Spare Change

        See another deflection above. Robert is already trying to discourage and prevent the start of a New Party, here or anywhere else.

        Robert, do you not GET IT, THE PEOPLE WANT A NEW PARTY

        D O I H A V E T O S P E L L I T O U T T O Y O U.

        Like I said if you have nothing positive to contribute why dont you go somewhere else.

        Robert, you actually sound like a politician “My own view is that he never realised the demands of politics”
        In fact you sound just like Leo Varadkar.

        • Robert

          And who exactly is going to lead your NEW PARTY on 30k a year?

          • G

            there are people who would be prepared to do it, Joe Higgins only ever accepted the average industrial wage, money isn’t everything, I would much rather be surrounded by good people and ideas and leave a legacy in terms of public service, I buried a dear friend on Monday and money wouldn’t have done him much good on the day.

            He was an honourable man and 700 people showed up for this removal and his son said at the mass, he played the lottery religiously but never won a euro, but judging by the crowd that filled the church he was richer beyond imagination.

            I would have to concur.

          • Spare Change

            Jesus youre so uptight and straight you cant even spot humour when you see it.

          • Tim

            Robert, I will.

          • wills

            sounds good tim.

      • G

        would have to concur, makes more sense to me than the stuff he came out with.

  18. finbarr

    We have a great apetite in Ireland for celebrity economic guru’s. The Lemmings that follow are a smart bunch but lemmings none the less.
    I say hats off to George for actually trying to get involved.

  19. David,
    Again on the button,
    With the departure of George Lee, I believe we are witnessing the complete demise of the now exposed Enda Kenny and the out of touch Fine Gael with the realities of the current economic situation!
    Enda Kenny, having scored a resounding national coupé by getting the country’s top economic commentator to come on side, has now with the departure of Grorge Lee completely destroyed any hope of becoming Taoiseach
    There is no use in telling the public that one has to under-go training in period when one enters the Dail
    Remember the first people that entered the Dail did not have to undergo an apprenticeship.
    This is just hor****
    All this now does, is tell the general public that Fine Gael is just as mush a hostage to its accumulated
    Ancient practices, that at sometime in the long distant past might have been useful.
    This episode exposes again my contention that the practices in the Dail that all political parties conform to is way outdated and has no place in modern Ireland
    Again I state that I believe that the system is corrupt and dysfunctional
    This lame attempt to now clam that all new TD’s included George Lee must first have a type of apprenticeship before they can contribute is just farcical
    I would not vote for somebody that I thought was just going to be an apprentice
    This shows the public that true nature of Fine Gael, it confirms that even in opposition they seem to have a lot of Prema – Donnas
    They are trying to make the public conform to their way of doing business
    We won’t have it, and in the next polls you will see how pissed off we really are!
    I call on George Lee now to form his own political party and I can promise him at least 30 of my friends to join him immediately
    If Fine Gail wants to help form the next government they will have to shift Enda Kenny
    His judgement is now on the Floor!

    • G

      “I call on George Lee now to form his own political party and I can promise him at least 30 of my friends to join him immediately”

      You would REALLY want to think about this!!

      • Spare Change

        No thanks. Our Irish Reform Party will be pure, it will not be even slightly blemished by the stink from the Dail.

        Doubt if George would interested anyway, we are reducing TD’s salaries to 30k per annum for a 40 hour working week, with only 5 weeks leave per annum.

      • ian


        FF have destroyed us
        PDs were shown the door
        Shinners haven’t a rashers
        Greens are now just FF light
        Labour want unions to run everything
        FG just lost there best player

        Tell me again why we really need to think about this.

        Surely we could find a few good men and women to set up a new party,maybe call it(THE UNEMPLOYMENT PARTY).
        That could be 440k votes straight away.

        • Spare Change

          David did tag it at the bottom of his article, time for a New Party.

          Maybe he is drawing from many of the view expressed here, maybe he knows something we dont.

          But like I said does anybody know exactly what it takes to start a new party? How much funding will be needed? What are the legal steps etc?
          Anyone with any knowledge? Robert even?
          Any takers?

          • G

            ha ha – the day McWilliams puts it all on the line :-) any man concerned about pushing his latest book isn’t the material for leading a popular politicial movement, no personal offence david, liked some of your articles but think I can read the play, you are clearly not the sort, I listened to you speak publicly, no one is the complete article, pardon the pun.

          • wills

            G,…. bit ungracious eh! D is always keeping an open mind and this is central at all times to preserve sanity over emotion, nothing more important and you may be mis perceiving this for something else.

    • G

      I genuinely believe Kenny will emerge stronger from the Lee debacle………….I think he actually handled it well, and I am not a fan.

      • Spare Change

        Enda Kenny, come on G, are you talking the micky or what?

        Enda is a gentle man, a quiet man, politics is not his game. I always get the impression that he is not quiet comfortable, he is like the shy boy who has been pushed up to the fromt of the class to speak, he mutters too much.

        I have heard he is very good one on one with people, but trying to get his message across to the nation…..he just doesnt connect.

        No matter how bad FF are, I just cant see the East Coast of Ireland voting Enda as Taoiseach. Brian Cowen could probably get drunk as a skunk and sing “If I was a Blackbird” live on Irish Television on the evening before the election, and still beat Enda in the polls.

        See this is the problem with Irish Politics, its all about media perception and PR. Enda probably would be a better leader than Cowen, no doubt. I would say he is a lot more intelligent, He would probably have better relations with other world leaders than Biffo, and at least poor Michelle Obama wouldn’t think it was some sort of joke when she is introduced to the Irish Taoiseach.

        • G

          hilarious, but I’m telling you he handled it well, don’t underestimate the dude, he is challenged in certain areas, but he is making strides, I wouldn’t rule it out, this could be a strange kind of turning point, and believe me I don’t want to be saying this but it is the reality because there is no serious left party in the Dail, they are all fighting and honouring Brendan Behan’s line that the first item on the agenda is the split, we can’t get it together, too many vested political interests, believe me i know first hand, that’s if the socialists down south are anything to go by, they love to identify with Che and the romance of being rebels, they haven’t a f**king clue, some of them do, but not the ones controlling the game, its the Joe Higgins Show, a left version of what George Lee tried to pull.

          Lee looked relieved when he resigned not angst ridden or guilty, he knew he had gotten away with a terrible mistake, back to RTE from which we will hear little!

        • Ruairí

          “Brian Cowen could probably get drunk as a skunk and sing “If I was a Blackbird” live on Irish Television on the evening before the election, and still beat Enda in the polls.”

          That has more to do with us being Biffos and the rest of ye are mere Helots; than anything else.

          But even us Biffos can’t stand each other’s guts…….

      • Robert


        I don’t agree with you that Kenny will emerge stronger. If the next set of polls shows a drop in support for FG (which is very likely considering the number of oul wans in this country who listen to RT-LEE programs like Duffy and Finucane) . . . . . . then Kenny is toast.

        Mind you FG may emerge stronger as a result.

        I have never felt sorry for a politican in my life but I find it very hard not to feel sorry for Kenny.

        Regardless of what anyone thinks of Kenny . . . . . .Since becoming leader in 2002 – FG have increased their number of Dail seats from 31 to 51 and they have doubled their number of councillors across the country to 556. These are not the results of a loser.

        One of the things which I found disturbing about Lee this week was when Pat Kenny interviewed him on Monday. Pat Kenny proceeded to ask Lee about Enda Kenny’s leadership. Lee replied: “There are mutterings . . . . .”.

        I felt it was an extremely unfair thing to say (I mean which party leader ever has had 100 % support – mutterings go on everywhere)

        Ally this to the fact that Lee was ringing media organisations before he informed Kenny of his final decision on Monday . . . . . . Well he showed hiumself to be who he really is.

      • Deco

        G – you believe that Kenny will emerge strong…..it must all that stuff “well now I tell you….from not on I am going to be myself”.

        I suppose we better tell the people that voted for the previous non-Enda like version of Enda that the have lost the old Enda. What a turkey ? And he calls himself the next Taoiseach !!! As I said before Cowen drunk is smarter than Kenny sober. And that is saying something. By the way, if there was an election I would have given FG serious consideration. But now forget about it. George Lee has showed us what was going on.

    • Ruairí


      a number of posters here have questioned the possibility of a new party. That’s because we still have tenners and twenties for petrol for our debt-laden jalopies. Just wait until the clock ticks, as JOhn Allen has noted, and we lapse from AAA and then in summer the ECB withdraws €456BN from the interbank market. As Wills has noted, economics and politics are immutably intertwined.

      The Whigs disappeared (as a dominant alternative) in UK after over a century of being a ‘player’. http://www.irelandinformationguide.com/Liberal_Party_%28UK%29 Although we seem to live forever and the Celtic Tiger seemed a hardy perennial, do not doubt for an instant that with hard times comes renewed vigour in politics (David Cochrane of http://www.politics.ie could be our 2016 dotcom millionaire if things keep spiralling Haha!). But the world turns, ladies and gentlemen. We are on the precipice and they are announcing consumer sentiment figures saying that things are rosy as F**k. No, they’re not. because the IMF told me so, as the Protestant hymn I used to sing in primary school goes.

  20. I’d just like to say how much I agree with David McWilliam’s view of the George Lee affair.

    I don’t see in engaging in fisticuffs over it. The world is simply divided into those who are being downright unkind & nasty towards George Lee and the others. I used to love the cut & thrust of invective, the excitement of lambasting my opponent. I use to get satisfaction from making cutting comments and shouting powerful abuse at the other side.

    These days I look into the eyes of the other person, I pay acute attention to their tone – I want to smell their authenticity. I’ve scrutinised George Lee. I have considerable skill at sussing people out: Lee is the genuine article, I know. I’d have him dinner and not be embarrassed at my choice. He is an ordinary decent human being.

    He has been trying his best. It’s not often I come across someone who’s not motivated by money or position. But, as someone who’s not motivated by either myself, I know such people exist. When Lee said he simply wanted a chance to influence FG policy and practice, I believed him. Thank goodness such humans exist. When Lee said he wasn’t in it for a position on the front bench or cabinet, I understood. Lee wishes to influence, to make things happen.

    He said he found himself in an unexpected position, completely unable to find a way into the FG way. I believe him – even if I find it bizzare.

    9 months is an age when you are at war. 9 months is time enough for disastrous laws to be passed. 9 months is way longer than the 1 week Harold Wilson said was a long time in politics.

    The chatter, the point scoring, the clever spiteful gibes – they are symptoms of malaise in my opinion. The poverty of politics is horrid in Ireland. It makes me want to emmigrate again and at least get away from it. I better admit that I find all Irish politicians a lazy lot. Long hours yes. Trying hard yes. But achieving so little for their spurious effort. Lazy thinking is what I accuse the lot of them of. Lazy follow the leaderism Earnest timewasters as the spirit of the citizens continues to be wasted day after day. Ask any taxi driver. We the ordinary people feel ourselves abandoned by the basic shape of leadership.

    I’m sorry. It was my intention to say only that I thank David Mc Williams for his humanity. The rest you can ignore.

    • G

      I simply can’t believe this, would any man worth his salt leave 27,000 people in the lurch and have the presence of mind to brief all the networks and do so with a smile!!

      Come on Paul O’Mahony, Cork people are renowned for spotting a bluffer don’t blow the tradition, think about it!

      • Tim

        G, If your local TD died tonight (God Forbid), would you, really, feel “left in the lurch”?

        • G

          Inappropriate comparison, a man who walks and a man who is ‘taken’ by circumstances entirely outside of his control, catch my drift??

          Unlike many hundreds of thousands on the dole, Lee had the luxury of chosing his path!

          Were the consequences for others factored in?

          Splendid isolation is it…the capitalist way………same recklessness that the banks displayed, disregard for the externalities or am I pushing the analogy? Don’t hink so deep down, crazy s**t he pulled!

    • Ruairí

      +1. Well said. Not a word out of place; or excessive.
      To say contrary is to contradict the will of the people (Do you like that move G? French Terror how are ya :-D ).

      • G

        Indeed Ruari, Simon Schama has an interesting take on that period in his Power of Art series and his examination of Jacque Louis David and his notorious painting of the death of Marat.

        We are not quite at that point yet.

        Regrettably, I think Paul O’Mahony has taken temporary leave of his senses, must be the Beamish, bad batch!

        • Ruairí

          This sparkling wine seems off too. If I was too soft on my debating opponents, I apologise……

          • G

            I get you Ruairi, and I appreciate your kind comments on my posts, most decent of you.

            Look, we’ve one life, for whatever reason I don’t buy George Lee, he incurred my wrath, the same that Cowen, Micheal Martin with his 4.4 million embassy revamp in Toronto, Neary and his payout, 40 gaffs Frank Fahy, is it time to get back on the property ladder Pat Kenny, the mouth Pat Rabbitte, the inept ‘holy Mary’s', I spare no one, but Lee pushed my buttons this week, so full guns blazing, yes a side issue, but I rarely engage, just making up for years of letting minor things off.

            Agree, back to the main issues, Greece is about to explode, the boys in power are nervous of contagion to Portugal, most especially Spain and Ireland as the ice on the cake, ‘captialism in crisis’ – possibly, I hope certainly hope so, viva la revolucion!

            Hasta la victoria siempre as Che, a man I greatly admire but question as well, used to say.

  21. Dilly

    Alot of company directors resigning lately. What do they know ?.

  22. wills

    Kick ASS article from David and i agree george lee is back to common sense, integrity, hard work and citizenry duty the old fashion way, honest and loyal to bringing to the people good governance as a politician ought to be doing and getting on with it as elected to do.

  23. [...] I’d just like to say how much I agree with David McWilliam’s view of the George Lee affair. [...]

  24. Ruairí

    Do you think George will be getting a Valentine’s card from the FG babes?

    Georgie’s after makin the FG honies cry. No kisses for Georgie……….

    • wills


      The panto lee’s departure has unleashed is something to behold.


      Indy kinny ………..”from now on i ‘m going to be more myself, from this day forward”.

      • Deco

        That quotation is an admision from Kenny that he is a fake. Don’t ask him any questions about the economy. He has lived off the state all his life, and knows sfa about the real economy. But Denis O’Brien’s radio stations tell us he is the answer to the country’s problems.

        It all goes to prove how hard it is for the truth to emerge into public view in this country without some shower of fools trying to shout it down.

  25. wills


    On my fifth reading of article it gets better.

    A most accurate outlining of the narrative unfolding right now.

    Irish society is under the control of mediocrity pushing out real talent and ability and it cannot continue.

  26. Ruairí

    A new party, that is fit to challenge in a logistical sense, is a huge task.

    Is there not a doctrine that could be devised, almost like a mini-constitution, that could be championed by ‘elders’ or civic leaders and that all politicians pre-election could be held to? i.e. are they in or are they out? Do they subscribe to the view that the are the servant of the people and will they subscribe to lifestyle, pay and norm changes pre-election?

    That is not woolly. That points to the start of an exploration for some sort of device that we can use as a beach-head to morph an existing party into a better one. It must be centred around an idea, not a person. A person is assailable, the best ideas (universally beneficial) are not.

    Ideas anyone? How to change our political landscape using the existing broken pieces we see before us? That is how all progress is effected. Not hoping for miracles.

    • Ruairí

      Disruptive democracy

    • * Get potential “new” politicians and committee types to sit down and hash out a rough mandate.
      * Go web2.0 using blogs and facebook etc to reach out at low cost.
      * Total transparency all the time for all politicians – income, directorships, memberships, significant shareholdings etc. It must be ABOVE reproach.
      * Tons of people here could help on the techie (sites, blogs, ezines) side.
      * Get George Lee, DMcW, Karl Whelan etc to ‘endorse’ the party.

  27. ps200306

    I take George Lee at face value. I believe him when he says he wanted to be involved in formulating FG policy, and that he was not angling for a high-profile position of power. I also believe him that he left because the involvement he wanted did not materialise. I think he was quite sincere in all this.

    That, unfortunately, does not absolve him of his incredible naivety. It was his choice to get into bed with FG. I did not hear him claim in the last couple of days that FG reneged on specific promises made to him. Certainly he has not provided any detail on that. Nor has he said that when he confronted Enda Kenny on the matter that they discussed a way forward that would keep him in the party. If Kenny offered him a front bench position, as seems the case, that was George’s opportunity to explain (as he seemed very ready to do subsequently on TV) that he wanted to be at the heart of policy formulation, not necessarily on the front bench. Kenny clearly was clearly acting in good faith in trying to keep George Lee — how come George didn’t see fit to put hin right on his wants at that point.

    If I employed someone to do a job and they came to me saying they weren’t fulfilled in their job and wanted to do something different, I would discuss a way forward to suit everyone. If instead they came to me after nine months saying they were quitting, HAVING NEVER BROUGHT THE MATTER UP, I would say good riddance.

    I’ll take this back if there is any evidence that Lee attempted to set matters to rights, or that he had a specific agreement with FG that was reneged upon. The latter case is almost certainly not true because even Lee said on Frontline that Kenny and Bruton were “nice people” which, while clearly intended ironically, implied that he had no major falling out over unkept promises. All I’ve heard him claim so far is that they knew what he wanted … I’m sorry but I’d expect a grown up to have actual frank discussions on the matter, not assume that others’ intuition will lead to the right outcome.

    All that said, I think it shows incredibly bad management on Enda Kenny’s part to have let matters come to this. There is blame on both sides. I believed Lee when he talked about the dangers of becoming institutionalised. But I can’t understand why a long-time media person didn’t know about that before he ran for election. What the hell was he thinking?

    I honestly don’t know if I’ll be able to cast a vote in the next election. I would definitely have been considering a vote for FG, but this fiasco makes that a lot less likely. I certainly wouldn’t vote for George Lee in a fit. Nor for FF, Labour or SF.

    • wills

      Again lee is not naive, you are projecting onto lee like the rest of the inner circle pundits who are threatened by lee’s principled approach to do politics cleanly and nobly.

      • ps200306

        Sorry wills, I do not doubt Lee’s principles, cleanliness or nobility. What I don’t get is his shattered belief that he could turn everything around on a sixpence. That’s the naivety. There are two ways he could have ensured his own success — either elicit an election-time promise from FG, or had an upfront understanding of that it was going to take to get his message across. Clearly he had neither. I am genuinely sorry for the man.

        (P.S. Forgot to list the Greens among the parties I won’t be voting for — only ‘cos I have already blotted them out of my consciousness).

  28. Tim

    G, you scoff “The day McWilliams puts it all on the line…”

    Now, G, until this “George Lee” thing, I found myself agreeing with most of your posts here; and I admire your tenacity and general spirit.

    David McWilliams has been putting it “all on the line” for as long as I have been watching, listening to and reading what he says.

    You know this.

    I am confused by your, apparent, alter-ego on this site, since Lee resigned.

    You are, usually, very “measured” in your posts here.

    This has changed.

    I have come to see your posts, over the long time that you have been writing here as those that I can trust, as honest, as sincere.

    I am, truly, shocked that you seem unable to see that the political “establishment” is circling the wagons against their, perceived, “interloper” (G. Lee).

    In a proper Democracy, no-one can be perceived as an “interloper”. All are welcome to contribute.

    What is going on, here?

    • G

      I’ll tell you Tim, I agree with your astute summation of me generally, normally I am all those things you describe, I aim for the even, logical path, but on this one issue allow me to act as a slight runaway train.

      I’ll tell you one thing, I NEVER once heard Lee say he was sorry for the two people losing their jobs, nor apologise to the 27,000 for pulling out of the Dail, it was all about George Lee, that’s what got me suspicious, never anyone mentioned outside of himself.

      No offence to David, sure he has written and said some thing of which I support and admire, but I also pulled him on his obsequious and quite frankly absurd article in praise of Jack Welch, thought his stance on recreating the IFSC in Dublin with disgruntled bankers from London ludicrous, his thoughts on Iceland poorly conceived (fish their way out of the crisis ludicrous – no mention of IMF billion dollar loand or moves to block Russian intervention).

      Tim, I have always taken David at face value, former investment banker etc, I thought it a poor show on Lenihan (I dislike when people reveal contents of conversations held in a private capactiy, I see it as most ungentlemanly), I could go on.

      I have said all of the above things inmy posts, I liked his Mayan analysis and a couple of other historical based articles, but I think David is definitely not the sort to lead a new political party, I think he would freely admit this that requires a different animal and he is not that sort of chap, I think that is self-evident. Forgive me if I seemed insulting, this was not my intention, I just found the thought so left field that it provoked a reaction.

      Forgive me also if you see some sort of ‘schizophrenic’ element this evening, I can assure you I am the same poster, I just felt the need to challenge some of what I considered ludicrous posts on George Lee, I always get worried when people accept the standard tale from any source, there seems a complete lack of analysis or entertainment of counter arguments, which concerns me.

      I simply don’t buy the whole tale that has been put out, could I be wrong, absolutely, and I will be the first to apologise, its just my gut reacting loud and clear, something that has guided me through treacherous waters in other lands and got me to this place.

      Good evening to you sir.

      • wills

        How do you know what lee has said privately to staffers. No one knows only them and until you ask them you cannot presume lee did not talk it over with them.

        • G

          wills when he talked to 27,000 thousand then I might be inclined to listen, word on the street is that the two got the old P.45 – some if he did talk to them it must have been very uplifting, we are into semantics, possibly, but two people got to walk the line – this is what I have been hammering away at whether it be two or 420,000. I agree we need change but not the kind that was suppposed to be on offer, sadly for all concerned and the passionately committed on this site, it never materialised.

        • Robert


          Lee never publicly stated anything about the Dail staff he sent to the Dole Office on Monday.

          If he was ringing media organisations before telling Kenny of his final decision last Monday then I think it is safe to assume that the first his dail staff heard of their dismissals were from the media that afernoon

          • Tim

            Robert, well, Enda Kenny has admitted that he knew about G. Lee’s intention for a whole week, before.

            If, as you imply, Lee was less than honest with the staffers, should not the All-knowing leader of FG have sorted-it-out?

          • Robert

            Well Tim – That is just not true.

            Kenny & Lee discussed it a week before. Lee said he was going. Kenny offerred him a cabinet position if FG are elected and a new position on the front bench.

            Lee went off to further consider (apparently) and didn’t bother to tell him his FINAL decision until he’d phoned the media first.

          • Robert


            Why would it be up to Kenny to sort out things with Lee’s Dail staff?

      • Tim

        G, thank you for a decent reply; I appreciate it.

        I will think about what you have said.

  29. wills


    It s just occurred to me George lee has now proven the case that there does exist citizens of this country who are willing and able and ready to go do political service for this country and remain honest loyal and honorable to the job.

    Now it makes so much more sense why all this anti george lee venom has been mindlessly unleashed.

    George showed politics can be done the right way, if given half the chance to do so.

    • ps200306

      No wills, George Lee is out and his ear after nine months, and therefore has shown exactly the opposite! Perhaps you will claim he was not given half a chance, but then at best your proposition is undecided.

      • wills

        it would appear he was betrayed by the very people who went after him asking him to come on board, which he did and then thrown over board when he arrived into the inner sanctum.

  30. Robert


    I don’t agree with you that Kenny will emerge stronger. If the next set of polls shows a drop in support for FG (which is very likely considering the number of oul wans in this country who listen to RT-LEE programs like Duffy and Finucane) . . . . . . then Kenny is toast.

    Mind you FG may emerge stronger as a result.

    I have never felt sorry for a politican in my life but I find it very hard not to feel sorry for Kenny.

    Regardless of what anyone thinks of Kenny . . . . . .Since becoming leader in 2002 — FG have increased their number of Dail seats from 31 to 51 and they have doubled their number of councillors across the country to 556. These are not the results of a loser.

    One of the things which I found disturbing about Lee this week was when Pat Kenny interviewed him on Monday. Pat Kenny proceeded to ask Lee about Enda Kenny’s leadership. Lee replied: “There are mutterings . . . . .”.

    I felt it was an extremely unfair thing to say (I mean which party leader ever has had 100 % support — mutterings go on everywhere)

    Ally this to the fact that Lee was ringing media organisations before he informed Kenny of his final decision on Monday . . . . . . Well he showed hiumself to be who he really is.

    • G

      Again for previous posters, I am not a member of any political party nor a PR/Alistair Campbell style spin doctor, but again in the interests of fairness, I thought it improper of Lee to stick the knife in, go if you want to go, bit go with dignity, let the electorate decide Kenny’s faith, you may be well right on Kenny Robert, and he is a drag on the party but it has rebuilt it and worked the hard yards, and for a wipper snapper to come along and do what he did, well, I think I have made my feelings on this issues loud and clear, I think it unjust, obviously others will disagree but I don’t denegrate them by claiming association or agendas, I take their comments at face value however misplaced I consider them, we are entiteled to opinion, and free/responsible speech, the sign of a healthy Republic, the speed by which things have declined with some has been instructive to say the least.

      • Alan42

        G , this is Ireland . Go against the popular opinion and you get accused of all sorts . One of the reasons why we are in the mess that we are in is that nobody likes any disenting voices .

        George Lee is great , he exposed FG and politics for what they really are . Some scoop .

        • G

          Yes, it has been quite interesting, accused of being a Fine Gaeler spreading disinformation and confusion, acting as a mole – hilarious if people actually had read previous posts by me they’d know exactly where I am coming from, knee-jerk stuff is quite alarming, but as my good old Grand Mother likes to say: “sometimes you have to listen to thunder”.

      • wills


        Must disagree with this assetion.

        Lee stuck no knife in no body.

    • G

      @ Robert – I wasn’t the only one who thought Kenny handled the Lee situation well.

      Stephen Collins – Irish Times

      • Deco

        I will repeat for you the words of Enda Kenny….
        “From now on….I am going to be myself”.

        Who else has he been for the last 33 years ? These are the words of an imposter, a pretender, a fake, a phony. Just like the IT.

        Those who criticize Lee all do so from the viewpoint that the Party is more important than society.

  31. Excellent article as always David.

    It is painfully obvious that there are some paid online PR people working the comments section of this and other sites.

    They can be spotted quite easily in their aggressive attacking of George Lee’s character here.

    Phrases like ‘he should’ve done his time’ and ‘ego’, ‘celebrity’ and ‘poster boy’ are thinly veiled attacks on the man’s well earned reputation.

    George’s political capital is his resonance with the people, his ability to articulately explain the finer details of economics in a way that ordinary citizens can understand and most of all his HONESTY. When you have all of the above in abundance you don’t *need* to serve your time.

    For the sake of clarity I am not a member of any political party, I’ve never met George or know anyone that knows him personally.

    I do however have 2 questions:

    1. George won’t be able to comment on politics from RTE, what is the address of his blog site where he can publish his reaction to the daily economic blunders and fraud perpetrated on a daily basis?

    If Karl Whelan can create waves (see Bonuses as Deferred Pay) and spotlight issues – George Lee should be doing the same via a blog with no restrictions on what he can write (politically).

    2. How to reform the system

    A key issue at the moment in politics is credibility and trust. There simply is none and the gap between the public and the TDs in their ivory towers grows wider by the day.

    How do we begin to restore some credibility back to the Dáil?

    I believe a great first step would be to ban corporate donations across ALL parties. FG tried this back in 2001 but reversed the decision in 2002.

    If the Canadians can do it so can we.

    • Ruairí

      +1 banning corporate political donations. Only donations from the private citizen should be remotely acceptable in a democracy and a Republic. I know the Republic was announced in 1948………but when are we actually getting it?

      • G

        That Republic has failed, never arrived in the post, just got postboxes painted green.

        We need a 2nd Republic, a new Republic, question is can be grasp the nettle and wring from it the kind of change our collective souls yearn for and deserve for we are certainly ill served when so many of our compatriots linger on the dole or face emigration, I find that intolerable and insulting on a whole range of levels.

        Let things come to boiling point and then we will know the road to travel as it will be foisted upon us!

  32. Ruairí

    Well, when you get confused enough about the whole dang affair and even friends seem out to harm you (apologies Axel Rose), you just gotta reacj for them anagrams, girls and boys……

    Think of it as I-Ching for the Paddies. Ogham for the new Euro-Irish.

    George Lee can mean “Ere Gel Ego” Hmmm, damn limelighter…..

    Enda kenny can mean ” Any Den Ken
    Any End Ken
    Nay Den Ken
    Nay End Ken” which all point to an alarming lack of knowledge, if we are to believe our Glaswegian brothers. Oh dear …….

    And leo Varadkar? ?????

    “Aardvark Olé
    A Larvae Dork”


  33. I’ve been reading all the comments.

    I suggest there is no point in arguing over George Lee. If you don’t see the beauty of what he’s done, you never will. You are entitled to your stance and insight, why spend your energy showing you have energy. Link with those of your kind.

    I bet you one thing: we won’t see the likes of George Lee enter politics again soon. We’ll see more of the same. As for the 27,000 who voted for Lee in the by-election, the vast majority of them are glad he’s resigned, or so I think.

    I won’t persist here in trying to persuade anyone. I can see clearly now… and I continue to detest the number of people who comment here in pseudonyms. This is not a time for misleading identities: that’s my view.

  34. Tull McAdoo

    was standing with both elbows on the counter of my pub here in South Kerry, looking up towards the mcguillycuddy reeks earlier today, listening to the news on the wireless at 1 o’clock. George Lee, Inda Kinny…. when out of the blue up spoke Jackie Healy….. “ what would you give Seaneen “ say’s He, “for a big plate of new spuds , steaming, and covered with a good nob of butter”.
    “Well I’d give a lot more than you, or that miserable hoor of a brother of yours” say’s I, quick as a flash, “now will ya whisht up till I hear what Kinny is saying”
    “Kinny will say nothing” says Jackie, “sure is’nt he terrified to open His mouth about anything , since FG jumped into the lead last year” “ His plan is to let FF keep shooting themselves and he will steal into the top job by default, having said bugger all and offending nobody”.” Inda is no ordinary bag of potatoes Seaneen, he wont stay out in the open where the frosty wind might get him at present, if ya follow me.”
    “Jasus give it a rest about potatoes , ye chancer, I’ll put onn the bloody saucepan , I think I have a few reckords in a bag out the back.”
    “Tell me Jackie, did ya ever get talking to this Lee fella , above in the Dail “ I asked.
    “A gentleman is what I’d call him, and as straight as a bull rush, not suitable for politics in Ireland atall atall, and that’s the truth of it”….” Them poor crators above in Dublin 4 will have to get someone like me or you Seaneen to get them their Medical Cards and whatever, ahh no, you want to be a while at this auld crack to make it work right, is’nt that a fact”….” Which reminds me, did anyone from the HSE drop a parcel for me in behind the Bar, I was expecting this months Cards today” “ you have to look after the bread and butter issues Seaneen, or is it Reckords and butter today ha ha ha.”

    • Deco

      I reckon we should send Jackie Healy Rae over to Brussels as EU Commisioner. MGQ is a waste of space. What experience does she have with respect to ‘Research’. Biffo couldnot have picked any sitting TD. Gormless had been trying to shove in Deirdre ‘more money than votes’ de Burca, but realised that the media would slate him. Quinn has been feathering her own nest for years. Furrylugs pointed out her misbehaviour concerning radio licences.

      JHR would be there as Ireland’s commisioner. And he would go to Brussels with a shopping list on behalf of the entire country. And he would threaten to bring the entire EU business to a halt unless the EU bailed us out. Bailout’s R’Us : ))

      • Tull McAdoo

        It seem’s as if “deirdre of the sorrows” has recorded her final meeting, if she will forgive me for raising that old thorney issue of recording meetings without consent….She just resigned from the Greens a few minutes ago.

      • I actually think that Enda Kenny would make a very respectable and responsible Commissioner or foreign business envoy. No point throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
        He’s proved that he’s more into collective movement than individual leadership, which suits Brussels fine.
        And before someone jumps on top of me, I’m apolitical until Poibli Nua kicks off.

  35. Looks like I’ve come a bit late to this discussion, but sure who cares !
    George Lee doing what he did can of course be looked at and dissected, yes he was only there 9 months yes he’s on a year’s career break, yes the financial economy is crashing around us, and Yes We all knew who George Lee was , if he’d stood in south Kerry he’d have been elected , if he’d went with FF, Lab, or Greens or Sinn Fein he’d have been ELECTED.
    Posters and readers here KNOW what is going on , but George Lee and his cosy colleagues in Montrose also have a fight on with their pay masters. So George ‘went into politics’ . And the Man couldn’t stand another day of the archaic mess Our Government Chambers have become, the pre pared scripts the rush to cast the occasional vote the funerals, the free lunches, the jokes in the Dail subsided bar and top restaurant where you can go out side to the very comfortable smoking area. before you go about putting in the ould expenses for the committee your sitting on .
    The System is Broken, sure George with his EGO would have loved for FG to have Challenge the Government and maybe convince a few FF back benchers to vote them down on NAMA , or even the Pay Cuts, but sadly this is not how our system works , I have listened to so many saying he wasn’t prepared to ‘Play The Game’
    Well Fcuk Me , Golf is a Game, Football is a Game ,….but taxing our Children and forcing those who can afford to leave to seek employment or a career off This Island , is Not A GAME !.
    And Yes George Lee will this May go back and get paid €150,000 for a short working week and won’t BE reporting on what is going on,…but come Next December will RTE have the Money to PAY George Lee ?…… Will he start his own Party in 2011 ?……ah stay tuned

  36. The Great George –

    I believe for the first time in our history we have a St.George in Irish Politics . He like all Taureans is seismic and damaging to any enemy that stops his way .He is also the Prince of Logic in Irish Politics .In fact he is The Prince of Logic in Ireland.
    Until recently we had lost all faith in Logic in Ireland .George is the only known Prince that can restore it to its proper place again.He has chosen to assemble a new structure to replace the shambling mess that is there already.
    Pamplona is famous for its Bull festivals and many get gored ( G-ored) when they stray dangerously .We have witnessed that in the recent days off and on this site.
    May 6th is the Festival of Saint George and we should choose it as a day to celebrate .
    In the meantime we are blessed that in the moments of NOW the benevolent planets are showering us with healing energy.So embrace it.

    • Robert

      John ALLEN,

      As a taurean myself (whatever relevance that is) I can honestly say that I’ve never heard such nonsense as “St. George” and “Prince of Logic”.

      • Robert : George Lee is The Prince of Logic , May 6th is St George’s Day in a taurean month.
        You are a typical taurean …dont draw too much logic .When you have two bulls they ‘lock together in horns’.

        Pull in your horns.

  37. Riggs

    Friends, begruddgers and Countrymen…lend me your ears.
    We have come to bury George Lee and not to praise him.
    The good that men do is oft interred with their bones….so let it be with George!

    Time will tell if George Lee’s manouevring was genius, idiotic or otherwise but its over and we still have a major crisis both economically (getting worse) and politically (worse still).

    It is indeed the right time for a new voice. A voice of reason, common sense and pragmatism.

    David, your hour has come?

  38. Alan42

    George Lee has been around politicians for years and he knew what to expect . Even I could have told him . FF are corrupt and FG are so long out of power that they are happy to sit in opposition . Its still a good job . If he wanted to contribute something to them he could have phoned them up without having to join and run for office .

    The guy stayed 5 minutes and then ran back to his well paid position in RTE . He gave nothing up .

    Part of his failing as a journalist is that he was used to being part of the story .
    Vincents Brownes article in the Irish Times nailed it for me . ‘ He had nothing to say ‘

    You don’t just join a political party as some kind of wizz bang celebrity who acts like he has some kind of unique economic secret that only he knows about which only he can offer .

    Its hard work . Anything thats worthwhile is hard work and there is little thanks . Turning Ireland around will be hard work and there will be little thanks .

    Is everybody so caught up in boom time thinking that we think everything is instant ?

    David , I may be wrong but I don’t remember you writing to much on Fg’s ‘ good bank ‘ plan .

  39. Alan42

    I know somebody who is married with a mortgage and has 3 kids under the age of 7 . He was made unemployed last week . He is moving to London to work while the wife and kids stay at home . He will come home every couple of weeks to see them .
    This guy is completly into his family . Total family man . His wife is the total ‘ housewife ‘ to borrow an old fashioned phrase , although thats how she discribes herself . They make The Waltons look like The Manson family .

    Life is going to be a right laugh for them over the next few years . I just cannot imagine his wife moving to London . She lives next door to her Mother !
    People like that had hope in Lee and yet he ran off after 5 minutes because it was not ‘ celebrity ‘ enough for him ? Please , give me a break .

    • G

      Worth quoting from Vincent Browne’s article:

      “In the eight months he was in the Dáil he could have produced a policy document of his own and invited the Fine Gael parliamentary party to discuss it, just as Declan Costello did almost 50 years ago with his Just Society document. But George didn’t. He could have used his celebrity public meetings to enunciate his own views on public policy and he need not have been constrained by being the nominated chairman. But he didn’t.”

      See –

  40. Alan42

    As I observe this mess from afar . There seems to be one word missing from the whole debate and that is ‘ realism ‘

    Irelands situation is very serious . We risk becoming the West Virginia ‘ of The EU . West Virginia is one of the poorest places in the US , which is also a monetery union . Travel through even a small part of the States and you will experience extreme poverty and extreme wealth .

    We have to get real in this country and stop looking for soundbites and quick fixes .
    ‘ We have turned the corner ‘ to where ? Grinding recession and poverty ?

    We needed some ‘ celebrity economist / journalist ‘ to expose that FG are useless ?

    • Deco

      The entire episode showed that in a crisis a people will do anything to restore their hope in the future.

      Kind of a bit like the pschology in the film called Wizard of Oz during the Great Depression.

      Lee prevented us from being suckered.

  41. bmv

    When David McWilliams brought out his book with a chapter on Brian Lenihan in it, Brian Lenihan responded to it by describing David McWilliams as a ‘forceful character’.
    The next day Willie O’Dea described David as a ‘forceful character’.
    Leo Varadkar implied that George Lee left the Dail because of the money. On Newstalk, Senator Eoghan Harris said George Lee left because of money. When it comes to the media, everything your see and hear must be filtered by the listener/reader. I personally think that George Lee left on principle, and also that he is not giving us the full truth because it would make us more cynical of the political system. (though not me ;-).

    • Deco

      Senator Own Arse is a just another opportunist on the take….he is trying to make sure he will be a senator for another five years in the next Dail…playing both sides of the house….what public use if he ? Really ? What exactly does he do except knock the public sector right across the board in a manner befitting a reformed neo-Marxist gone 180 degrees in the other direction late in life…..he is just another opportunist…

      • G

        It would seem so – these ‘reformed’ neo-Marxists are a strange bunch (not sure being centrist capitalists is form of reformation), Manuel Barroso is in there as well, they can’t seem to resist the siren calls of money, position and status.

        Harris has made a show of himself in the past, got to pay the piper eventually.

  42. Yeah we need ‘fighters not quitters’, ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’, we got none of that from George, George was instead Sulking George.

    We hoped for someone in for the long haul, maybe even a Ted Kennedy who rose above personal limitations and setbacks to have a great career in politics, we got a damp self centered squib.

    As for “might have created a united front against NAMA with a credible alternative, Fine Gael didn’t deploy him effectively. ” He’s done tremendous disservice to those of us against NAMA.

    As for the much touted Liveline Poll, how many of those were FF’ers using George as vindication of their clowning!

    He’s lost all moral authority, all credibility, is compromised and damaged goods for politics and RTE.

    Principle my $#!! WAT the #### was he thinking of? It doesn’t add up, there must be some untold story there!

    Some European countries have introduced a list system to bring in bright sparks from outside politics to use their expertise for their country, this will set back that innovative enterprise that Irish politics badly needs.

    As for the whole notion of public service, Lee has reduced this to stroppy self centeredness or ‘if the boys won’t let you play, tell your mammy and run away.’

    Far from someone representing the outsiders, Lee has shown himself to be an RTE insider outside the comfort zone of RTE and its wizard of oz reality show!

    Sad and disappointing for everyone!

  43. Ladies and Gents,

    good morning! For what it’s worth, I am sharing my thoughts here.

    The Lee experience should be pondered upon in a much greater context, in my view, this is one of many possible examples how politics fails to deliver what it is promising those who cast their votes on election days.

    The inherent dynamics of political power, not only in this country, can be described as a web of policies constructed to secure the privileged, better known as the so called inner circles.

    Allow me to explain what I mean and put some meat to the bone.

    Privileged, comes from privilegium, “law applying to one person”, or private law. This culture of creating privileges applies to Europe in a special manner and has been cultivated to different degrees throughout Europe, more or less openly.

    A quick look at Italy and it is blatantly obvious how it works there, but here in Ireland it is not much different.

    George experienced what is status quo in politics throughout Europe, the incumbents no longer are in touch with the very people that elected them, further the election process as well as the democratic structures are more than questionable.

    But this holy cow is not slaughtered, a blasphemist who speaks up and offers constructive criticism.

    Democratic structures, policies in Ireland enable a system of bribery and deliberate abuse of loopholes. I have no other description for a system that enables a government party to form policies with a “majority” of +3-5 votes by constantly bribing and using independents, the name independent turns into a rather comical context by their own actions.

    George experienced this first hand, and I have little doubts, this was a shock that ran deep, and after nine months of sitting in a vacuum of useless activities that will in no way influence policies, he gave up and chose to bring his experience to the public attention, to a degree. In the best meaning, one wonders if he really was that naive to believe he could jump the wagon and start steering it. He was used for publicity stunts, and then positioned where he could not threaten the inner establishments of the party. That easy it is. From a PR perspective, a brilliant stunt that was in deed.

    The cultivation of privileges is a core problem in our political reality throughout europe, more privileges and less accountability , plenty of smoke screens, a healthy distance to the public, handshakes with influential business people behind close doors and niceties on funerals for the public.

    The banking enquiries will be held behind closed doors. Period.

    Did that create a public outcry? Did people demonstrate in great number to chase this government out? Nothing even close happened, and as lethargic as it appears it really is.

    The privileges is what we need to question, the privileges and accountability.

    We are a small country, but I always said, what happens here on a small scale is a good example of what happens throughout Europe.

    A new party? Probably a good idea, but it needs a lot of people to have the slightest chance of success, and last not least, a lot of funding, and where is that coming from?

    I fail to see this happening in Ireland. I stand to be corrected.

    Best wishes

  44. p15574

    I think that aswell a a TD reform, we need an entire electoral system reform. There is too much parish pump local politics. George Lee went in for one reason, and one reason alone, to help fix the country. I voted for him for this reason, and understood he wouldn’t be the type of TD to get involved in fixing parking fines and the like. We need to ensure TDs serve the COUNTRY first, and have no involvement in local politics. Either elections should be on the basis of one single constituency (ie the entire country), or, as I have heard somewhere before, ‘virtual’ constituencies should be setup, with constituents allocated randomly via PPS no. or electoral roll no., to ensure local politics do not distract from what should be the TD’s job – fixing the country.

    However, the question would be: how to get the turkeys to vote for Christmas?

    It sickens me that most TDs have no shame in admitting their first loyalty is to their party, and the country only comes second to that.


    Lee campaigned in favour of the Lisbon treaty and is a supporter of the single currency.Cueless and useless, this guy had nothing to offer.Europe is part of the problem, not the solution.The problem with FG is it’s subservience to all things european.Any politican brave enough to suggest ditching the euro?.Geoghegan Quinn landed a cushy number in Brussels, her performance on morning Ireland was shameful.

  46. G

    Irish Independent Op-Ed

    It’s Still All About George

    “THE tiresome George Lee affair has gone way beyond a joke. Both sides in the war of the airwaves are beginning to sound extremely foolish. Mr Lee is aggrieved and indignant about the onslaught from Fine Gael — “there’s about 70 of them and only one of me” — but he brought it on himself by taking his leave “with great fanfare”, as Simon Coveney said. He might have been wise to make a more dignified departure, perhaps accompanied by publication of the economic measures that he had tried, and failed, to incorporate into Fine Gael policy.

    And even if his Fine Gael colleagues were as obtuse and resistant to change as he has said, it is hard to believe that this professional communicator was unable to make his voice heard, with or without a frontbench position which would surely have come in time.”


  47. DH

    A NEW PARTY WOULD GET MY VOTE, especially with George Lee at the helm.

  48. Bull Ring Thoughts :

    On one side is :

    a) Broad Mindness


    On the other side is :

    Narrow Mindness

    Our Debate is which one won.Squeeky clean nothing else.


    : any bruises ,hurts, heart attacks , shocks , political disembowlments , seismic attacks, journalistic opportunities , political leadership weaknesses , being trampled on , or any other hallucinations will be recorded on video if he actually did it otherwise he is a Genius and the Hand of God.

  49. AnnieD

    George Lee was the trophy wife with brains – a coup to get him on board but the very powerful mother-in-law was holding the reins. I like Richard Bruton but come on – could Kenny let a new star replace him in the dull-shining firmament that’s FG.
    Like any trophy wife with brains, George found himself with an impossible role. Silent. Decorative.
    He took the only sensible choice and walked away rather than languishing in a polished corner of the drawingroom with fake tasks. He’s an intelligent man. Talented. Popular. And he has guts.
    Well done George Lee. Turn a deaf ear to all the political blather. Good luck with whatever decisions you make now and I hope we hear and see more of you. Your honesty, integrity and analysis of murky economics is essential now in Ireland. Go for it. Good luck.

    • wills

      Great comment AnnieD

      More please

    • Deco

      AnnieD – very interesting perspective. It certainly is parallel to what he has been saying. Rolled out across the country to rally up the foot soldiers….to keep them making fools of themselves knocking on doors….making promises that cannot be kept because the state is out of money….

  50. Dilly

    I look forward to hearing from George Lee in the future. During the 60′s and 70′s, Hunter Thompson’s political articles were extremely popular. This is because he was not in anyones pocket. He said himself, that he actually enjoyed “burning bridges on Capitol Hill” through his printed news articles. I hope George will have a few stories to tell, now that he is not in anyones pocket.
    Unless RTE shut him up of course.

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