Would it be remiss of us not to mention…

… him?

Suppose it’s hard to ignore it, but I don’t want to give the George Lee (or ‘glee’, as it’s being refered to on Twitter) thing too much attention. It’s a big story politically, not so important nationally.

Unfortunately it has come on the same day Simon Carswell’s journalism put a dent in the Nama spin-machine. That story would have led the news agenda for a few days had it not been for Mr Lee. 

Props to Matt Cooper and The Last Word team on Today FM for staying focused, for the most part, on the really important story; they even managed to get Brian Lenihan on the show today. I think it might the first time since the week the finance minister announced/admitted (?) he had a serious health issue that he has spoken live on air. You can listen to the minister ducking and diving, spinning and weaving, at this link.

George Lee ending his political ‘career’ will be a blow to Fine Gael. However, with an election not likely for another two years it probably won’t seriously impact the lives of anyone other than political junkies and Fine Gael members (and RTÉ News managers) in any real terms. 

The political correspondents who’ve been selling the “Fianna Fáil is dead” line in post-mortem-ish pre-mortem articles since the local elections will begin revising their opinions.

Enda Kenny will come under more scrutiny.

We’ll see if Eamon Gilmore actually believes Labour can lead the next government from his reaction to the sniping at Kenny.

The Fine Gael communications strategists will look to roll Kenny out for a do-or-die big-stage interview in a few weeks or months time.

It’ll work or it won’t.

Kenny will lead the party into the next election, or he won’t.

Someone will win the election. Someone will be Taoiseach.

Either way, Nama will still be around in two years time, and for a while longer yet to come.

9 thoughts on “Would it be remiss of us not to mention…”

  1. Minister Lenihan to Emmet Oliver, Sunday Tribune, on 6 SEPT 2009!

    “Lenihan…asserts that a “wall of cash” from Nama can help to restore the credit flow, even allowing for fewer banks and retrenchment by UK-owned lenders.”

    Also of interest:
    Belturbet Bypass. Hmmm.

  2. RE: Tascnet and the governance of the ESRI.

    Tascnet have now declined to publish either of my two additional comments on the governance of the ESRI. This is the comment that got the thread closed. A comment so evil that they won’t discuss it even on a new moderated thread. So satanically evil that they won’t even discuss their refusal to discuss it.

    Congratulations. I don’t usually get this level of engagement from policy analysts on this issue. Actually I’ve never gotten any engagement from them [on this issue], which tells you something in itself.

    Let us take just one of the esriphants [You’ll understand if you read the thread].

    Our country is dealing with a collapsed banking system. It would therefore seem untenable that the director of our main policy advice body, which is mainly publicly funded, should be in anyway associated at any time in her career with the collapse of a bank.
    But she was a director until 2006 of one of Europe’s largest bank collapses, DEPFA.
    Surely in any other mature democracy she would have resigned from the directorship of the ESRI when DEPFA collapsed? Worse still, no one in the Irish policy making community has – to my knowledge – loudly condemned this. Have they even publicly condemned it?
    Read this story here.


    I put it to you that her position is utterly indefensible. Worse still, it’s been utterly indefensible for a year and a half.

  3. However, with an election not likely for another two years it probably won’t seriously impact the lives of anyone other than political junkies and Fine Gael members (and RTÉ News managers) in any real terms.

    George Lee’s newly unemployed staff would beg to differ. As would the constituents who went to him for help who are now back at square one.

    True that NAMA is the bigger picture

    1. True, though I’d pedanticly counter with the claim that George Lee’s staff were probably Fine Gael members anyway. 😀

  4. I feel that George Lee being forced out is part of the wider problem with Irish governance as shown by the ESRI. I had previously tried to raise it on irisheconomy.ie, but they are in a difficult position as many of their contributors are staff of the ESRI. So I decided to raise it on the “radical, progressive, transforming etc”, TASC site. They wouldn’t publish my replies either! So I will publish them here.

    Here is the thread that they censored:
    Here is the discussion on moderation:

    They originally said:
    @Anonymous – PE does not discount the importance of governance as many posts on this blog attest. However, this thread pertained to the Finance Bill. In addition (and we’re not suggesting you), we received a number of comments that went well beyond governance and impugn the motives of individuals/ This is not appropriate to an issue-based debate. While PE will continue to debate the issue of governance, and the publications and recommendations of all bodies contrbuting to the national economic debate, it was decided to close this thread given the content of some of the contributions and, so, move on.

    1. Oliver; Desist from polluting the site with your grievances with other sites please. You have 6 comments in moderation none of which will be published as they don’t relate to the posts on which they were made. Please do not continue to post irrelevancies or further measures will be gone through to restrict comments you make here. You’re perfectly welcome to set up your own blog (for free) and air your feelings about whom you want, on that site. This is not for content which does not relate to the posts made by myself and Gavin,



  5. Oliver, just to get something clear:

    You do not set the terms on comment moderation for this website, and clearly not for other websites. Comments are entirely at our discretion. Trolling is not allowed.

    As Mark said, do please setup a blog and write to your heart’s content about this issue – but offtopic and trolling comments will not be tolerated.


  6. What has the ERSI got to do with my request for you to desist from posting here? My point was your comments were irrelevant to the post on this site, that was my point.

    Your second question: What has the TASC blog got to do with “if you’re spending the Irish taxpayers’ money, you’re on the radar”. Nothing.

    Like I said, if you want to comment on issues solely of your choosing, you’re free to start your own blog or join Politics.ie and open a thread. On this site the topics take direct from the authors of the post. That won’t change, irrelevant comments will no longer be entertained, this conversation is now over on this site, please take your issue with TASC back to TASC and let’s get back to the analysis.

    Stay on topic, the topic is George Lee on this post, not TASC, not your issues with the ERSI or anything else. Following this comment anything off-topic will not be published.

  7. @Mark Coughlan
    The Brutons have been powerful in FG for the last thirty years. Enda Kenny grew up in early sixties Mayo and entered the Dail two or three years after they shut the industrial schools. If a TD loses his job he goes to the senate….and if a senator loses his job it’s because he has become a TD. Basically they have guaranteed employment. Ireland has had waves of catastophic failure and mass emigration and unemployment throughout its independent existence. The Kennys and the Brutons are never individually affected by this.

    George Lee thought FG should stop helping the government cover up the collapse of the banks. He thought they should oppose NAMA – not collude in it’s passing. He wanted action, and government, they want stability and to take power when things are better.

    So the insiders ganged up and shut him out. The Irish political establishment: left, right and centre, Lab, FG, FF, are all political Vaticans. Almost all Irish institutions are. And this was sadly but unsurprisingly demonstrated when I tried to raise the governance of the ESRI on TASC.

    When George Lee burst in and said there is a crisis, 200,000 have lost their jobs since May 08 and 60,000 have emigrated they said….we’ve seen it before. We’re insiders. We prefer to keep control rather than take small risks.

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