A new Kerry coalition made up of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael – TheLiberal.ie – Our News, Your Views

A new Kerry coalition made up of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael


In an historic move, seen by many as the beginning of the end of traditional Civil War politics in the county, the Kerry branches of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have formed an alliance in order to control Kerry County Council. The formation of such pacts have been echoed in other counties, such as Kilkenny and Laois, but the move in Kerry is particularly seismic, considering the horrific events of the Civil War in the Kingdom, and the animosity that has lasted between the two parties ever since.

Arguably the most brutal chain of events of the Civil War occurred during a period of four weeks in March 1923 in Kerry. Five Free State soldiers were killed in the village of Knocknagoshel on 6 March. The next day, in a move seen as retaliation for the previous day, Republican prisoners were used to clear roads littered by landmines. Later that night, nine Anti-Treaty soldiers were taken from Ballymullen barracks to Ballyseedy crossroads and tied to a land mine. After its detonation, the survivors were gunned down, yet one soldier, Stephen Fuller (who later became a Fianna Fáil TD), was blown to safety by the initial blast. The infamous event became known as the Ballyseedy Massacre. Within 24 hours of the incident nine other Republicans were killed with landmines in Caherciveen and Killarney, and another was shot in Ballyseedy woods. On the 28 March, five IRA members were executed in Tralee, and another was also shot later that day.

March 1923 was indeed Kerry’s darkest month, which has been the source of an unusual volume of mutual hatred between the two main parties. In the context of this four-week period, the newly formed alliance of nine Fianna Fáil and nine Fine Gael councillors should rightly be seen as a major step forwards not just for the county, but for the country as well. Indeed, in the absence of any substantial policy differences between the two centre-right parties, it is the events of most tragic 11 month period in the country’s history that has kept Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael from forming any coalition. The significance of the events of 6 June 2014 should not be underestimated.

In related news, a crucifix has been erected in the Kerry County Council meeting chambers for the first time. The motion, proposed by Cllr John Joe Culloty was passed last April by a 67% majority. However, only nine of the 27 councillors were present at the time of voting meaning that only 6 councillors voted in favour of the proposal (approximately 22% of the council). Technically, the erection of a crucifix in the chamber does not break any equality legislation, yet it is the premise that concerns many people. Kerry has people of many religions, including Islam and Buddhism, as well as atheists, agnostics and other non-religious. If the new Council wishes to tell the people of Kerry that it represents all inhabitants of the county, not just Christians, the crucifix should either be joined by the symbols of all the religions represented in the county as well as any symbol that the non-religious community wishes to be erected, or the crucifix should be taken down.

Share this story with a friend

Share this story

Tell us what you think on our Facebook page