Peter Bartys budget

THE WORST budget performance in years was given by Fine Gael's new spokesman on Finance, Peter Barty. His reply to George Colley's statement was embarrassing as cliche rolled after platitude in monotonous succession.


Afterwards he steadfastly refused to give interviews on what the Fine Gael alterrnative to the Fianna Fail package should be. And perhaps understandably so, as the party has no idea of what its economic policy should be.

This is passed by party spokesmen as being unexcepptional so soon after being turfed out of office. But it isn't that easily explicable. The truth is that Fine Gael doesn't know what its role should be on the major issues of our society. This is a crisis of identity, not a simple policy dilemma.

THE BEHAVIOUR of some senior ministers at the Fianna Fail Ard Fheis would suggest that "banana republic" days are with us again.

Just before the Taoiseach rose to make his prime TV -time address, there were several scuffles on the plattform among senior ministers. Des O'Malley rushed in a mighty haste from the press room to plant himself beside Jack, right in camera line. No .matter if he had to displace a colleague to get a seat of honour, or rather, visibility.

But George Colley pulled the best stroke of the evenning. He tried to squeeze in near Lynch before the speech began but failed. However, he bided his time and when the Taoiseach rose to speak, Colley was in like a flash behind him to take the seat he had vacated.