On Wednesday night, it finally came – the resignation of landlord Robert Troy, whose career as a minister came to an end (for now, at least) due to revelations about his property empire and how the details were kept hidden from the general public.
The whole sorry scene played out under the hashtag #TroyStory, and in the wake of his resignation from the cabinet, jokes were made about there being “no other Troy”.
In truth, the Dáil is full of people like Robert Troy – in fact, he is still there, having only stepped down from his ministerial post, and not resigned as a TD, which any right-thinking person would have done when public confidence in them had drained away to this extent.
His breathtakingly bitter, whiny statement and the reaction to it from the likes of Micheál Martin says so much about Irish democracy that it’s hard to take it all in.
He’ll continue to pull in more than €100,000 a year in salary, plus generous expenses.
He will continue to make decisions that affect rents and standards and opportunities for others to buy.
Opening his mouth as wide as possible one last time, Troy inserted both feet in it, claiming simultaneously to have bought his first property at 20, and also that he is not a person of privilege.
I hate to break it to you Bobby, but being able to buy property at 20 means you’re privileged, no matter how you go the money.
In the Ireland of 2022 owning a home at all is a privilege – you own 11 properties, sublet into even more homes, even if some of them reportedly have no fire certificates and are substandard in other ways.
Not only that, those assets gave you the clout and the capital to run for office, which you successfully did – and you used that office to ask about continuing evicting people during a global, once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.
I wonder how many times the poor put-upon private landlord voted that people like him should be given even more money through the housing assistance program (HAP), rather than build social housing that would be owned by us all, for the benefit of those who need it?
How many times did he vote to loosen or remove regulations that would directly benefit him personally?
If these were cases before a court and not bills before the Oireachtas, we would rightly expect a judge to recuse themselves due to their conflicts of interest, but Bobby Dozen Gaffs sat through it all, with many of his profits and properties hidden from view because he simply didn’t think he had to reveal them.
No other Troy? Look at the member’s register of interests.
Everywhere there are landlords and business owners who, almost daily, are asked to consider matters that will affect their personal finances, and yet we let them.
Former TDs can waltz in and out of the Dáil to lobby on behalf of private corporations in meetings that are never recorded.
Meanwhile, outside on Kildare Street, the plain people of Ireland protest for accessible education and healthcare, and for redress for homes that crumbled under light-touch building regulations. The vast majority do not have the means to mount a campaign and gain a seat inside the house, so they remain outsiders, while insiders like Bobby live off the fat of the land.
That Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar are disappointed to se him go tells you all you need to know in Ireland in 2022. Sure why shouldn’t he have a dozen gaffs, when 3000 children are growing up in homelessness? He’s a great lad, always voted how we told him to.
And last but not least, the ridiculous notion that it is hard work that lies behind the success of landlords, when it is simple privilege.
The privilege of knowing who to ask for a bank loan at the right time.
The privilege of having parents who can put you through college.
The privilege of having friends in high places who have your back, even when you’ve been caught being economical with the truth.
There is much in Ireland that needs to be fixed, and there is a great desire to do so – but not inside the Dáil, where once the status quo is maintained, the two major parties can retain their century-long tradition of a prime spot at the trough.
Meanwhile, outside, poverty creeps ever-closer as the citizens meekly hand over their ever-increasing rent to those on the inside, literally and metaphorically.
No other Troy?