Sunday 11 December 2016

Mary Harney warns government formation delay damaging Ireland's international reputation

Published 17/04/2016 | 14:12

Mary Harney at Leinster House. Photo: Tom Burke
Mary Harney at Leinster House. Photo: Tom Burke

FORMER Tanaiste Mary Harney says she believes the country could "stumble into" another general election and is very worried that a stable government has yet to be put in place.

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Ms Harney made it clear she was speaking from the point of view of a citizen, and as a citizen she felt it was very damaging to Ireland's international reputation that it still didn't have a new government.

"As a citizen I'm very worried that we haven't been able to form a stable government and I think it has to be the priority - and I don't underestimate how difficult it is and it is particularly difficult given the make up of the Dáil and the huge number of parties and Independents," she said.

"But I think everyone has the responsibility to focus on one thing and that is the future.

"I also think that from an investment in the country's point of view, it's paramount we put a government in place quickly.

"We could stumble into another election but whether that would deliver another result or not I just don't know."

The former Progressive Democrats leader made her remarks at the Women in Media conference in Ballybunion, Co Kerry, where she delivered the closing address at the three-day event.

She told the conference that when she left public life she made a conscious decision to leave politics behind her.

Ms Harney travelled to Ballybunion with her husband Brian Geoghegan.

She also told the conference she believed the landscape in Ireland was changing but women still needed encouragement to go for it, be that in the world's of media, politics or sport, and that change would be down to role models, networking and encouragement.

This was the fourth annual Women in Media conference, which was inspired by the late Mary Cummins, who came from the seaside town, and author Maeve Binchy, who holidayed there as a teenager.

The event celebrates the most influential women working in the public eye and aims to provide a forum for men and women to come together to discuss the achievements and challenges of working in the media, political and related industries.

It featured a weekend of talks and debates with some of today’s top female figures in the Irish life including Tanaiste Joan Burton and RTE’s Miriam O’Callaghan, who travelled to Ballybunion with her BBC TV executive husband, Steve Carson, who completed a 100km cycle while his wife was busy at the conference.

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