Thursday 23 February 2017

No captain to catch winds of change

This rudderless country is adrift and crying out for leadership, but our political system is all at sea, writes Eamon Delaney

We have rarely been at such a crux in our history. The country is crying out for political leadership, and instead what we have is a battered Government on auto-pilot, a Fine Gael party without the killer instinct and a Labour party prepared to play the safest vote-getting policy.

Last weekend's Labour Party conference must surely rank as one of the most cynical exercises in recent Irish politics. Instead of strong fearless ideas about the economy and the state of the nation, we got an event -- and a concluding leader's speech -- strong on rhetoric and mercilessly short on detail. We got a vague idea about a development bank, and a constitutional rewrite with citizen's participation. There was virtually nothing about crime -- in the week when a young Polish lad was stabbed to death in Cork. So much for Labour being in touch with those working class communities suffering from crime.

Worst of all, on one of the central issues of the moment, public sector pay, party leader Eamon Gilmore couldn't endorse the Croke Park deal -- which union leaders Jack O'Connor and Blair Horan support.

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