Tuesday 6 December 2016

Let's stop the charade and form a government

This game of pass the parcel does no one any favours, is it time to cut the crap and have another election, asks Brendan O'Connor

Published 03/04/2016 | 02:30

TALKS: Fine Gael’s Simon Harris, Leo Varadkar, Frances Fitzgerald, Sean Kyne and Simon Coveney arrive for discussion with Independents and Greens. Photo: Tom Burke
TALKS: Fine Gael’s Simon Harris, Leo Varadkar, Frances Fitzgerald, Sean Kyne and Simon Coveney arrive for discussion with Independents and Greens. Photo: Tom Burke

The vignettes emerging of our politicians right now are unflattering to say the least. Take the image of Leo Varadkar sitting across from Michael Healy-Rae idly texting on his phone while ostensibly getting on with the pressing business of forming a government. According to Niall O'Connor in the Irish Independent, Healy-Rae eventually called Leo on his behaviour in strong Kerry terms. The idle texting won't be a hard image to conjure for many of Leo's colleagues. He is apparently as known for his semi-detached attitude in private as he is in public.

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And then of course there was the phone call business on Thursday between Enda and Micheal. On the face of it, it looked like childish nonsense, but of course there was a very real intent behind it on both sides. It's back to pass the parcel. No one wants to be caught being less than eager to form a government. So who picked up the phone first, is critical. And of course there is yet another layer of intent behind that. Which is that no one wants to form a government right now, especially an unstable one. The big clue to that was on the front page of the Irish Times: "Election pledges at risk from spending time bomb".

The Times points out that overruns and unexpected extras in health, education and justice will limit the scope for anyone who goes into government to keep their election promises, and another HSE bailout could also cause trouble with Europe. This story popping up right now probably isn't a coincidence, as Noonan was preparing to meet the Independents and brief them on the economy.

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