Water debacle washed away the crucial trust
Published 27/04/2016 | 02:30
It has not been a good week for Irish politics. It bodes ill for hopes of developing "new politics" with cross-party cooperation built on give and take.
The face-off between the two big beasts of Irish politics, over water charges of all things, has damaged the trust required to build a minority government with any hope of durability. We cannot repeat often enough that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have been publicly committed to water charges since 2009.
The brutal political reality is that Fianna Fáil took a half-way house stance of suspending charges and the poorly thought-out abolition of Irish Water only in response to their keen rivals Sinn Féin. And, in a further ironic twist, Sinn Féin adopted their all-out militant stance only in 2014, in response to two Dublin by-election defeats.