Thursday 19 January 2017

Taxing problem of how to keep coalition parties working in unison

What started the week as a potentially large hurdle could benefit the Government as a whole, but there may yet be a cost

Eoin O'Malley

Published 04/09/2016 | 02:30

Money talks: Minister for Public Expenditure, Paschal Donohoe, and Finance Minister Michael Noonan, following the conclusion of the Cabinet meeting at Government Buildings after the EU Commission's €13bn tax decision last week Photo: Tom Burke
Money talks: Minister for Public Expenditure, Paschal Donohoe, and Finance Minister Michael Noonan, following the conclusion of the Cabinet meeting at Government Buildings after the EU Commission's €13bn tax decision last week Photo: Tom Burke

The former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds observed on keeping governments going: "You cross the big hurdles, and when you get to the small ones, you get tripped up".

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He discovered that any protruding root on the path has the capacity to bring even a strong government with a large majority - as his had - crashing down. He didn't understand that trust was a big issue for holding government together, and trust can be lost on even the smallest of issues.

The Fine Gael-led minority coalition is a much less steady beast. And trust appears to be low. Faced last week with a €13bn decision, immediately two questions came to mind. How would Fianna Fail react, and what would the Independent Alliance do?

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