A question of communication
BRIAN Cowen's Government notoriously has difficulties communicating with the citizens. Events over the weekend suggest that he and his ministers have some difficulty communicating with one another.
On Saturday, the Taoiseach spoke at a Fianna Fail conference in Athlone. The event was billed in advance as important. Clearly it formed part of Mr Cowen's programme of speeches and interviews designed to persuade the public that the Government knows how to extricate us from the present economic morass; that we have come to a turning point, and that, in his own words, "the worst is over". Advisers hoped for wide and favourable publicity.
But on Friday evening, Social Protection Minister Eamon O Cuiv disclosed the details in the Social Welfare Bill of the proposals to withdraw the lone parents' allowance from single parents whose youngest child has reached the age of 13, and to disqualify people seeking jobseekers' allowance if they refuse the offer of a job or a place on a training programme.