Thursday 8 December 2016

A temporary little arrangement won't do

Published 04/03/2016 | 02:30

Michael Noonan. Photo: Tom Burke
Michael Noonan. Photo: Tom Burke

Pretty soon we will be marking the 100th anniversary of the Rising. One wonders what those who, for better or worse, were driven by a vision of the future based on an idealism born of its time, would make of the handiwork of our current crop of 'leaders'. Not too much, is a reasonable guess. When the abolition of Irish Water is the most pressing issue of our times; even while 1,600 children are living in emergency accommodation, one begins to worry. Before talks even started between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil on the formation of a government, Michael Noonan yesterday told a meeting of his party that he could see an election within the next two years.

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According to Christopher Nutall, diplomacy is the art of "getting what you want without offending anyone too badly".

At a stroke, Mr Noonan risks offending everyone who voted for a government. In 1989, Albert Reynolds was justifiably castigated for dismissing the coalition with the PDs as a "temporary little arrangement". Mr Noonan appears to be pulling the rug on a prospective government before it is even put in place. If this is the level of confidence he has, grounds for optimism are few. And what will Fianna Fáil make of the comments? One would have thought that having been at the receiving end of such an electoral drubbing that Mr Noonan would understand that careless talk costs seats. He only had to think of his party leader Enda Kenny's remarks about Irish people not understanding economic jargon, or his "whingers" comment, to keep his tongue in check. This country has just held a General Election. Public office is a privilege. People expect to see a government formed. They did not participate in a raffle where the draw can be held over until next time. It's been said that words without actions are the assassins of idealism, remember that? "Was it for this . . .?"

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