Monday 26 September 2016

Doubt on Government cohesion and ability

Published 11/11/2015 | 02:30

Almost nine months after he first announced that tenants would have so-called 'rent certainty' Alan Kelly only yesterday finally got his Government colleagues’ approval for the measure
Almost nine months after he first announced that tenants would have so-called 'rent certainty' Alan Kelly only yesterday finally got his Government colleagues’ approval for the measure

Almost nine months after he first announced that tenants would have so-called "rent certainty" the Environment Minister, Alan Kelly, only yesterday finally got his Government colleagues' approval for the measure.

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And more than five months after the Government promised an inquiry into concerns about taxpayers' money in dealing with the horror legacy of the old Anglo Irish Bank, yesterday we learned the full extent of the legal obstacles which are impeding such an inquiry from starting work.

The rent policy delay speaks to this Government's lack of cohesion, and proneness to entrenched divisions, which lead to occasional unseemly public rows. The legal hitch in the commission of inquiry, apparent for quite some time but only revealed this week, raises questions about the Government's competence and commitment to serving the citizens' interests first and foremost.

The divisions and questions of commitment and competence are given added definition by the knowledge that this Government is now in its final months at very most. Irish people are entitled to ask what is the point of this Government continuing in office, if it persists in showing that there are serious doubts about its ability to deal promptly and effectively with important issues?

Would it not be better to fold its operations and go before the voters, rather than waiting on ineffectively in office until next spring? Such a notion was very much on the cards last month but was gonged by Labour, whose principals wanted to wait on for potentially better political weather next spring.

The political thinking behind delaying the election is entirely understandable. But the Irish citizens' rights cannot be trumped by any one party's concerns.

The Government may claim some mitigation on the late show of unity in delivering the rent certainty initiative. But they must now swiftly resolve the inquiry crux. The Irish people have suffered enough and deserve better government.

Targeted screening can lessen diabetes burden

The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) has, time and again, proved the importance of in-depth research into the health, lifestyle and financial circumstances of the population.

TILDA, which tracks a cohort of people aged 50 and over for a 10-year period, is not only enhancing our understanding of the ageing process. It also serves as a vital early warning system that, if legislators take note, will inform a range of economic, health and social policies as we prepare to deal with an ageing population.

That one in 10 adults aged over 50 in Ireland have Type 2 diabetes (16pc for those over the age of 80) is a major harbinger of the type of stresses our already ailing health system will face in a short while.

There is also, then, TILDA's findings of significant levels of undiagnosed diabetes and pre-diabetes. The latest survey also has implications for equality of access to healthcare as private insurance holders are less likely to have undiagnosed diabetes than the uninsured.

At the very least, we need targeted screening to lessen the burden of diabetes - we have been warned.

Irish Independent

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