Sunday 25 September 2016

Finally, a government. Now, just get on with it

Published 06/05/2016 | 02:30

Enda Kenny. Photo: Getty
Enda Kenny. Photo: Getty

It seems that after some 1,692 hours of labour pains the extremely complicated delivery of a government for the 32nd Dáil will be recorded after noon today. It must be hoped that its lifespan will be at least as long as its gestation period.

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And to be fair to acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny, he has done well to secure the support of up to 12 Independents. It should also be recognised that these TDs came to the table with genuine intent. It is to be hoped that the 156-page document outlining the Programme for Government is commensurate with the serious difficulties facing both rural and urban Ireland. That would be a tall order given it is a product of compromise and expediency.

If anyone is in any doubt that 'new politics' has arrived they need only look at the likely complexion of the Cabinet.

It is widely expected that Independents could be allocated as many as three Cabinet positions, as well as one so-called super junior. It is even expected that another two junior ministerial positions could go to non-party deputies.

The days of sweeping, imperious majorities are clearly over. There is nothing to fear from consensus politics based on cohesion built through trust and consultation

Given Fianna Fáil spurned the opportunity to be part of the government, the party has a grave responsibility to facilitate its smooth running. Micheál Martin had better be aware that any inclination to play puppet master and pull strings from the wings while eschewing responsibility can only exact a bitter backlash.

It should not be forgotten that much of the disgraceful delay can be put down to the bad-tempered exchanges that dogged the early engagement between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. The refusal to have an act or part facilitating the formation of a government by Sinn Féin was far more reprehensible. Having endured 70 days of procrastination and postponement, there is really only one message to impart: Get on with it.

Irish Independent

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