Tuesday 27 September 2016

Halligan's ongoing disruption must end

Published 13/09/2016 | 02:30

John Halligan. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
John Halligan. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

This so-called 'Partnership Government' is showing no evidence of being either a partnership or a government. We stand less than a calendar month from a Budget which must address serious social and economic issues. On Friday, EU leaders will meet in Bratislava for a crucial meeting on how to cope with a 27-member trading bloc without Britain. For the first time in Ireland's 43 years of membership, a British prime minister will not be present.

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The second week of an escalating bus dispute is set to once again inflict traffic chaos on the two million people who use our capital city each working day. In our hospital A&E departments the trolley count remains unacceptably high - and we are nowhere near the additional problems winter brings that sector.

Amidst all of this, a member of the Government team, John Halligan, treats us to a sideshow of intemperate language which brings self-indulgence to new lows in public life. In an interview with the 'Sunday Independent', Mr Halligan unleashed a stream of invective against not only his Fine Gael colleagues in the Government, but also against his own colleagues in the Independent Alliance.

Mr Halligan actually dubbed his group colleague, Kevin 'Boxer' Moran, an "idiot".

That was seemingly because Mr Moran had the temerity, which some would call common sense, to suggest that the Waterford TD should accept a compromise on his demands for the University Hospital. Happily, Mr Moran has refused to respond to that level of discourse. But the damage inflicted on the Independent Alliance and the Government generally is considerable.

The Alliance's leader, Transport Minister Shane Ross, should be devoting the bulk of his attention to the Dublin Bus dispute and its potential ripple effects in the sister companies, Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann, which serve the entire nation. Instead, much of his energy is taken up with this ongoing spat involving Mr Halligan. It is past time that Mr Halligan left the Government.

Irish Independent

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