Tuesday 25 October 2016

We need stability - not party political games

Published 20/09/2016 | 02:30

Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Colin Keegan / Collins Dublin.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Colin Keegan / Collins Dublin.

We live in an increasingly economic and politically uncertain world. Now, more than at any other time in recent years, we need stable government.

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So far our new politics has shown little sign of working. With Budget day just 22 days off we are being treated to a most unseemly scramble by various parties or groupings to put their "stamp" on the package.

Fine Gael backbenchers are worried that Fianna Fáil, underpinning this hybrid minority coalition nominally led by their party, will be perceived as having far too much say over economic policy. Fine Gael similarly fears that the various Independents will also be seen in much the same light by prospective voters.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil is anxious that the Independents in government do not get to steal too much of their thunder.

The upshot of the whole thing is that the emerging Budget risks resembling the horse designed by committee, commonly known as a camel, and not serving the real needs of a recession-weary public living with a fragile economy.

At the same time the noises off about the Fine Gael party leadership and the intentions of Taoiseach Enda Kenny on his departure date continue. Mr Kenny has a three-week grace period until after the Budget on October 11. Thereafter there is a risk that the internal attrition will recommence.

Signals from Mr Kenny are that he wishes to extend his stay by anything up to to two years. Or, at least until next summer. Many of Fine Gael's would-be rebels believe the issue should be sorted before this year is out.

The Fine Gael leadership issue feeds further potential instability into a volatile political situation. Some Independents supporting the Government have not adapted well to their responsibilities and the need to take and defend tough decisions.

Fianna Fáil must continually weigh how long they could support a new Fine Gael leader, if at all, without disadvantaging their own longer-term political prospects. A stock-take of the variables suggests that our new politics are far too like the old.

Short-term party politial advantage, gamesmanship and playing to the gallery, will not help us face what lies ahead.

As Dubs and Mayo replay, must bus strike continue?

What was lacking in style was compensated for in grit and verve. A full house at GAA HQ, a nation glued to television screens, and exiles watching across the globe, were treated to a sporting feast by Dublin and Mayo yesterday.

This All Ireland final was tense with no quarter asked or given. Nerves showed in some big errors, there were own-goals from Mayo, and missed scoring chances by Dublin.

Yet both sides showed an indomitable will to overcome these self-inflicted wounds. As a contest it had pretty well everything as it left the audience on the edge of their seats.

There was special credit due to Mayo who were deemed underdogs by all and sundry, and many of their loyal supporters had travelled to Croke Park more in hope than in confidence. But from the throw-in, it was clear that they were on a mission to "upset" the Dubs - and that was what they did.

Dublin also showed their mettle, with an ability to dig deeper and find extra resources to cope with adversity. Neither side left anything on the park and deserve everybody's commendation.

The replay is on Saturday week, coinciding with one of the days of the Dublin Bus strike. Could we see a "sporting gesture" here from strikers and/or management?

Irish Independent

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