Monday 23 October 2017

Government must be wary of the snakes that can undo its good work

Board games can cure boredom
Board games can cure boredom

As deputies escape Kildare Street to the bosom of their constituencies and neglected families, there will be time for reflection in the government ranks. They will slouch on sofas and stare into fires, relieved to be doing nothing after a ferocious year.

Many will succumb to the mysterious illness that descends on the busy once they stop work. It feels like a debilitating flu with fatigue and low mood. Politics, whether in government or opposition, is a draining business. Deputies live on adrenaline, in the full glare of media scrutiny and in a hostile and competitive work environment. Stamina and wellbeing are essential.

What is not widely known, and I suspect would not elicit much sympathy, is that many politicians become ill arising from the lifestyle and pressure of their work. I can count four ministers, including this writer, hospitalised during my time in Government. In my case, it was wholly stress-related. I was -- in colloquial terms -- "burned out".

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