| 3.1°C Dublin

Editorial: 'We must be careful what we wish for'

Close

Micheal Martin and Leo Varadkar. Photo: PA

Micheal Martin and Leo Varadkar. Photo: PA

Micheal Martin and Leo Varadkar. Photo: PA

Evidence suggests that many people have yet to make up their minds in the General Election.

So it is all to play for with less than a week to go. And it seems the result is still too close to call. Either Micheal Martin or Leo Varadkar will lead the next Government, but who will make up the Government is unclear. Both seem adamant that a coalition of the two major parties will not happen. Micheal Martin is resolute that he will not share power with Sinn Fein, despite pretty intense pressure from those who put forward specious arguments, like asking why it is acceptable for Sinn Fein to be in Government in Northern Ireland, but not here, as if the two jurisdictions were interchangeable.

It has been suggested Varadkar might be wavering on this issue, though it is hard to see how he could reconcile his party's manifesto with Sinn Fein's "dangerous" policies, irrespective of whether or not the Department of Finance was asked to run the rule over them. But Mary Lou McDonald knows that unless either Varadkar or Martin blinks, she has little or no chance of achieving Government this time around.

We, the voters, can influence the outcome by carefully analysing the policies put forward so far and finally making up our minds. We have been offered several alternative approaches in the areas of crime, healthcare, taxation, education, childcare, pensions, climate change, and housing.

Do we want to thank the outgoing Government for the Brexit negotiations and their handling of the economy, or punish them for failure in the areas of health and housing? Are we sufficiently keen for "change" to give the Fianna Fail team a chance to show what they can do, or are we still unforgiving of their past mistakes? Do we see Sinn Fein as just another political party also offering change, despite their past connections and present links to "shadowy figures", and view their extravagant promises as realistic? It is generally accepted that no party will get an overall majority, but we are not without choice. Labour, the Greens, the Social Democrats and several of the many Independents running, are willing as well as able to help provide a Government.

As Brexit comes into effect - after a populist vote and years of political turmoil - this should give us all some pause for thought. These are serious matters to weigh and it is worth some time considering them and the possible outcomes. Be careful what you wish for.

Sunday Independent