Tuesday 20 February 2018

After political crisis, time to go to work

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin Photo: Gerry Mooney
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin Photo: Gerry Mooney


After a tumultuous week last week, a relative calmness has descended on national politics. It is to be hoped that lessons have been learned, that a strengthening of the 'confidence and supply' arrangement has been achieved and that the body politic will now settle into a more constructive form of governing to bring about positive changes to society.

It is equally heartening to see that the two main political parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, are this weekend working together in the national interest as the crucial issue of Brexit enters a critical phase. While the parties may differ in some regards, specifically in relation to State assistance to Irish businesses in preparation for the exit of the UK from the European Union, nonetheless they are working together on the broader issue at a time when the seeking of partisan political advantage is not required. This is also to be welcomed.

In a week such as that which has passed, it is sometimes easy to overlook positive developments as a consequence of the 'confidence and supply' agreement: for example, the process of beginning the repayment of water charges has commenced, a Christmas bonus to social welfare recipients has been paid, 1,700 sports clubs around the country have received significant, and welcome, grant aid and four year olds now get to use public transport free of charge. These are, indeed, positive developments and an example, albeit unheralded, of how a properly functioning centre ground in Irish politics can work for the benefit of a cross-section of society.

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