Drip, drip, drip effect erodes all credibility
Successful politicians recognise the line between confidence and arrogance, and right now the Government is on the wrong side of it on the issue of Irish Water. The key to turning the situation is in their own hands: they need to restore credibility, and this can only be done by establishing integrity on the issue.
The Government must abandon the lunacy of rewarding those who boycott paying their bills. It must learn from its mistakes instead of falling flat on its face every time it attempts to step forward. People no longer believe the Government knows what it is doing on water.
The U-turns and somersaults have induced dizziness in the higher echelons, producing a sense of instability which goes to the heart of the Cabinet, leaving the Coalition in a spin.
Yesterday we reported on division within the ranks of Fine Gael over the absurdity of the compliant bill-payer not only subsidising those who refuse to pay for water but actually giving them a bonus of €100 into the bargain.
The Government in its contortions still says it is too late to fix this, at this stage. This means that instead of playing with the wind at its back for its handling of the economy in the next election, it will instead be playing into the teeth of a hurricane of resistance on water.
Labour is said to be seething over the issue. Sources within the party are adamant that Finance Minister Michael Noonan was tipped off about the tempest that would blow up if boycotters were eligible for the €100 grant; it is claimed that he shrugged them off.
There is a serious lack of competence coupled with a catastrophic failure of corporate governance. In failing to deliver on declared identifiable objectives, the Government has sacrificed credibility in the name of expediency. Similar hauteur was seen in the way the banks steamrolled over core values until disaster struck before the crash.
It is remarkable that the Government should have come to such a pass through its rigidity of thought. Nothing in the world is as flexible and yielding as water, but it also has the potential to hollow out the hardest of rocks, let alone a divided government.
Removing the stigma of mental illness
Psychologists will tell you that the stigma against mental illness is a scourge with many faces.
Misconceptions abound and part of the blame for this is that while we can transparently fix every physical ailment and clearly recognise fitness, mental health is far less easily defined.
The Irish Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP), in attempting to address the imbalance, has discovered that 85pc of people believe it is easier to talk about personal difficulties than it was a decade ago.
However, there is a 'but' - and it is a major one.
Nine out of 10 people would still feel uncomfortable saying that they have a mental health issue.
Thus there is still something of a taboo over the subject, due to either lack of awareness or lack of understanding.
Both of these are unacceptable, given that mental illness is as treatable as any other form of illness.
This message needs to be highlighted more by the medical profession and by the health services.
Mental well-being is as vital as physical health. Instead of avoiding this obvious truth, we should promote it at every opportunity.