| 13.4°C Dublin


Greens can stitch ideals into fabric of our future

Editorial


Close

They may win influence and be part of something – or can have all of nothing. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

They may win influence and be part of something – or can have all of nothing. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

They may win influence and be part of something – or can have all of nothing. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

At any time in a country's public life you aspire to have the main political actors on stage - during a national economic meltdown it's fair to demand it.

The last two months transformed all our lives, and ended too many others.

The closest we get to pulling the strings of power is at the ballot box.

Thus voters returned an even dozen members of the Dáil from the Green Party.

Our Government has done well to hold the reins - but it is time to hand them over.

An unelected - albeit highly qualified - group has been making epoch-defining decisions away from scrutiny.

As Jonathan Swift remarked: "For in reason, all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery."

This has gone on longer than it should. Tensions between the advisers and the executive were inevitable.

Today elderly people will take a walk for the first time in several weeks.

They will enjoy the fresh air and pollution-free streets, with traffic at levels last seen in the 1950s.

But return to normality is not a reality.

While there may be a superficial serenity to all this, the pandemic is its sinister backdrop.

Daily Digest Newsletter

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan's exclusive take on the day's news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

A fully functioning economy, and comfort of secure livelihoods, is far from given.

But the emergency potentially does present unique opportunities to rebalance, recalibrate and rebuild. All of which needs to start immediately.

Yet a ruinous lethargy, utterly inappropriate to the harsh realities we face, is still pervasive.

When we went up on the rocks after the last economic crash there was a disgraceful abandoning of ship by some. Today families will wonder: do they have work to return to, can they keep a roof over their heads, and do they have a future here?

All the while, a circular argument drags on.

Just as those who left the State in the lurch the last time were derided, those who choose to refuse to play their role in an hour of dire need today will be seen in an equally unforgiving light.

We are far from free of the grip of danger and without government there is no accountability.

Nor is there even a chance to submit parliamentary questions.

A party entering government coalition may need to interrogate the programme.

But indulgence for exhaustive forensic internal debate with crucial decisions delayed may be paid for in jobs and business closures.

Last week Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe unveiled a vital series of supports to assist business.

But billions must be held back until a new administration is formed.

The Greens can seize their chance and prove their heft, stitching their ideals into the fabric of our future, or they can squander the moment in a sorry squabble and go nowhere.

They may win influence and be part of something - or can have all of nothing. The interregnum has to end.


Most Watched





Privacy