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If we're all in it together, politicians are not exempt

Editorial


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Our own Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone is hoping the “play pods” can free small children to play together again. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Our own Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone is hoping the “play pods” can free small children to play together again. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Our own Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone is hoping the “play pods” can free small children to play together again. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

It is surprising in times of difficulty how often the hard thing to do and right thing to do are the same. Our country needs a government now.

Next week, it must rush through authorisation for billions of extra euro for social welfare payments. People are paralysed with anxiety about their future; hundreds of businesses are at risk of going to the wall.

New noises from the UK suggest we face another cliff-edge on Brexit over border checks.

Yet we still await a show of statesmanship commensurate with the challenges we face across the political divide.

Parties are still looking out for themselves. Now the Green Party may be on the point of a leadership challenge as government formation talks take place. Such a move at such a time risks rocking the boat as it crests a wave.

The past few months feel as if we have been trapped on an ever-spinning roulette wheel. The strangeness of it all has understandably produced an overwhelming craving for stability and normality.

This remains out of reach for the foreseeable future. The new familiar may feel like a foreign land, but however fabricated it is, we will have to come to terms with it. For while new figures suggest the outbreak is on a downward trend, people may have a false sense of security.

Our safety continues to depend on our respect for social distancing.

New testing systems will be pivotal in future weeks. But who could have foreseen our emergence into a science fiction world of "flattening the curve" with its "double bubbles" and "pods" for the children.

We have New Zealand's Jacinda Ardern to thank for popularising the social bubble system.

It pivots on the notion get-togethers are far safer if the double bubble is confined to the same two households.

The practical approach extends our circle without inviting a second wave of Covid-19.

Our own Children's Minister Katherine Zappone is hoping the "play pods" can free small children to play together again.

What freedoms we have tomorrow are still very much tied to what we are prepared to put on hold today.

This is where true leadership and responsibility reveal themselves. And why new figures from the Department of Health on "risk perceptions" among the public give grounds for concern.

When asked to rate how worried they are about the epidemic from one to 10, the number is on the slide, with most opting for 5.7 down from a high of 7.3.

It is way too soon to drop our guard.

Anyone doubting this should note yesterday there were 106,000 new cases of the infection recorded worldwide - the most in a single day yet.

At the beginning of the pandemic the rallying cry was "we are all in this together". In case there is any doubt, those involved in government formation are not exempt.

Irish Independent