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'Leinster House bubble' must burst for good of the nation

Editorial


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Some workers are fretting about whether there will be reasonably paid work for them to go back to – if and when there is some return to a semblance of normality. (PA)

Some workers are fretting about whether there will be reasonably paid work for them to go back to – if and when there is some return to a semblance of normality. (PA)

PA

Some workers are fretting about whether there will be reasonably paid work for them to go back to – if and when there is some return to a semblance of normality. (PA)

This day next week we may barely notice that it is the May bank holiday. But it is quite likely we will know the shape of what relaxation - if any - there will be on these tough coronavirus restrictions.

Some sign of hope and progress, be it ever so small, is needed to maintain national morale. So far the vast bulk of people have been patient and patriotic - but many citizens have very serious worries aplenty.

First and foremost, there is the fear for vulnerable loved ones, extended family members, neighbours and friends that any negligent actions - or inactions - could literally put lives at risk. There is special worry about older people.

But the longer the lockdown goes on, the more people's money worries will grow and worsen. About half the workforce is now depending on some form of State payment and the Government has been correct to say the current level of payments cannot go on interminably.

Some workers are fretting about whether there will be reasonably paid work for them to go back to - if and when there is some return to a semblance of normality. All of this is part of a full realisation the coronavirus world is a very uncertain place.

In the initial stages of this crisis, the lack of a fully empowered government, while less than ideal, was not necessarily critical. But as the weeks have melded into one another, and the coronavirus crisis has built, the lack of a democratically mandated government has become a major and urgent issue.

Yes, we do accept the Dáil arithmetic thrown up by the election on February 8 is very difficult. But very soon now the value of democratic politics will of itself be questioned if our 160 men and women, chosen more than 11 weeks ago, cannot get over themselves and their problems and deliver a government.

For people facing all the real-life worries cited above, the difficulties of politicians in brokering government-making compromises are at very best matters of detail.

Ordinary working people cannot be expected to care much about what may appear sacrosanct inside the "Leinster House bubble".

People have lives, loved ones and day-to-day commitments which must be met. It does not take much thought to know that all these trump the details of politics in their view.

After 79 days since the election, we are now only at a point of "talking about talks" about the most plausible government configuration of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party. It will be a difficult deal to broker, especially for the Greens, who have set the bar for a deal rather high.

Even if a compromise deal emerges, it will be equally hard to sell across the parties. Getting the necessary membership approval will also be logistically difficult as coronavirus restrictions are set to be with us for quite some time to come.

But it is not beyond the wit of man, in an era of technology, to find solutions there. What is most urgently required is a willingness to talk and talk with the give-and-take to sustain workable compromises. We urgently need a government.

Irish Independent