Tuesday 16 January 2018

Time for Coalition to get down to business

Yesterday the Government celebrated its first 100 days in office. It is a testament to the depths of unpopularity to which its predecessor had sunk that more than three months after it first took office, the Fine Gael/Labour Coalition is still enjoying an extended honeymoon with Taoiseach Enda Kenny's popularity having soared to unprecedented levels.

The Government would be well advised to enjoy its current popularity while it lasts. All around difficult decisions are pressing in upon it. On the basis of yesterday's performance the omens are not good. While the Government's promise of no increase in income tax or cuts in social welfare payments in December's Budget will do its popularity no harm in the short-term, it betrays a worrying inability to take the unpalatable decisions which are vital if the budget deficit is to be closed.

And yesterday wasn't an isolated incident. The barely-concealed squabbling between the two government parties over Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton's plans to reform the Joint Labour Committee system, which sets the wages of more than 200,000 low-paid workers, also points to a distressing lack of intestinal fortitude on the part of our new Government.

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