Irish Examiner View: Government Formation - National interest trumps politics

Irish Examiner View: Government Formation - National interest trumps politics

As Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil negotiators met again yesterday to resume policy discussions, the Green Party continues to insist that what is most urgently needed is a Government of national unity to deal with the Coronavirus crisis.

It is worth considering for a number of reasons. Firstly, when it comes to tackling the worst peacetime crisis in the history of the state, we need all the help we can get.

There is an abundance of talent in the Dáil, yet even if Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin manage to cobble together a coalition arrangement with help from independents and others, we are making use of less than half that talent.

Secondly, these ongoing talks have been dragging on for weeks, to little effect. They are a distraction we do not need.

Most importantly of all, the need for a national government now resides principally in formulating an economic plan to get us out of what will likely be a prolonged recession.

For starters, we need Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe to conduct daily briefings and engage closely with finance spokespeople Michael McGrath of Fianna Fáil and Pearse Doherty of Sinn Féin, with each of them putting aside party differences to come with a coherent plan. 

It might require negotiating special low rate loan deals with the ECB and World Bank but, of course other EU states will be in the same boat.

The economic fallout is likely to last far longer than the pandemic. 

The time to prepare for it is now.

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