Politics in Ireland is in a mess and we have the government we deserve

Economist, Jim Power, has found the past week profoundly anger-inducing and depressing in equal measure.

As a Waterford man, it strikes me that the ‘theft in Thurles’ last Sunday was a total insult to the amateur players who give so much to their sport and to the fans who had to fork out handsomely for the second weekend in a row.

The GAA needs to take a serious look at how it treats its players and fans and ensure that a sport that makes such a significant economic and social contribution to the country is treated in a professional manner.

This debacle compounded a difficult couple of days for me.

Two days previously, we were eventually presented with a government after weeks of political nonsense, but it strikes me that we have ended up with the government we deserve. That is not meant as a compliment.

Looking down through the composition of the Cabinet and the various promotions and shaftings, one can only scratch one’s head and wonder.

It is very apparent that the Taoiseach sold his soul, and that of his party, to retain power and write himself into the history books.

He neither took the long-term future of the country or that of his party into account, and I fear that both will be the ultimate losers from the government that was patched together.

As somebody who paid water charges willingly, I am totally enraged at the manner in which Enda Kenny has done a total U-turn.

It creates a very dangerous precedent and implies that, in future, if Government introduces a measure that the vocal minority does not like, it will eventually be repealed.

The moral of the story appears to be that being a law-abiding citizen does not pay. In fact, if one flouts the law, one might eventually get the opportunity to serve in Cabinet. Mr Kenny should realise that power at too high a price is not really power at all.

The draft programme for government opens with the statement that the “New Partnership Government is ready to embrace the opportunity presented on February 26 by the Irish electorate”.

Who are they trying to fool? If the verdict delivered by the electorate on February 26 is regarded as an opportunity, then God help us.

I hope I am proved wrong, as I have been on more occasions than I care to remember in the past, but I am very skeptical about the ability of the patched-together construct to function properly.

If it manages to survive beyond a year, it will be a clear sign that no hard decisions were taken and that the path of least resistance was pursued on every occasion.

On the other hand, if it takes tough decisions and engages in proper policymaking, then I fear it will collapse and the lily-livered Independents will run for the hills.

One way or another, it does not bode well for a country that is still struggling to lift itself out of the deep chasm into which it fell in 2008.

Of course the programme for government does make all of the right noises.

It has clearly identified housing, health, jobs, rural development, disability, children, older people, crime prevention, equality, agriculture, and climate change as key priorities for the new regime.

It would not take a rocket scientist to figure out the issues. So far so good, but the rest of the document is full of aspirational hogwash.

I fear that the next programme for government, whenever it will be presented, will contain all of the same aspirations, and all of the same issues will remain unresolved.

In my view, Irish politics is a total and utter mess at the moment and it is not fit for purpose to successfully address the many challenges that the country is facing.

If it is any consolation, Ireland is not unique in that regard. Italy has been at the forefront of this malaise for decades, but many other countries are rapidly joining it.

Spain, France, and the US immediately come to mind.

Indeed, the Brexit campaign in the UK shows how strange politics in that country has become.

If David Cameron loses the referendum, he cannot possibly survive as leader of the Conservatives, and Boris Johnson would appear to be his obvious successor in such an eventuality.

Need I say any more?


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