A bright, uplifting spring day made for bright, uplifting events and, like all encouraging, bracing spring days, it also brought a challenge — the duty of managing renewal, a window of opportunity to harness potential and another chance to build a better future for all citizens of this country — and this island.
We have looked back to 1916 with such pride for so long, and with such passionate if divergent views, that our immediate duty to those who did so much to help establish this Republic has been discharged. Now it is time to make the best of the opportunities 1916 bequeathed us. This recognition is not by any means new but so much is left undone, so many things need to be fixed, that the challenge is almost as daunting as the day it was first recognised. It is time to look forward and make our own history — even if those masked and sinister “pikemen” who marched to their own out-of-tune drum in Tralee yesterday afternoon are trapped in a bizarre and anti-democratic time warp of their own making.
The St Patrick’s Day celebrations and the Easter 1916 fanfare followed our election very quickly and meant that a Government could not be formed and that tortuous negotiations could continue without the attention they would otherwise have received. The distractions have passed and it is time our political classes made real progress towards either forming a government with the capacity to do positive, transformative work over a number of years or accept that they are trapped in their heirloom straitjackets and call a second election — an election that no one would welcome and would be an indictment of everyone elected to the 32nd Dáil.
Like a frustrated parent watching two petulant children fighting over which of them might sit in the front seat of the car on a school run, the great majority of citizens — voters just a few weeks ago and maybe again in another few weeks — find the posturing, the entirely contrived red line issues utterly bewildering and bordering on offensive. Every one of us has had to accept less than ideal circumstances but faced with an untenable alternative we trim our sails and make the best of what we have. It is time Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil grew up and did the same.
Though talks about working together continue, as do talks with every sort of independent, and though the prospect of Enda Kenny being Taoiseach and water charges seem this week’s stumbling blocks, little enough progress seems to have been made or at least made public. This is understandable enough but it is time progress was made and reported. The issues facing this society are many and pressing.
Today, Fr Peter McVerry the homelessness campaigner points to the disconnect between citizens and our body politic and suggests our response to the shameful housing crisis has been shaped by that dysfunction. That is just one of many pressing issues festering while petulant politicians play their self-important, delusional games. Enough!