Irish Examiner View: A Government facing massive challenges

The penultimate hurdle to a new administration has been, after almost a five-month interregnum, negotiated.
Irish Examiner View: A Government facing massive challenges

The penultimate hurdle to a new administration has been, after almost a five-month interregnum, negotiated. A government will be installed today in the glittering setting of Dublin's Convention Center, an iconic legacy from Celtic Tiger Ireland. The location will not be the only novelty as a formal partnership between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil is unprecedented. Its historical, social and political import could not be underestimated. It is, after all, less than a century since one group tried and executed members of the other.

The establishment of a democratic government is always worth celebration - its performance is an entirely different matter - but today's events shake off an inherited burden, a persistent and limiting tribalism that, like it or not, sold this society short for generations. Any regret at opportunities lost because two centre-right, conservative parties put their differences, more personal than philosophical, before the country's needs can, hopefully, be laid to rest. That anyone who might undermine this belated alliance would face the wrath of an electorate interested more in results than tradition gives real heft to that ambition. That there has been no real difference between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael more or less since Ireland joined the EU almost half a century ago shows how patient the electorate has been even if loyalties were occasionally misplaced. Hopefully, today's Convention Centre events will finally drive a stake through that particular Dracula's heart. It seems ironic though that just as our moderate parties coalesce extremism is on the rise all around the world.

So much for the past what of the future?

It seems appropriate that today's great challenge - climate change - is the dynamic that brought the Greens to the point where the great issue of the past - how this Republic was established - is no longer the kingmaker in Irish politics. If the Greens achieve nothing else, though it must be hoped they do, by matchmaking the two venerable parties they, and a discontented electorate, achieved something none of their predecessors could deliver. The Greens' importance can hardly be overstated and will pose a real challenge to what might be called the Massey Ferguson wings of their partner parties. how those relationships are managed will be pivotal.

The shape of the government has been agreed and Micheal Martin will realise what seems his raison d'être for a number of years when he is elected Taoiseach. He will face many challenges not least of which is how he escapes from his own past as a central figure in so many discredited administrations. In time that will be no more than a foot note in his biography, his in tray, and his partners' in-try, re That

The penultimate hurdle to a new administration has been, after almost a five-month interregnum, negotiated. A government will be installed today in the glittering setting of Dublin's Convention Center, an iconic legacy from Celtic Tiger Ireland. The location will not be the only novelty as a formal partnership between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil is unprecedented. Its historical, social and political import could not be underestimated. It is, after all, less than a century since one group tried and executed members of the other.

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