Irish Examiner view: Government struggle to get public onside

Despite a pouring €7bn into the July stimulus package and €375m into a back-to-school plan the Government has been associated with a number of controversies and rows 
Irish Examiner view: Government struggle to get public onside
Taoiseach Micheál Martin's Governemnt have had a less-than-impressive debut. File picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Let’s hope the Government can use the summer recess to regain public trust. It will be needed more than ever if the three-party coalition is to manage the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

While the falling numbers of Covid-19 cases here are encouraging, the pandemic is far from over. The number of infections globally doubled in the last six weeks, with 1m testing positive in the last four days.

It is too soon to say how the continued reopening of the country will play out in the coming months, but if the country is to have any chance of negotiating the tricky road ahead, the Government needs to regroup after a less-than-impressive debut.

By rights, it should be riding high in the polls. It has spent lavishly, pouring €7bn into the July stimulus package and €375m into a back-to-school plan. The gloss on the feelgood spend was quickly tarnished, however, with controversies over junior ministerial pay hikes, rows about advisors and State cars, and, worst of all, the decision to cut pandemic payments to those who travelled abroad.

Public uproar has prompted a series of u-turns but there is still a lingering feeling that the people forced out of their jobs by the pandemic have been disciplined and punished. In the months ahead, we will need the same solidarity that saw the country through lockdown. Let’s hope the Government can push ‘restart’ and get the public back onside.

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