Leadership crisis - Perception is everything

FOLLOWING the worst week in Brian Cowen’s political career, there are growing signs his days as Taoiseach are numbered.

With serious questions hanging over his leadership, there are rumblings in the grassroots of Fianna Fáil. Despite his illness, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan’s name is on the lips of backbenchers who feel the disastrous Cowen interview had a negative impact on the Taoiseach’s own image, on the Fianna Fáil party, and on the reputation of Ireland just when the country needs to project an air of confidence and certainty.

In politics, perception is everything. There is no denying the Taoiseach is seen as lacking in leadership and vision at a time when people are crying out for political foresight and clear direction.

Moreover, the sight of politicians enjoying a late-night party at taxpayers’ expense is anathema to the 453,000 people who are out of work and fearful of what lies ahead.

With the dawning of the era of instant communication there is an onus on politicians to be ultra-conscious of the responsibility, respect and dignity that go hand-in-glove with high office. In that respect as in others, Mr Lenihan is already a skilled performer.


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