Who is tak­ing care of the coun­try as FG try to spin their way out of cri­sis?

Bray People - - OPINION -

WE have seen many a po­lit­i­cal scan­dal in Ire­land but few match the cur­rent cat­a­clysm that has en­gulfed the Gov­ern­ment.

It will be months, or pos­si­bly years, be­fore we get some sem­blance of truth about what hap­pened and who was in­volved in the grotesque se­ries of events sur­round­ing the smear­ing of Mau­rice McCabe.

The con­tro­versy en­velop­ing the Gar­daí, Tusla, the HSE and the Gov­ern­ment has fre­quently been com­pared to the GUBU saga in the 1980s.

In re­al­ity it is far more se­ri­ous in­volv­ing, as it does, al­le­ga­tions that agents of three pow­er­ful State bod­ies may have been in­volved in a de­lib­er­ate at­tempt to de­stroy the rep­u­ta­tion of a cit­i­zen.

As such it has the po­ten­tial to put the MacArthur case in the shade and paint Haughey’s no­to­ri­ous ‘GUBU’ ad­min­is­tra­tion as models of ef­fi­cient gov­ern­ment by com­par­i­son with Mr Kenny’s cur­rent cab­i­net.

Given all that, it is en­tirely un­der­stand­able that the McCabe scan­dal is at the fore­front of peo­ple’s minds – politi­cians and the press – in Leinster House this week.

How­ever, amid all the jus­ti­fied out­rage we have to re­mem­ber that there is much more go­ing on in Ire­land right now than just the Garda/Tusla scan­dal.

Within weeks some 30,000 nurses and pos­si­bly 10,000 of their sup­port staff are likely to go on strike, launch­ing a work to rule that will add enor­mous pres­sure to an al­ready over­whelmed health ser­vice.

In ad­di­tion, it re­mains a dis­tinct pos­si­bil­ity that teach­ers in the ASTI will re­turn to the picket line, po­ten­tially forc­ing thousands of schools to shut their doors for a sec­ond time in 12 months.

Fur­ther to this there is the on­go­ing hous­ing and home­less­ness cri­sis; the loom­ing Brexit talks; po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty in North­ern Ire­land; the dec­i­ma­tion of ru­ral so­ci­eties and the surge in se­ri­ous crime in our cities.

With most se­nior politi­cians fo­cussed on the fall­out from the McCabe smear cam­paign – and the po­ten­tial for a snap elec­tion – how much at­ten­tion is be­ing paid to these crit­i­cal is­sues?

As well as re­as­sur­ing the peo­ple that the gar­daí, the HSE and Tusla can be trusted, the gov­ern­ment needs to let peo­ple know that there is a steady hand at the tiller in these deeply un­cer­tain times.

The peo­ple need and de­serve an­swers about the Garda scan­dal and Mau­rice McCabe and his fam­ily – who have en­dured a decade long night­mare – de­serve jus­tice.

At the same time, the peo­ple of Ire­land also need and de­serve to know that they have a fully func­tion­ing Gov­ern­ment, some­thing that has seemed lack­ing in re­cent days.

The McCabe scan­dal has rocked pub­lic con­fi­dence in the State and its agen­cies to the core. Con­fi­dence has to be re­stored and it has to be re­stored quickly.

A mo­tion of no con­fi­dence in a gov­ern­ment is one thing. A pub­lic with no con­fi­dence in their coun­try is quite an­other.

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