Look be­fore you leap into an elec­tion, Leo

Irish Independent - - Letters & Editorial Comment -

THERE is al­ways a fine line be­tween be­ing sure and be­ing cocky, and Taoiseach Leo Varad­kar may have stepped over the thresh­old by telling his party to get set for an elec­tion. True, there has been a gen­eral gid­di­ness in Le­in­ster House in the af­ter­math of the ref­er­en­dum re­sult. But Mr Varad­kar should think care­fully. Ar­ro­gance tends to be blind to stum­bling blocks, and there are plenty.

To­day’s rev­e­la­tions about the 30,000 “phan­tom hous­ing” fig­ure should give some pause for thought. Eoghan Mur­phy is cut­ting an in­creas­ingly im­prob­a­ble fig­ure tout­ing his suc­cess as the ground crum­bles around his feet.

New fig­ures show the num­bers for new builds are over­es­ti­mated by 25pc, or al­most 5,000 a year. A year in of­fice, and the slow de­liv­ery of homes by the Hous­ing Min­is­ter rep­re­sents a black mark against the Gov­ern­ment.

An­other ma­jor fail­ure for Mr Varad­kar is the dis­mal per­for­mance on health. The num­ber of peo­ple on wait­ing lists to be treated – or seen by a doc­tor – now stands at over 707,000, the high­est ever recorded.

Yes­ter­day the Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee also learned that the num­ber of women af­fected by the cer­vi­cal screen­ing scan­dal is likely to in­crease sig­nif­i­cantly. The orig­i­nal num­ber of 209 will rise by 46.

Con­cen­trat­ing on the enor­mous chal­lenges to hand might serve the Gov­ern­ment bet­ter with­out get­ting ahead of it­self. With so much on its plate a de­gree of sober dis­ci­pline, not po­lit­i­cal self-in­dul­gence, would be pru­dent.

Mr Varad­kar is al­most goad­ing the Op­po­si­tion into a no con­fi­dence mo­tion. Yield­ing to any grandiose im­pulse of cap­i­tal­is­ing on pop­u­lar­ity might look at­trac­tive at a glance. One only has to look across the wa­ter at Theresa May to see how elec­torates re­ward those who take them for granted.

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