Look before you leap into an election, Leo
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.