Cathy Lee looks at the potential candidates to take over the reigns of a government that has had its fair share of downfalls.
The word “crisis” seems to be attached to the majority of issues left in the responsibility of the current government. When the Fine Gael came into power, of course we had the backdrop of the financial “crisis”. And sure, we did our best and made the tough budgeting decisions in order to live the high life of “recovery”.
But then 2016 happened.
There was a general election held about this time last year. That ended in crisis. It was months before a Government was formed and the electorate had to sit idly by while the decision makers got all their ducks in a row and decided that yes, maybe they could get along for the sake of things.
Since then, we’ve had the trolley ‘crisis’, the homeless ‘crisis’ and many more to go along with that. I feel when a word is over-used it loses its true meaning. These individual crises affected thousands of citizens and caused heartache for countless families. Somewhere along the line, each department involved has to take responsibility for this, as does the Government as a whole.
As it stands today, a recent RTE opinion poll revealed that Fianna Fáil has more support than Fine Gael. Maybe this is to do with the whole ‘crisis’ buzz word attached to the political party. Last year, when the general election results came in and support for Fianna Fáil shot up, with them winning a large amount of seats, I was completely shocked. Maybe that should have been a hint to the unexpected nature of politics in 2016, but nevertheless, we got through it as national politics took a new but yet somewhat familiar face.
By familiar, I mean the position of Fianna Fáil. Let me just explain that all I’ve grown up with is Fianna Fáil-led Governments and various infamous TD’s. 'Who is the Taoiseach?' was an important question of the time. Due to the evil portrayal of Bernie Ahern in response to the economic climate, followed by the nearly worse vision of despair that was Brian Cowen, each of these big players came with scandals attached. These memories I have from my younger years really don’t bear thinking about for too long.
Compared to this time of ultimate failure and carelessness, Fine Gael’s tenure hasn’t been all bad. Who can forget the celebrations of the Marriage Equality result? That was something wonderful for this country but something so great does not give the Government permission to sweep all the other ‘crises’ under the carpet.
The bigger issue is that, in a complete and utter changing of times, both in terms of technology advantages and political idiocy overseas, we need a government to believe in, one willing to change with it, to represent what people believe in and stand for just that.
Is that too much to ask of our elected representatives?
The question over the role of Taoiseach comes to the forefront again. Who will be the next leader of Fine Gael and the leading party in Government, if not Enda Kenny? Well, let me put it to you this way; it doesn’t matter who the face will be. The reason for this being, the united front that is Fine Gael are known to show near total support within their own party. Once a decision is formed, it’s an all-party decision. So in my view, regardless of who are Taoiseach is, the Fine Gael way of doing things is unlikely to change.
When we think of potential leaders, of course the big names within Fine Gael come to mind; Leo Varadkar, Simon Coveney, Simon Harris and Frances Fitzgerald. Who can handle the role and replace Enda from this selection? It’s hard to say. Each of these ministers varies in public support but I can say they’re popular within the party and that’s what really matters here.
Good luck to whoever becomes the next Taoiseach, that we’re expected to come to know after the celebrations of Saint Patrick’s Day stateside – maybe we’ll even have another crisis on our hands then? The very best to whoever has to fill the shoes of the Mayo man and take over the ‘crisis’ filled Government.