In a political world of superficial soundbites and self-aggrandising short-termism, it may not arouse the passions like the ‘back pocket’ issues of budget day, but the importance of what policy wonks call ‘good governance’ goes far beyond ensuring politicians don’t lose the run of themselves with their expense accounts. And it’s not just because ‘Paddy likes to know the story’, as an Taoiseach put it!
Poor planning, regulatory failure, auction politics, weak leadership, have combined to undermine the institutions of the State and to push Ireland to the brink – and beyond – of economic catastrophe for the second time in a generation.
As a result, the people have lost trust in political parties and public institutions. And, while the majority once looked to the EU for salvation – solidarity, structural funds and progressive social legislation – now they see a more transactional relationship. It’s akin to being trapped in a bad marriage for the sake of the kids. Politically, this is manifested in the rise of Sinn Féin as well as populist independents who have zero real interest in governing the country.