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Editor's Viewpoint

Anger at Irish government should serve as a warning to all politicians that the electorate wields ultimate power

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Taoiseach Micheal Martin

Taoiseach Micheal Martin

PA

Taoiseach Micheal Martin

It is a convention that new political leaders are given 100 days before their performance is evaluated in the media.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin may be lucky to see out that period of time unless the Republic's coalition government raises its game enormously.

Mr Martin has lost two Agriculture Ministers in a remarkably short period of time - the latest resigning due his attendance at a golfing event in Galway which was found to be in breach of coronavirus restrictions. Another politician also resigned and two other figures, an EU Commissioner and a Supreme Court judge have come under pressure due to their presence at the event.

This is the latest blow to the coalition government which had seen Fine Gael and Fianna Fail bury their century old enmity of each other to hold on to the levers of power in alliance with the Green Party which faced leadership problems as the government was being formed.

Seldom has there been such an outpouring of anger from the electorate and it remains to be seen if the speedy resignations can cool the atmosphere. Sinn Fein, seen by many as a government in waiting, has been quick to jump on the bandwagon.

However, voters are not stupid and will have noted that party President Mary Lou McDonald and Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill simply brazened out allegations that they breached guidelines on curbing coronavirus by attending the funeral of veteran IRA man Bobby Storey.

Indeed it is a characteristic of Irish politics on both sides of the border that politicians normally don't resign unless dragged squealing from their shabby seats of power. Can anyone remember the last Northern Ireland politician to go voluntarily over some breach of regulations or policy?

Perhaps the outcry in the Republic should be heeded by all politicians. The electorate now realises that it wields ultimate power and will not tolerate being treated as of little consequence when it comes to standards in public life.

Belfast Telegraph