independent

Saturday 21 September 2019

Political system needs to attract new working mindset

DEBORAH COLEMAN

ACOLLEAGUE asked me this week ' who would get into politics these days?' and I have to say I found myself in agreement. After all, from this position where running commentary and getting a sense of the public's view on the state of the nation pays our wages, it seems the most unappealing and daunting line of work to be in.

Listening to a radio debate following the announcement of Mary Harney's resignation in recent days it struck me that for every commentator who ripped her contribution as Minister for Health to shreds there were others who remembered an initial brave and driven young woman who stood out for the crowd at a time where women and politics were still unfamiliar bedfellows.

It got me thinking of why people actually put themselves forward to represent their communities. Surely given the vast amount of corrupt and arrogant politicians that we have tolerated in recent years there must be some out there who are genuine and are there for the 'right' reasons.

Considering they work for their communities perhaps it would be easier to separate the wheat from the chaff if Dáil deputies were awarded the salary of any public service worker.

If the flash cars, more than generous expenses accounts, five star junkets and all the other perks that come with political life were suddenly taken away would the role seem so appealing?

Just how many people would see the contribution they could make to their country as a precious enough reward?

Here begs the question-Are good people turned by the glamour of the high life? Who of us would find it so easy to turn down all the perks that were so readily available especially during the boom years?

Could it be that the political system in Ireland, such as it is at present, has evolved into a greedy and shameful mess over time and dragged down good politicians along the way-or was it always like this and now that the people of Ireland are dragged down it we have wised up?

It remains to be seen whether enough of a shakeup will be given to the current system and if the newly elected Government will display the integrity and dignity needed to turn around the world's view of Ireland as a laughing stock.

While I wonder why anyone would stand for election at this time I have to admit I hold a certain amount of admiration for them as they put themselves out there before one and all and are willing to act rather than talk.

Let's just hope that once elected these politicians aren't like lambs to the slaughter and can set themselves apart from the other wolves in the pack.

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