Patience is a virtue in government talks


Sir, – I am prompted to write this by recent commentary suggesting that disagreements between parties discussing a possible programme for government are emerging and that public patience with the pace of progress is waning (Pat Leahy, “Bickering wears down patience as government talks crawl forwards”, Opinion & Analysis, May 30th).

Perhaps this is the case and, if so, would it not be understandable on many levels? Our default desire to move forward often meets delay with harsh criticism.

However, any perceived delay may be a sign of the scale of the seismic shift under way and will serve us well in the years ahead. Perhaps patience, evident in abundance in our pandemic response, for both our politicians and with each other is a quality we should retain through this process.

We need to be patient with our politicians, recognising the journey they are on. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are considering entering government on a transformative agenda significantly set by the Green Party, which could pivot Ireland from being a laggard to leadership on climate change.

In this context, it may be encouraging to hear of disagreements emerging. They could be a sign that concerns are being communicated and commitments are being entered into.

Perhaps what is being called for most is the patience to provide the room for a new possibility to emerge. What a possibility that could be! It could be one of a new Ireland, imagined from a collective vision of the type of country and society we would wish to create.

What might be our place in this at this time? Perhaps to recognise our part in the process, to be considerate in our communications and conscious in conversations. All the while recognising that on the cusp of any new possibility emerging may be the darkest hour when the pull in opposite directions is greatest, where possibility is finely balanced with past ways.

In such times our patience and consciousness are needed most.

Imagine, though, what through “coming together” we might create. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 15.