Last weekend, during a family video chat, one of my daughters said something that I have not been able to get out of my head.
While we are in Ireland, my parents are in the US, and one of our daughters is in Scotland. And as you might imagine, Covid-19 was a sizeable portion of the conversation. And while Irish news tends to only be a blip on the radar in the US and the UK, in Ireland both American and British news are consumed regularly. In general, people here are as aware of what is going on in the countries to our east and west as they are to what is going on in Ireland.
The consensus on our call was that Ireland’s government, even though it is a caretaker government, has handled the pandemic response more effectively and consistently than our neighbours. While US and UK policy have tended to swing from one extreme to another.
Now, my kids would not be fans of Ireland’s current Fine Gael leadership. In fact, the reason my one daughters lives in Scotland is that she could not afford to live on her own in Dublin due to the housing crisis that has gone from bad to worse under this same government.
However, it addition to discussing how this government, and its Taoiseach and Tánaiste, have lead through the current crisis, we talked about how well they handled the Brexit negotiations. In nearly every dealing with the UK, it was the Irish leaders who looked like the adults in the room.
So here is the part of the conversation I keep going back to. After talking about how well they have handled the crises of Brexit and Covid-19, my daughter said (paraphrasing), “If only they would have acted like the housing crisis was also a crisis.” And she is 100% right they didn’t. And they paid a huge price in the last election because of it…and one of our kids, like so many others, have had to leave Ireland because of their inaction.
I’ve thought about this comment a lot as a political lesson…but also as a personal lesson. Most of us are good at dealing with certain issues but tend to have blind spots for others.
What are the things in our sphere that perhaps we don’t think are that big of a deal, but those around us keep pointing to and saying “if you don’t deal with this, it’s not going to end well”?
Like political parties, we sometimes have difficulty listening to people who are on the “other side of the aisle.” And rather than listening and learning, we get defensive.
I guess my big question from that conversation is how do we ensure…as much as we can…that we do not fail to notice a potential crisis before it actually becomes one?
the photo is of Leinster House…it is also not a recent photo as it is more than 2 km from my house.