Kevin Doyle: 'Our TDs have earned a break before facing big challenges ahead'

The residents of Leinster House are easily distracted.

Our politicians obsess on the smallest things, often to the detriment of the greater good.

A newspaper headline, a daft tweet or even a rat in the bar has the potential to knock them completely off kilter.

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But as they head off on their holidays, the TDs and senators do deserve a small pat on the back for their work over the past few months.

They have managed to brand each other “priest-like” and “Trump-like” but still came together when it mattered.

One of the most significant pieces of legislation in recent history was passed by this Dáil last March when TDs pushed through the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union Act, commonly known as the Brexit Omnibus.

At times it was used as an excuse by the Government to drop other topics down the priority list. However, there’s no doubt it had to be passed to ensure we keep the show on the road if a hard Brexit hits at Halloween.

The Dáil also passed 33 other bills since January. It established a tribunal to hear cases regarding CervicalCheck, extended parental leave, set up citizens’ assemblies and just this week established a judicial council.

There were also long-overdue changes to how the State deals with domestic violence. And from the ‘lessons learned’ department, the creation of a ‘Rainy Day Fund’.

So before everybody starts bashing our politicians for their long holidays, let’s accept the past term has not been a ‘do-nothing Dáil’.

Some good has been achieved by a minority Fine Gael Government propped by a Fianna Fáil party that has overtaken them in the polls. It’s not all bad.

Having said that, there is plenty for our politicians to think about when they go back home to catch up on constituency work.

For a start, Leo Varadkar will be wondering why he can’t seem to get anything right these days.

It’s not that he’s acting any differently; it’s just that the longer you stay in office, the more problems mount up. And people have become less forgiving.

By the time they come back in September, Fine Gael TDs will hopefully have a clearer understanding of why people are bored with excuses on health spending, homeless figures and insurance reforms. The break is also an opportunity to get a handle on the beef crisis, broadband and pay demands.

For Fianna Fáil TDs, the recess will allow them time to plot the next course of action. Depending on what happens with Brexit in October, Micheál Martin will have a huge personal and political decision to make.

Fine Gael might be on the ropes but it is far from a beaten ticket. There is every likelihood a “time-out” will help it bounce back.

The past six months were busy but it was all just an appetiser for a hectic period of budget, Brexit and ballot boxes.

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