The dithering over the date of the next election in Ireland is not doing the country’s image any good.

According to opinion polls the current government represents about 17 per cent of the population were an election to be held now.

While it is understandable that they are not seeking an election because of what it will inevitably bring, the reality is that Ireland’s image abroad is at stake here.

The St. Patrick’s period is shortly coming up the one time in the calendar when there is a major focus on Ireland and all things Irish.

How much better would it be for the image of Ireland abroad to have a new government in place for that period, rather than a raft of stories about the old and discredited government desperately hanging on.

The idea of lame duck ministers criss-crossing the world trying to give an optimistic image of Ireland at a time when the country has come close to fallen apart is not a very good one.

The need for a new narrative about Ireland this St. Patrick’s Day has never been greater.

Instead we are likely to get warmed off leftovers with a government that is losing members to retirement every day as they see the writing on the wall.

But for the recent spate of good publicity surrounding the new Irish arts initiative in the United States there has hardly been a good word said about Ireland over the past few months.

The right time for an election is as soon as possible to change the narrative from a deathly failure to at least a new beginning.

Instead of clinging to power and hoping for some miracle that will not come this government could do the right thing and give the people of Ireland their day at the ballot box which they clearly crave