Government buildings at Leinster House.

Mayo View: Probably the unluckiest government in the history of the State?

AS the government enters its final year in office, it is an accepted fact that a great deal of its performance has been impacted to a significant degree by the Covid-19 pandemic and its after effects.

The years 2020 and 2021 were not normal times and they changed the political and social dynamic in this country to unprecedented levels.

And when you add into the equation the impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the country's response to the war by providing a safe haven to thousands of Ukrainians, the current government's term in office to date has been dominated by a scale of crisis management that has not been witnessed for many decades, if ever.

Despite its efforts to deal with these gigantic issues, it still had to deal with its normal course of business at a time when problems in respect of housing, health service provision, cost of living and law and order had escalated out of control. It's been a torrid time for the Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Green Party alliance.

And it's been no wonder that the main opposition party, Sinn Féin, has been thriving in the opinion polls, albeit having slipped somewhat since the turn of the year.

If truth be told, the party has arguably a higher rating than the polls have been revealing, such has been the litany of setbacks.

The next election is there to be won by Sinn Féin and they will only have themselves to blame if they let it slip from here.

Surely they won't.

In fact, it's already being said around Leinster House that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil would welcome a term on the Opposition benches after four to five years of proverbial hell when everything that could go wrong did - and much of it out of their control.

History will ultimately judge this government on how well it responded and managed the crises that hit it firmly in the face.

And that's why an inquiry - and not a big expensive one - into its handling of the Covid pandemic is so important and a decision on the matter needs to be made fairly swiftly.

As recently as January 24 last, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said ‘the no-blame evaluation’, as he called it, will include a review of the whole-of-government response to the pandemic and "how we might do better and be in a stronger position if another pandemic or other similar event were to occur."

It will include a consideration of the health service response, covering hospitals, the community and nursing homes, along with the wider economic and social response.

The review, he stated, should be undertaken by those independent of the national response and with relevant expertise. He intends to bring the terms of reference to government shortly.

Not only will the inquiry provide an insight which the public needs to know, it will also, one hopes, shine a light on the many conspiracy theories that flourished during the pandemic.

And that would not be a bad thing at all.