EVERY WEEK, TheJournal.ie casts its eye over events inside and outside Leinster House that have got people talking.
As the saying goes: ‘You win some, you lose some.’
So here are our political winners and losers from the past seven days:
The 5 winners of the week are…
1. Colm Keaveney
When you think about the personal benefit to the Galway East TD it’s easy to see why he comes out of this week a winner. Denied of speaking rights, he should now have some. Denied a party apparatus with which to gain more prominence, he now has one.
Keaveney was, as he would probably admit himself, descending towards irrelevancy in independence, but he will now have a party machine behind the effort to retain his seat in just over two years time. A smart move.
2. Patrick O’Donovan
It’s more often the case that politicians are caught rapid by journalists, but in this case it was the TD catching out the civil servant as the Fine Gael deputy asked the question which arguably did the most damage to John O’Connor’s chances of becoming chairman of Eirgrid.
O’Donovan wanted to know if the former An Bord Pleanála chair would like to live next to an electricity pylon. The smart answer is “of course” or “it would be no problem”. Instead, O’Connor responded: “I wouldn’t like to live close to a pylon, but who would?”
A dreadful, albeit, honest answer that could well have torpedoed his prospects.
3. Brendan Griffin
TDs have to be mindful that they could be turfed out of the Dáil at any time which is why carving out an alternative career isn’t always a bad idea. Judging by the reception so far, Brendan Griffin may well have a career in novel writing ahead of him as he launched his debut book Secrets of a Moonlit River this week.
4. Aengus Ó Snodaigh
He meant ‘amazeballs’ but the Sinn Féin TD has coined the word ‘amazey-balls’ to the delight of amusement of everyone on Twitter and the confusion of everyone else in the Dáil chamber. The look on deputies’ faces was one of the better moments of the debate on the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill this week.
5. Ceann Comhairle
Not content with trying to get TDs to be less rowdy in the chamber, Seán Barrett also wants to stop the annoying habit of TDs and Senators leaving their phones on as they speak, resulting in dreadful mobile phone interference, which makes audio unusable for broadcasters and anyone who is watching proceedings in the Dáil or Seanad turn off.
… and the 5 losers of the week are…
1. Gerry Adams
The Sinn Féin leader’s response to the Smithwick Tribunal was poorly handled and he probably regrets using the words ‘laissez faire’ in relation to the two murdered RUC officers’ attitudes to their personal safety. But his attempt to clarify things in a further statement did not really atone for his initial remarks.
Politically, this has been another very damaging week for Adams and Sinn Féin, with Padraig MacLochlainn’s staunch defence, and talk of IRA members’ “duty” to carry out the killings, hampering things further.
2. Fianna Fáil
Does the main opposition party know what it’s got itself in for by accepting Colm Keaveney into the fold? An ardent critic of Fianna Fáil when he sat on the Labour benches, Keaveney has a lot of work to do to improve moral in Galway East which has undoubtedly been hit by parachuting him into the organisation.
3. The government
The Fiscal Advisory Council has delivered a slap down to government’s hopes of cutting taxes in the coming years, warning that there is little room for manoeuvre until after 2016. Other events this week have largely overshadowed this significant intervention by the government’s budgetary watchdog just days after the Tánaiste spoke about offering some relief for middle income earners.
4. Dinny McGinley
The resignation of the Irish Lanaguage Commissioner – “the worst blow to the Irish language” in many years, according to one expert – is bad news for the Gaeltacht Minister and the government’s overall agenda in relation to the Irish language.
Seán Ó Cuirreáin’s criticism of Irish language schemes and supports undermines McGinley’s strategy and he’ll have some explaining to do when a Dáil debate is held on the issue in the coming weeks.
5. The government’s PR people
We’re not sure whose idea it was to schedule as yet unknown events marking the bailout exit for Friday the 13th, but we’re pretty sure it’s not the best idea in the world. Let’s hope everything goes swimmingly.
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