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. Alan Shatter
Politically, you might characterise the garda whistleblower saga as a war between the Justice Minister and the opposition parties and this week it was Shatter who won this battle. He methodically and comprehensively batted away the allegations and claims surrounding him in a lengthy Dáil statement on Wednesday.
Not everything is resolved and there is of course the looming possibility of a full commission of inquiry, but Shatter, who was seemingly against the ropes seven days ago with his position in danger, is safe. For now.
2. Mick Wallace
The Wexford TD is in our good books for the second consecutive week after he brought passion, anger and emotion to the Dáil chamber. Wallace is clearly deeply frustrated with having been ignored and dismissed throughout the many months he has been raising the garda whistleblower’s allegations.
Having been vindicated to some degree in the past fortnight, Wallace’s meandering speech covered everything from the issue itself to the wider picture of garda inaction which has left some families, such as those of Fr Niall Molloy, frustrated and angry. Then he hit out at Shatter in a heated finale:
3. Joan Collins
The People Before Profit/United Left TD may have failed in her attempt to prove the promissory note deal was unconstitutional, but the High Court did rule in her favour when it came to costs this week, awarding her 75 per cent of the legal fees she incurred in the challenge. “It wasn’t a personal thing I was doing, it was in the interest of citizens,” she said and we’ve a lot of respect for that.
4. Mary Lou McDonald
The Public Accounts Committee spent nearly seven hours grilling executives from the Rehab Group this week but it was all about the first hour when Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald put Angela Kerins through the ringer. Her forensic questioning and a no-nonsense style left one committee member lamenting the fact McDonald had taken “all the good stuff” by the time she finished:
5. Simon Harris
The youngest TD in the Dáil will tout himself as ‘Leinster’s MEP candidate’ as he became Fine Gael’s third candidate in the expanded, four-seat Ireland South constituency this week, primarily on the basis that he can attract voters along the east coast. Fine Gael’s three candidate strategy has deterred many from seeking the nomination but the way we see it Harris stands to win in a number of ways.
He can either get elected as an MEP or mop up the votes to allow Fine Gael’s other two candidates to get elected and earns kudos for such a selfless and thankless task that will put him in an even better standing with the party leadership.
… and the 5 losers of the week are…
1. Fianna Fáil
Having raised some serious questions and gained some not inconsiderable credibility on the garda whistleblower issue last week, Fianna Fáil could do nothing about the coalition resorting to its fail-safe tactic of referring back to when the Micheál Martin and co were in government this week.
Alan Shatter’s revelation that his predecessor Dermot Ahern was made aware of some of Maurice McCabe’s grievances five years ago left FF struggling to come up with any sort of credible response this week. Martin may have been accurate in the assessment of Shatter’s “snide, frequently partisan and dismissive” attitude but his party hasn’t had its best week.
2. Micheál Martin
Aside from his troubles in Leinster House these past few days, the Fianna Fáil leader has a few problems brewing in his own patch. Padraic Vallely, who was selected by grassroots members to run in the local elections in Ballincollig-Carrigaline, withdrew his candidacy after HQ added Mary Rose Desmond to the ticket.
That Desmond works in Martin’s Cork South Centralc onstituency office is a bit of problem and seems to jar with Martin’s previous praise for his own initiative to introduce one member-one vote and allow local members to determine local candidates.
3. The government
The coalition parties couldn’t prevent another defeat in the Seanad this week on the issue of upward only rent reviews. It’s our view that this could and probably will happen again in the coming months unless the government gets its ducks in a row and listens to some of the grievances of senators on all sides.
4. Ronan McMahon
This week we brought you the story of the ‘Fine Gael’ candidate who isn’t really a Fine Gael candidate with McMahon’s leaflets causing some confusion for voters in the leafy suburbs of Templeogue and Terenure. Saying you’re ‘Independent Fine Gael’ when there is no such thing isn’t the best campaign strategy.
5. The Tories
The Conservative Party is trying to rebrand itself as the ‘Workers’ Party’ in an attempt to appeal to working class voters in the UK who are traditionally solid and unconditional Labour supporters. Such attempts are interesting and indeed provoked plenty of debate across the water but the Tories’ latest move, with an eye to next year’s election, is unlikely to convince many.
Like politics? Then why not ‘Like’ TheJournal.ie’s Politics page?