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. Diarmuid O’Flynn
The Ballyhea anti-bailout/bondholders campaigner has flitted in and out of the media over the last three years and there is always huge interest in him among foreign news outlets. But now he’s declared his intention to run for the European Parliament in Ireland South we’re likely to hear more from him and it will be interesting to see how he does. O’Flynn has a fighting chance with the field not exactly bursting with great candidates, but his big problem will be lack of resources.
2. Kenny Egan
Kenneth got the must-have photo-op with former heavyweight boxer Vitali Klitschko at the European People’s Party congress in Dublin during the week:
3. Stephen Donnelly
The independent TD consistently brings forward sensible proposals when it is his turn at private members’ time and this week he tabled legislation informally called the ‘Anti-Pantigate Bill’ which is aimed at changing a few words in the Broadcast Act in a bid to avoid a repeat of the recent issues surrounding comments by the drag queen Rory O’Neill on RTÉ and subsequent legal issues with Iona. The minister in charge, Pat Rabbitte, has already said he will look at this is. Now Donnelly has presented him the chance to do it straight away.
4. Enda Kenny
The Taoiseach is in his element when he’s among famous and important people and this week there was loads of that. On Tuesday, after telling us all what a great job his government has been doing over the past three years, he welcomed Bill Clinton to Government Buildings. Then it was off to Brussels for an emergency meeting on Crimea, before back to Dublin to be among Bono and Angela Merkel and loads more big name in European politics.
5. Charlie Flanagan
Amid the uproar about the government devoting almost all of the Dáil week to saying how well it has been doing over the last three years (more of which below), there was the odd interesting contribution including from the Fine Gael chairman. He set out a series of proposals, with you can read in this column, that make a lot of sense including establishing a parliamentary legal advisor and having a more independent Ceann Comhairle.
… and the 5 losers of the week are…
1. The Dáil
“Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss,” one backbencher told us this week, quoting that famous line from Ferris Bueller to justify the three days of government backslapping in the Dáil chamber. A succession of government ministers came in and said how great they were while others were more sceptical, and x-rated:
The government’s strategising was clear from leaked emails we saw this week which outlined how ‘anxious’ the Taoiseach was that backbenchers come and in speak even though very few actually got a chance in the end because of how the business was ordered. A mess.
2. Richard Boyd-Barrett
While the spirit of the left-wing deputy’s passionate outburst was fair enough, his use of language was not. Especially when there were kids in the public gallery:
3. James Reilly
Unfortunately, the Health Minister returns to the losers column this week. His plans for universal health insurance (UHI) are ambitious and are supposedly set out in a White Paper which will be put out to consultation.
The only problem is that such a document sounds distinctly like a Green Paper. White Papers usually precede legislation and while there’s no doubt the government is looking to legislate in this area, it’s attempts to define UHI as being at White Paper stage are off the mark. There is still much work to be done.
4. Gerry Adams
The Sinn Féin leader is fooling no-one if he thinks we’ll believe that he didn’t actually forget the name of the Minister for Communications. To be fair, it was one of the lighter moments in the Dáil this week:
5. David Cooney
A respected and long-serving civil servant, Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary General David Cooney did not have a good final appearance before the Public Accounts Committee this week where he got into a rather heated back and forth with the Labour TD Derek Nolan.
Cooney seemed genuinely put out by reasonable questions from Nolan and bristled at the sense of impropriety about allowances for diplomats. PAC chair John McGuinness was right to tell the mandarin at the end of the hearing that he had sold himself short when it came to justifying the expenditure.
Pics: Niall Carson/PA and Kenneth Egan/Twitter
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