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
We took a lot of flak last week for making the Minister for Justice a winner out of the Gardagate events, but again we must stress that while there are huge issues surrounding him, he has once again weathered the storm of controversy and got the backing of both government parties in a confidence motion this week.
How long this lasts remains to be seen. Labour TDs are of the view that as long as the timeline of events, as put forward by Shatter and the Taoiseach, remains the same, then the Minister is safe. But even one Fine Gael TD said privately to us this week that one more controversy could spell the end of Shatter. All sides acknowledge the heat has gone out of the story in recent days. But for how long?
2. Michael Noonan
More good news for the Finance Minister this week as the latest exchequer returns showed the tax take up on what it was at the same time last year. The Minister is never one to show much emotion, but he seemed happy with “a good set of figures”:
3. Shane Ross
The independent TD has succeeded in his attempts to get the Public Accounts Committee to examine An Garda Siochána’s procurement of recording equipment in the hope that it will open up the whole Gardagate saga to the scrutiny of the Dáil’s public spending watchdog. The PAC’s success in unearthing quite a few scandals in recent months leads one to believe they may yet have a big role to play in the latest controversy. Though what chance that the government TDs might stop it in its tracks?
4. Bankrupts with political aspirations
The government has moved this week to change the law so that people who have been declared bankrupt can still run for elected office specifically the Dáil and European Parliament. The development follows the campaign by Jillian Godsil who has mounted a constitutional challenge to the current ban.
5. Bill Clinton
The former US president continues to have huge popularity ratings, even more so than his wife. But she’s the leader it would seem, as he replicated her famous ‘Texts from Hillary’ pic this week. Nice.
… and the 5 losers of the week are…
1. Alex White
The poor junior health minister can’t get the Irish Medical Organisation to return his calls about free GP care for under-6s:
2. Enda Kenny
Meanwhile, the poor Taoiseach can’t stop getting calls after he urged business leaders to “call me anytime” during his visit to the United States last month. It was a remark which he may now be regretting.
On Monday, the Irish Daily Star reported a conversation it had with Kenny after they took him up on his kind offer as it appears many people have done in recent weeks. “Christ, I’m getting phone calls from Adelaide and New Zealand and everywhere,” Kenny said only half jokingly on Thursday.
3. James Reilly
A second successive week in the losers column for the Health Minister unfortunately. Reilly’s problem is that as long as he is unable to give any indication of how much Universal Health Insurance or Reillycare will cost people, there will be ongoing doubts about the government’s ability to implement it. “I can’t predict what the cost is going to be,” he told us this week:
4. Fingal County Councillors
A small number of councillors in north Dublin have scuppered plans to allow over a million people Dublin to decide whether or not they want an elected mayor. Fingal council’s vote against a plebiscite this week was for a variety of reasons but principally, it seems, the fear that there had not been a proper debate on the topic. Lots of people have criticised the vote as denying the citizens of the capital their say. We agree.
5. Fianna Fáil senators
It will have escaped most people this week but the upper house has held a number of votes aimed at getting the Attorney General to come before it to explain her role in Gardagate.
The Seanad is allowed do this, but Fianna Fáil has tried four times and failed four times to pass such a vote. Undeterred, the party has committed to continue their attempts to haul the AG in every day the Seanad sits in the hope they can orchestrate a government defeat, something which we said recently was more likely given the slim coalition majority:
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