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'You’re not from Galway at all': 5 winners and 5 losers from the political week

You win some, you lose some…

The Tánaiste and Taoiseach in Abbotstown this week where they outlined the government's new construction strategy.
The Tánaiste and Taoiseach in Abbotstown this week where they outlined the government's new construction strategy.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

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. Dan Neville

The veteran Limerick TD was elected Fine Gael parliamentary party chairman this week in a victory for backbenchers (more of which below) over the leadership. Waterford deputy Paudie Coffey had been the leadership’s choice and the likely winner of the contest, but it was Neville who came out on top.

He is well-liked and respected within the parliamentary party but will have a different style of chairmanship to Charlie Flanagan who was outspoken and prominent over the last three years.

dan deville It's not always been good news for Dan Neville. Last year he was wrongly captioned Dan 'Deville' on Oireachtas TV leading to this inspired 101 Dalmatians photoshop. Source: Nicky Ryan/Twitter

2. The Fine Gael five-a-side 

The election of Neville was a victory of sorts for the group of around 10 backbench Fine Gael TDs who have been outspoken on issues such as the need to continue austerity over the last three years. The group, featuring the likes of Eoghan Murphy, Brendan Griffin, Anthony Lawlor and Seán Conlan among others, is believed to have helped orchestrate a victory for Neville.

TheJournal.ie‘s report on Wednesday morning, which said that Coffey was the likely winner, did, we understand, hasten efforts to get Neville elected instead as more than a few deputies, not just the five-a-side, were put out by the leadership’s efforts to make Coffey’s election a fait accompli. Neville’s success and that of Conlan getting on the party’s national executive have been small, internal, but significant victories for the five-a-side who are not afraid to challenge Enda Kenny on issues like the party whip.

3. Michael Noonan 

The Finance Minister got to meet Donald ‘The Donald’ Trump this week. He even got a bit of advice from the outgoing billionaire:

Source: Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Every finance minister’s dream.

4. Asylum seekers 

There’s something very odd about the array of rights that people in direct provision in this country are denied yet they are allowed to vote in the elections next week. That said they were being denied the opportunity to hear from candidates until campaigners secured an important victory this week although it is, as the Immigrant Council says, only a first step.

5. Gerry Adams 

Having spent the previous week and the week before that dealing with being arrested by the PSNI and the fallout, the Sinn Féin president was able to turn things around this week and focus on the election, largely avoiding questions about his arrest. That’s not to say the past wasn’t raised again as new claims about the case against his brother Liam emerged only for Adams to flatly deny them and even go as far as taking legal action against the papers that printed the allegations.

… and the 5 losers of the week are…

1. Mary Lou McDonald and Sinn Féin  

The Sinn Féin deputy leader’s seemingly explosive claim that the Taoiseach held a previously undisclosed meeting with Alan Shatter two days before Martin Callinan resigned as Garda Commissioner was badly undermined just minutes after she raised it when the Taoiseach’s spokesperson confirmed a clerical error meant an incorrect diary entry.

Taoiseach s diary Pg 1-page-001 Source: FOI/Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin had been busy teeing-up the new claims by informing journalists to keep an eye on Leaders’ Questions on Thursday. But this was a 20-minute controversy that has done little damage to the government other than to underline the need for more clarity on the events surrounding Callinan’s departure.

2. Brian Purcell

We make it five times that the Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has been asked to express confidence in her secretary general and five times she has failed to answer in the affirmative. It’s a reasonable argument, coming from government, that she is only in the job a wet week, but there’s no doubt that Purcell’s role is under scrutiny in the wake of the various controversies that have hit the Department of Justice this year. Will he survive?

3. James Reilly

screenshot.1400234434.78790 Source: www.thejournal.ie

The poor health minister was subjected to rumours that he was about to resign last week before Alan Shatter did. Though he channelled Mark Twain in batting away the speculation he didn’t have a great week having been heckled by protesters at Roscommon Hospital on Monday and the subject of new claims about him granting funding to his constituency against the advice of civil servants. With Shatter gone the focus may now switch to the other under-fire minister.

4. Peter Mathews

Efforts to get the outspoken former Fine Gael TD onto the banking inquiry failed this week leaving opposition politicians criticising the government for ignoring his self-proclaimed banking expertise. Chief among them was Fianna Fáil whose finance spokesperson Michael McGrath was effusive in his praise of Mathews. While he’s a loser this week, is it only a matter of time before the Dublin South deputy joins Fianna Fáil?

5. Enda Kenny 

How does the Taoiseach deal with critics? He questions their heritage and asks them where they’re from. Bizarre stuff from the leader this week:


Like politics? Then ‘Like’ TheJournal.ie’s Politics page?

Read: Standing beside Eamon Gilmore, Phil Prendergast says she still wants him to resign

On the canvass: ‘Ah yeah, I probably will’: Fianna Fáil looks for votes at Dublin’s most competitive Luas stop

On the canvass: Whatever about the candidates – can you trust the voters?… On the trail in Tipp

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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