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'You're an embarrassment on television': 5 winners and 5 losers from the political week

You win some, you lose some…

What do you think Enda is saying to Michael D?
What do you think Enda is saying to Michael D?
Image: 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 winners and losers from the past seven days:

The 5 winners of the week are…

1. The government

It is a tough Budget for many but the government has so far, and is more than likely, going to get it through without any backbench defections, as happened in previous years. The extent of pre-Budget leaking meant Tuesday’s events were all pretty anodyne which is exactly what the coalition wanted.

2. Leo Varadkar

The Transport and Tourism Minister has had a good year with the success of The Gathering and his budget for next year is largely untouched. He’s also been boosted by the 9 per cent VAT rate being retained and the abolition of the air travel tax, which Ryanair says will mean thousands more visitors and lots more jobs. No wonder he was tweeting away:

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3. Michael Noonan

The Finance Minister has delivered unprecedented austerity in his past three Budgets but is thoroughly unflappable. Even when there are hints that Ireland’s corporate tax regime may be under pressure from Germany Noonan has been batting away concerns, telling us all to calm down.

“I don’t think we should get too upset about it yet,” he told journalists this week when asked about the coalition negotiations in Germany.

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4. Joan Burton

The Social Protection Minister managed to get her Budget adjustment significantly down from the mooted €440 million and even squeezed €5 million out of RTÉ while protecting the free TV licence. There’s some tough stuff in her budget cuts but Burton certainly handled questions about the scrapping of the bereavement grant a lot better than Cabinet colleague Brendan Howlin.

5. Fine Gael

The Department of Taoiseach ensured that Fine Gael’s €635,912.41 legal costs for the Moriarty Tribunal were paid out this week and it was all kept pretty quiet as a result of the Budget.

… and the 5 losers of the week are…

1. Brendan Howlin

The Public Expenditure and Reform Minister’s Budget speech was short on detail and stuffed full of rhetoric and blaming the previous government. People are a bit fed-up of this now.

2. James Reilly

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The Health Minister faces serious challenges in cutting €666 million from his budget next year and how the €113 million savings from ‘medical card probity’ will be achieved is far from clear. As well as this, the estimated €37 million cost of free GP care for those aged 5 and under will be a difficult target to meet given GPs’ unhappiness with the measure.

3. TDs’ public image

The “shouting and the roaring”, as Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett referred to it, is common place in the Dáil chamber but that doesn’t excuse it nor does it reflect particularly well on TDs when they are increasingly visible on Oireachtas TV and online:


4. The Reform Alliance

No one is quite certain what the Reform Alliance of Fine Gael rebels is up to , but there is a general consensus that it is the beginnings of a new political party, much as they would deny it. But that aim won’t be helped by their divided approach to the Budget. While Lucinda Creighton will be among those supporting it, it is almost certain that another RA member, Peter Mathews, will not.

5. The White House, Congress and the United States

So a deal was reached to reopen the US government and avoid a catastrophic default but US politicians have merely kicked the can down the road. The government will shutdown again in January if a more long-term solution isn’t found and default could follow in February.

Like politics? Then why not ‘Like’ TheJournal.ie’s Politics page?

WATCH: ‘You’re an embarrassment on television!’: Ceann Comhairle slams TDs amid angry Dáil exchanges

PICTURES: The winners and losers of Budget 2014

Damien Kiberd: Budget 2014 arithmetic not just iffy – it’s scary

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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