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'This country’s gone wild with exaggeration': 6 winners and 5 losers from the political week

You win some, you lose some…

Who's hand is Enda reaching for?
Who's hand is Enda reaching for?
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 political winners and losers from the past seven days:

The 6 winners of the week are…

1. The government

There’s no doubt this has been a good week for the coalition as it made the decision to exit the bailout without a back-up credit line.

It’s a bold choice, that may yet prove to be the wrong one, but for the time being ministers can enjoy the plaudits that come with “regaining our sovereignty”. Not that the bailout exit changes things on a practical level for those struggling with debt, the cost of living and unemployment.

2. Michael Noonan

The Finance Minister continues to dazzle and do no wrong as Cabinet agreed with his assessment that we don’t need a backstop and can make a clean exit from the programme. He was then only too delighted to go on TV, radio and everywhere else to tell people about the good news.

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Noonan is a shrewd operator. He doesn’t do many set piece interviews, opting only to go on the Six-One News or other outlets when he has something tangible to announce as was the case this week.

3. Michael McGrath

In contrast to his party leader (more below), Fianna Fáil’s finance spokesperson set out a reasonable argument that the government did the wrong thing in deciding not to take a precautionary credit line.

“We believe the country does need to have a lifejacket as we enter what could be potentially quite choppy waters over the next six or nine months,” McGrath said this week.

It was a nice line that summed-up a valid view on the government’s chosen course, all of which isn’t easy when you’re the party that played a large part in our bailout predicament in the first place.

4. Stephen Donnelly, Mary Lou McDonald and Seán Fleming

These three TDs led a cross-party charge to get the government to withdraw its amendment to the Freedom of Information bill that would have made many requests more expensive.

And for once, their arguments worked as Brendan Howlin temporarily withdrew the amendment.

5. Oisín Quinn

The Dublin Lord Mayor sailed into this week’s winners by rushing to the aid of a fainting fireman at an event on Monday. He also had the humility to joke that it was the “hot air” generated from his speech that may have caused the incident.

And look, Mayor Quinn rocks a Christmas jumper pretty well too:

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Our hero.

6. TDs and Senators

They’re not afraid to let their hair down and look a bit daft as the Oireachtas Fashion Show, all in aid of good causes, took place this week.

The pictures are hilarious. Here’s Richard Bruton, in a lovely Labour red tie, having a great time altogether:

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… and the 5 losers of the week are…

1. Pat Rabbitte

The Communications Minister really doesn’t do himself any favours when he dismisses genuine concerns with smart remarks. “This country has gone wild with exaggeration,” he said of the outcry about the FOI bill.

The Minister indicated the media were abusing FOI by “trawling for ‘something that might turn up and it will keep us in business’”.

In fact, this is information which we (including us in the media), as taxpayers, are entitled to and that we have to pay anything towards it in the first place is, frankly, a nonsense.

image2. Brendan Howlin

Similarly, Rabbitte’s Labour colleague did not have a good week in first doing some dismissing of his own by describing the €15 fee for FOI requests as a “token charge”, before he was forced to backtrack.

3. Micheál Martin

The Fianna Fáil leader gave a really botched response to the government announcement about the bailout exit in the Dáil on Thursday.

In contrast to his finance spokesperson later in the day, Martin look flustered by the whole affair and spent just as much time complaining about the way in which it was announced as he did about the substance of the decision.

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This from the man who was part of a government that for days, if not weeks, kept the Irish people in the dark about the fact the EU and the IMF were in town to begin bailout negotiations three years ago.

4. Rob Ford

Last week it was crack cocaine and alcohol, this week it was oral sex as the embarrassment that is Rob Ford continues.

The Toronto mayor made his latest comments whilst wearing the jersey of his favourite team, the Argonauts.

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But even the team wouldn’t throw its support behind him, saying in a statement: : “These latest
remarks, while wearing our team’s jersey, are particularly disappointing.”

Unless he resigns soon, we’ve a feeling Ford will be a regular feature here in the coming weeks.

5. Enda Kenny

Ah poor Enda. It’s been a good week for our dear leader for the most part given the bailout and all that.

But not knowing the chorus of Ding Dong Merrily on High really is unforgivable:

imagePics: PA, Photocall Ireland, RTÉ

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Read: ‘A gross error of judgement’: Labour senator has “no confidence” in Rabbitte after Eirgrid appointment

Read: 5 reasons why the government decided to exit the bailout and go it alone

TD: Indian-born doctors are being used as a ‘band-aid’ in Irish hospitals

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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