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Saturday 30 September 2023 Dublin: 12°C
# house of cards
Fishing rods, fizzy drinks and Gulfstream Jets: Winners and losers - and one for you to decide - from the political week
You win some, you lose some — and with the Cabinet back, it’s been a busy week in both categories.

EVERY WEEK, 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.’

The Cabinet was back on Wednesday, after a six-week summer break, so there were plenty of ministers out and about on duty.

Here are our political winners and losers from the past seven days — and a bonus one that we can’t decide on…

The winners of the week are…

1. Michael Noonan

The Finance Minister will be buoyed by this week’s exchequer figures, which show a deficit €1.3 billion ahead of plans. He was singing a positive, if cautious, tune in the wake of their release.

Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

2. Paschal Donohoe

He was in our ‘losers’ section last week — so consider this karma. Having repeatedly insisted he wasn’t going to involve himself directly in the dispute at Irish Rail, and that the LRC was the only place it could be settled — a solution was finally reached at that very forum. He’s now promising he’ll fight to keep funding for the company in place, as Budget negotiations begin.

3. Martin McGuinness 

The Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister had some serious things to say about the peace process at the weekend. He also filmed this bizarre Ice Bucket Challenge… We have no idea why the fishing rod was necessary. (Don’t forget to donate, etc.).

Fiachra McGuinness / YouTube

… and the losers of the week are…

1. Dublin City Council

Yes, all of them. The debate about what should be done at the historic 1916 site on Moore Street has been ongoing for years. On Monday, councillors decided to kick a decision on a controverial “land swap” deal at the site down the road for another month. If the museum project planned for the site does eventually go ahead, there’ll be an incredibly tight window between the deadline for completion and the 2016 celebrations.

[Dublin City Council]

2. Jan O’Sullivan

The recently-appointed Education Minister had a rough week, coming under criticism for her stance on fizzy drinks vending machines in schools. “Banning things can be difficult,” O’Sullivan said. She was being asked to respond to an alarming policy paper from doctors, warning that Ireland could soon top the European obesity table, unless something’s done to tackle the problem amongst children.

3. Ministers who enjoy a little extra legroom

The Government jet (at least, one of them) is out of commission. Should it be repaired? Should it be replaced? Whatever’s to be done, issues like this don’t do much to win over support for governments — even though many voters will grudgingly admit that we need efficient air transport for ministers, if we’re to be serious about selling ‘Ireland Inc.’ abroad.

… and the one we couldn’t decide on is…

Cathal King

Sinn Féin’s candidate to take over Brian Hayes’ vacant Dáil seat in Dublin South West initially ruled himself out of the race, saying the opportunity should go to a female nominee. He was selected to contest the by-election on Sunday, beating a fellow councillor, Máire Devine, at a local convention. The decision was criticised by women’s groups, including ‘Women for Election’.

[South Dublin County Council]

That said, King is considered a strong candidate — and has a good chance of taking the seat. So does the whole issue really amount to much more than a storm in a teacup?

Over to you….

Poll Results:

I've no strong opinion on this. (335)
They made the right choice. (205)
They should have selected a woman, as planned. (130)

See all of our winners and losers from previous weeks > 

Like politics? Then ‘Like’’s Politics page?

Will Enda Kenny do the ice bucket challenge? We asked…

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