house of cards

"I hope you won’t get into trouble...": Here are the winners and losers from the political week

The McNulty omnishambles just wouldn’t go away, Big Phil’s Big Grilling failed to materialise, and a Tory minister landed himself in hot water – over a poem.

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.’

So here are our political winners and losers from the past seven days:

The 3 winners of the week are…

1. Phil Hogan (obviously)

Enda Kenny’s former political ‘bruiser’ had been promised a political bruising of his own by Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy and Independent ‘Ming’ Flanagan at his commissionership confirmation hearing in the EU Parliament on Thursday. However, said challenge failed to materialise — as the Fine Gael veteran delivered a deft smackdown to Carthy by reading out a congratulatory letter he received from Northern Ireland agriculture minister Michelle O’Neill…

2. Michael Noonan 

It’s been a good week for the old guard in the Blueshirts — Michael Noonan had another broadly positive set of exchequer figures to reveal, as we head into the Budget later this month. While the income tax and corporate tax figures were behind target for last month, the total tax revenue for the first nine months of 2014 is up nearly €2 billion on the same period last year.

The Finance Minister also put in a barnstorming performance at the FG parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday evening — doing his best to draw a line under The John McNulty Affair… It didn’t work, of course — but that’s not necessarily his fault.

Brian Lawless Brian Lawless

3. David Cameron

There were some positive poll results yesterday for the UK Prime Minister (and the fact that it’s still ‘the UK’ is a victory in its own right too, come to think of it). Cameron received a post party-conference bounce in a YouGov poll for The Sun, with the survey giving the Conservatives a one point lead over Ed Miliband and Labour. It’s the first time the Tories have been ahead in a YouGov poll for for over two years.

Dan Kitwood ... Cameron meets troops in Cyprus on Thursday Dan Kitwood ... Cameron meets troops in Cyprus on Thursday

… and the 3 losers of the week are…

1. Enda Kenny and Fine Gael 

The party tried to put an end to the John McNulty saga in the middle of the week, but further revelations over how the affair has been handled mean we can expect the controversy to feature once again on the front-pages of tomorrow’s Sunday newspapers. The opposition have accused the Taoiseach of contradicting himself in his account of how the Donegal businessman was appointed to the board of IMMA.

While we’re at it, the minister who appointed McNulty, Heather Humphreys, once again failed to cover herself in glory as she faced questions from the media.

Niall Carson Niall Carson

2. Flanagan and Carthy*

They didn’t get a chance to challenge Phil Hogan in front of their colleagues in the European Parliament — but there wasn’t really much they could do about it…

‘Big Phil’ was, seasoned observers noted, more than a little condescending in how he dealt with questions from the pair. But the format of Hogan’s hearing meant they weren’t given an opportunity to follow up on the issues they wanted to raise. Based purely on what happened in the chamber, the Fine Gael veteran came out of the encounter as a decisive winner.

Flanagan took to Twitter afterwards to voice his frustration at the resulting coverage…

3. Tory Minister Matthew Hancock

The Conservative minister shared a ‘poem’ on Twitter which suggested the Labour Party was “full of queers”. The Business Minister retweeted the lines on Thursday to coincide with ‘National Poetry Day’ in Britain. He apologised, of course, after the incident came to light, describing it as an “accident”.

Still, though… 

…and the one we can’t decide is…

John McNulty

People were beginning to feel sorry for the Donegal shop-owner and failed local election candidate as the controversy surrounding him gathered pace last week.

He asked TDs and senators – who make up the electorate for the Seanad by-election – not to vote for him on Tuesday, but it later transpired many Fine Gael members had already cast their ballots in his favour.

There were indications from the McNulty camp yesterday that he WOULD in fact take up his seat, if elected to the upper chamber… But, at this juncture, should he have stayed silent?

We can’t decide on this one. So what do you think? Is John McNulty a winner or a loser? 

Poll Results:

Loser (1108)
Winner (450)

*’Flanagan and Carthy’… An excellent name for a trad duo, don’t you think?

See all of our winners and losers from previous weeks > 

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