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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cowen’s last throw of the dice changes very little

Well the reshuffle is over and it seems that Mary Coughlan the minister who doesn’t know her Einstein from her Darwin is now my boss. She’s well known for her earthy language but she’ll need all her communication skills to win teachers over. She’s effectively swapped places with Batt O’Keeffe. Otherwise it’s all change, if only for the departmental letterheads. There’s plenty of new departmental stationary contracts on offer as FF & the greens kick start job creation by changing departmental titles but otherwise it’s the same old Mary Harney, Micheal Martin, Dermot Ahern, Eamon Ó Cuiv and Noel Dempsey. Hell some of these people are around longer than the Rosslare Waterford railway! Mind you at least the railway’s worth holding on to.
There’s no sign of accountability in this reshuffle for the HSE shambles nor e-voting machines. I remember meeting Pat Carey when I canvassed for Roisin Shortall. He is a genuine man who worked hard in Finglas. I wish him well and hope he can bring to the Gaeltacht and communities the clear and caring approach he took to dealing with drugs as Junior a few years ago. I think if you represent an urban area that suffers this scourge that you’re better placed to tackle this menace as Pat Rabbitte did many years back.

I’m pleased that Séan Connick has been appointed as a Junior Minister for Marine. He’s the 3rd FF Junior minister for Marine from Wexford in 10 years. What is about FF leaders that they associate Wexford with fish and ships? By all accounts Séan is a very promising and straight forward TD. On Drivetime Mary Wilson asked him if he had a vision to which he replied “No”, and then he corrected himself to say “Yes, but I’m not going to tell you over the phone”.
I’m pleased that someone as committed to rail transport like Ciaran Cuffe is now in charge at Transport. Given his strong opposition to rail closures it’ll boost the campaign to see the Rosslare Waterford line being retained and developed. By this I’ll judge both him and Minister Connick. The greens are surely unique internationally in having 83% of their Dail party serving as minister while the luckless Paul Gogarty has the comfort blanket of being chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Education. If only the greens could organise the National Lottery, we’d all win the jackpot every 5 years! Throw in 4 senators hand picked at various times as well as the consolation appointments to Quangos made to defeated local authority candidates and its hard to understand why the green agenda hasn’t been rolled out more, unless of course they’re keeping something back for their second term in power.

But the suggested Department of Economic Development never materialised, nor did the rotating greens. It’ll have annoyed Fianna Fail that more back benchers didn’t get preferment. Leo Varadkar’s smoke screen of a personal attack on his former party leader provides the perfect cover behind which FF back benchers can lick their wounds. I’ve never liked Leo’ approach. Could it be a case that soon FG may have their own reshuffle and that Leo will find out what a family at war is really like?

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