Saturday 10 December 2016

A new Government 70 days later - but who are the winners and losers?

Published 07/05/2016 | 02:30

70 days later and a new Government has been formed. Tensions were high in the Dáil chambers yesterday - so who are the winners... and who are the losers?

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The winners:

Enda Kenny

Following a devastating election result and 70 days of torturous negotiations, Enda Kenny made history after becoming the first Fine Gael leader to be elected Taoiseach for two consecutive terms.

But it was far from straightforward for the Mayo politician, who was described as a “political corpse” and the “elephant in the room” during the talks process. Nonetheless, Mr Kenny kept a cool head and displayed a sense of resolve as he now aims to keep his minority government on a steady footing.

Michael Noonan

In the words of one figure close to the talks, Michael Noonan “kept the whole show on the road”. The finance minister was by far the most effective Fine Gael negotiator and demonstrated his value to the party during the most testing stages of the talks

Shane Ross

Two months ago this weekend, Shane Ross wrote in his Sunday Independent column that he was potentially dealing with a “political corpse” in Enda Kenny. Now, the Dublin-Rathdown TD will share collective Cabinet responsibility with the Fine Gael leader

Ministerial newcomers

Mr Kenny moved to address allegations previously levelled at him that he overlooks female TDs for the top jobs. Mary Mitchell O’Connor (Jobs), Regina Doherty (Chief Whip) and Katherine Zappone (Children) have all been elevated to Cabinet.

Cork TD Michael Creed was appointed Agriculture Minister. And there were boosts for Frances Fitzgerald (Tánaiste) and Heather Humphreys (Regional Development and Rural Affairs).

Simon Harris

The decision to appoint Mr Harris to the Department of Health illustrates the esteem he is held in by Mr Kenny. One of the Dáil’s youngest TDs will now take on the most difficult job in Irish politics.

The losers

Michael Fitzmaurice

The Roscommon TD will now watch on from the Opposition benches as his former Independent Alliance colleagues grapple with the responsibility of ministerial life.  While Mr Fitzmaurice insists he stuck by his principles by abstaining over the issue of bogs, there is no doubt he will be disappointed at not serving at Cabinet.

Former Labour Party ministers

They were among the heavyweights of the last Cabinet – but the likes of Joan Burton, Alan Kelly, Brendan Howlin and Jan O’Sullivan have lost their mercs perks and are banished to the Opposition benches. Ms Burton was clearly agitated in the Dáil when heckled during her speech and she cut loose on Fine Gael.

Simon Coveney

Handed the ultimate hospital pass of sorting out both the water charges and housing crises – and within a short period of time too. Very different from the relative backwater of Agriculture.

Leo Varadkar

Certain Fine Gael figures are trying very hard to put a gloss on Leo Varadkar’s move to Social Protection.

But the decision can only be seen as a demotion, especially given the boosts for Frances Fitzgerald, Paschal Donohoe and Simon Harris.

Irish Independent

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