Shane Coleman: Cabinet unity, but backbenchers sing from different hymn sheets
DESCRIBING Irish politics to an outsider has never been a straightforward task. But even to those used to its vagaries and complexities, what's going on behind the scenes at the moment in government almost defies explanation.
Imagine if it emerged that Tory backbenchers in the UK were up in arms over a move by a Liberal health minister to roll back the NHS. You'd be surprised, right?
Well consider what's happened here over the past week. The Social Protection Minister – hero of the left in her party, defender of the traditional Labour values in government – is defiantly resisting the efforts of Fine Gael backbenchers, many regarded as right wing, to reverse a cut affecting arguably the most vulnerable group in the country.