Saturday 27 May 2017

Eoghan Harris: Three days gorging on George Lee's red herring

Eoghan Harris

Eoghan Harris

Last Monday, George Lee announced he was leaving Leinster House for Montrose. A few hours later I was on Today FM with Matt Cooper, rejecting Lee's reasons. Far from believing he had been neglected by Fine Gael, I diagnosed Lee as suffering from the same syndrome as Charlie Bird: Panic Attack at the Prospect of being Permanently Cut Off From Montrose.

I am deadly serious about this diagnosis. Having spent 25 years in Montrose and two years in Leinster House, few people know as much as me about the nexus between politics and media. And I come to comment with clean hands. As an appointee of Bertie Ahern, I have no axe to grind for Enda Kenny.

But I believe that Kenny, not Lee, was wronged. Lee would have left Fine Gael even if Kenny had given him a front-bench job on the first day. I base that belief both on my 25 years in RTE -- where I sometimes saw people resign in the morning and ask for the letter back in the afternoon -- and on what I have learned about the tougher life in Leinster House.

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