Thursday 23 February 2017

Noonan still casts a long shadow over Cabinet door

John Downing

John Downing

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan

SINCE entering Government Buildings as Taoiseach on March 9, 2011, Enda Kenny's long-time Fine Gael comrades have noticed a marked change.

The old Kenny bonhomie gave way to a distinct reserve and, unlike many predecessors in the office of Taoiseach, there was no "kitchen cabinet" within the ministerial team. Finance Minister Michael Noonan is, however, something of an exception.

The 71-year-old Limerick veteran, is the economic anchor of this administration and hero of all Fine Gael rank and file. The pair have never been close, and in fact were for some years at loggerheads, but their political alliance of convenience is enhanced by Kenny's respect for Noonan's political judgment.

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