Sunday 25 September 2016

All eyes on Coveney as the R-question looms large

Published 24/05/2014 | 02:30

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney

Weary political scribes, commentators, pundits and participants are beginning to get the impression that the chances of slipping off to their respective summer dachas for some well-earned post-election R'n'R are looking dodgier by the day.

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For a different class of R'n'R beast may well trot into the arena next week, if Labour and Fianna Fail in particular suffer a drubbing at the polls – Resignations 'n' Reshuffles, that is.

After Eamon Gilmore refused to stamp down on Thursday the notion of a rapid-response reshuffle in the coming weeks, government backbenchers and ministers alike have quietly begun studying the form of the runners and riders.

From the Coalition's point of view, there's a lot to be said for a quick reshuffle: it will deflect media attention from what's shaping up to be a battering at the ballot-box; it'll remove the Tanaiste from Foreign Affairs into a meatier portfolio which may stay backbench knives in their scabbards, it would give newly anointed ministers the summer months to read into their brand-new briefs, and it would stop Enda getting the R-question flung at him every time he sticks his snout in front of a microphone from here on in.

Of course, this Taoiseach isn't in the habit of keeping everyone apprised of his plans, so the studiers of form were intrigued by a tweet posted by Paddy Power Politics yesterday, which revealed: "Several punts on Simon Coveney for next health minister, now in to 5/2 from 5/1."

Could someone have the inside track on the Agriculture Minister, left, swapping his wellies for a flak-jacket and a one-way ticket to Angola? One government insider reckoned it could be worth a flutter, commenting: "Simon's found the going easy for the last three years. Let's see how he gets over one Beechers' Brook after another."

Irish Independent

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