Monday 5 December 2016

A frail government, whose ministers tip-toe round Independents - but it might just deliver on health

Published 03/06/2016 | 02:30

Chief Whip Regina Doherty will have her work cut out in the current Dáil Photo: Tom Burke
Chief Whip Regina Doherty will have her work cut out in the current Dáil Photo: Tom Burke

The Government's fragility was revealed once again this week when it lost a Dáil vote. Fianna Fáil supported a Labour Party private members motion on workers' rights. The numbers are such that every day has the potential for discord and defeat.

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As Minister for Public Service Reform Paschal Donohoe conceded last week on radio: "Ministers have to win arguments before they win votes in this Dáil." No piece of legislation or policy initiative has the luxury of passage just because it has the support of the Cabinet.

It must be galling for ministers. A key aspect of ministerial office is to be constitutionally bestowed with executive power by virtue of being a member of Cabinet. It is an empowering privilege to be in control of one's area of responsibility; to be in a position to initiate reforms, implement policies in line with one's party position and ideology, and establish a familiarity with and competence in the management of a government department.

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