Saturday 3 December 2016

If Chief Whip Doherty doesn't hold her nerve, this Government is truly toast

Published 10/05/2016 | 02:30

Government Chief Whip: Regina Doherty. Photo: Tom Burke
Government Chief Whip: Regina Doherty. Photo: Tom Burke
They might be the Fine Gael top tier, but they’re not the most important ministers sitting around the Cabinet table.

Move over Simon Coveney, Leo Varadkar, Frances Fitzgerald, Michael Noonan and Paschal Donohoe. They might be the Fine Gael top tier, but they're not the most important ministers sitting around the Cabinet table.

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That responsibility falls on the shoulders of first-time minister Regina Doherty. Given the Dáil numbers, her role as Chief Whip is absolutely crucial. If she does her job well, the new administration has a chance. If she doesn't - or, as is more likely, is simply unable to effectively carry out the role - then the Government will be toast.

Never before has a Chief Whip faced such a daunting challenge. Her predecessor, Paul Kehoe, could count on the support of almost 70pc of the last Dáil's TDs for any vote. Doherty can factor in the automatic backing of less than 40pc - and that's assuming all the Independents who voted for Kenny last Friday hold their nerve.

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