Wednesday 7 December 2016

Don't write Labour off just yet - it can still give hard-left 'anarchists' a run for their money

Published 13/05/2016 | 02:30

By giving Independents three senior ministries and a super junior ministry, the idea is to stitch them into the government tent
By giving Independents three senior ministries and a super junior ministry, the idea is to stitch them into the government tent

As new ministers settle into their offices they are unlikely to be granted a honeymoon period. Public tolerance has been exhausted by the length of time it took to cobble together the new administration. The chaotic scenes in the Dáil leading up to the election of Taoiseach Enda Kenny, with last-minute horse trading with Independents, did nothing to assuage concerns about the stability of this new Government.

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At times, Micheál Martin's pallor spoke volumes. If a sufficient number of Independents were not on board, the agreement by Fianna Fáil to support the minority government was off the table. He was already contemplating the vista of another election. In the event, the Independents scraped in, minus Michael Fitzmaurice, who failed to extract sufficient concessions on his turf agenda.

By giving Independents three senior ministries and a super junior ministry, the idea is to stitch them into the government tent. Some will be more reliable than others. Already, Finian McGrath, who confessed to not paying his water charges, has generated controversy. Independents will be expected to "give up their old sins" when it comes to compliance with the law.

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