Saturday 19 August 2017

Leo does early battle with scorned women and men bent on revenge

Varadkar was never going to please everyone with his reshuffle, but the signs are this Government won't set a record for longevity, says Philip Ryan

Team Taoiseach: Leo Varadkar in jovial spirits as he unveils his new Junior Cabinet outside Government Buildings last week. The new leader has come under criticism from some quarters over its gender and geographical balance. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Team Taoiseach: Leo Varadkar in jovial spirits as he unveils his new Junior Cabinet outside Government Buildings last week. The new leader has come under criticism from some quarters over its gender and geographical balance. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

The Taoiseach was never going to keep everyone happy. There were a couple of TDs with their noses out of joint after Leo Varadkar announced his conservative Cabinet reshuffle - but most kept their powder dry in anticipation of last week's appointment of ministers of State. On Tuesday afternoon, as Varadkar announced his junior minister reshuffle, he was surrounded by a smattering of scowling, disappointed faces. TDs try to temper their expectations ahead of the announcement but deep down each one them believes they have the ability to run a government department or at least take charge of a portfolio within one.

A junior ministry is a runner-up prize but it is still a title a TD can put on a monthly newsletter or campaign literature. They can also come home to a hero's welcome in their constituencies after being bequeathed the honour of overseeing a portfolio. It's not exactly the pinnacle of Irish politics but it is a good stepping stone for career advancement.

It also comes with a few extra quid - not something most right-thinking politicians would turn their nose up at. Although, some do complain that the expenses system is better for TDs despite backbenchers doing less work than their ministerial colleagues.

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