Safe pair of hands in troubled times
THIS time last year, Michael Noonan (left) was an opposition finance spokesman who owed his job to Richard Bruton's botched heave against Enda Kenny.
Fast forward 12 months and Mr Noonan is presiding over an economy that has managed to show two consecutive quarters of growth for the first time since 2007.
More importantly, he has re-established Ireland's credibility overseas and introduced a Budget which is seen as sensible.
A concerted campaign to portray this country as the "comeback kid" of the bailout nations appears to be paying dividends and may even have worked too well.
Mr Noonan's style is low-key and he has managed to avoid antagonising any significant player domestically or abroad.
While he has disappointed some supporters by his failure to live up to his election rhetoric, he has undoubtedly steadied the ship of State and proved a safe pair of hands in these troubled times.