Tuesday 12 December 2017

Parties' top negotiators who will hammer out a deal

FIONNAN SHEAHAN

FINE Gael leader Enda Kenny and Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore will send four-strong teams into battle in the coalition talks.

Each party will put forward a team of three chief negotiators, who will be supported by a backroom adviser, in the coalition talks.

Fine Gael's team will be headed by Michael Noonan and Labour's by Brendan Howlin.

Fine Gael

Leader -- Michael Noonan: Vastly experienced former party leader and cabinet minister, the Limerick East TD was Enda Kenny's star turn since being appointed as party finance spokesman and will drive a hard bargain on the party's economic policies.

Dealmaker -- Phil Hogan: Trusted aide of the party leaders, he will know the bottom line on what the Fine Gael ranks can wear. The Carlow-Kilkenny TD will have a keen eye on ministerial portfolios and wider aspects of policy.

Details man -- Alan Shatter: Contrary to his prickly reputation, Mr Shatter would be regarded as somebody who can do business. Mr Kenny regards him highly for his grasp of detail but he would certainly be on the right of the party.

Number cruncher -- Andrew McDowell: An architect of the party's economic policy development and highly regarded within the party. The mild-mannered economist is a first cousin of Michael McDowell and is a married father of young children.

Labour

Leader -- Brendan Howlin: Similar to Mr Noonan, a veteran of the Rainbow Coalition Cabinet. Not regarded as a huge fan of Fine Gael and certainly on the hard left of the Labour Party. The Wexford TD is in tune with party grassroots.

Dealmaker -- Pat Rabbitte: The former Labour leader travelled the same road as Eamon Gilmore from Sinn Fein -- The Workers Party. He is an able and pragmatic negotiator but seen by some of the party faithful as being a bit too chummy with Fine Gael.

Details woman -- Joan Burton: Forceful personality but also no fan of Fine Gael's policies. Will back up her pursuit of Labour's economic policies being implemented in a coalition deal with a bank of economic minutiae.

Number cruncher -- Colm O'Reardon: The chief economic adviser to Mr Gilmore and Ms Burton has a great grasp of policy. The brother of newly elected Labour TD Aodhan O Riordain, the Rhodes academic scholar economist is married with two children.

Irish Independent

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