Monday 9 December 2019

Speculation on Leo Varadkar, Fergus O'Dowd and Charlie Flanagan to move following Shatter's resignation

Leo Varadkar
Leo Varadkar
Charlie Flanagan, Fine Gael deputy for Laois-Offaly.
Paschal Donohoe, Minister for European Affairs
Fergus O’Dowd: ‘Reform’

John Downing Political Correspondent

POLITICS is the most brutal of trades and it also moves quickly.

So, speculation on Alan Shatter’s successor began at Leinster House even before the Taoiseach had completed the announcement that the Justice Minister had actually resigned.

Mr Kenny said he would announce the new Justice and Defence Minister this evening or early tomorrow.  In the corridors there was no shortage of names among people of all parties.

Two scenarios quickly developed.  First was that a senior Fine Gael Minister be moved into Shatter’s former job with one of the junior ministers being called into the senior ranks to fill that vacancy.

Under that scenario Transport Minister, Leo Varadkar, was seen as moving to Justice with either of the juniors, Fergus O’Dowd or Paschal Donohoe, moving into the Transport Department.

Another favoured theory was the return of Charlie Flanagan from the back benches after four years’ exile caused by his support for the June 2010 botched Fine Gael leadership heave against Enda Kenny.  In that speculative scheme Mr Flanagan, a solicitor and former party justice spokesman, would slot into Shatter’s position.

There were numerous other succession theories.  But these can wait as only one man  now knows the next part of the story.

The succession choice is entirely in the hands of the Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Irish Independent

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