Wednesday 21 February 2018

To the victors go the spoils . . .

Aine Kerr Political Correspondent

SEVEN days ago, an opinion poll posed serious questions about the ability of the Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny to lead his party into the next General Election.

Seven days later, having endured eight years of private murmurings about his leadership, Mr Kenny has now dealt with those issues in the public domain. He has emerged victorious with a number of winners and losers in his midst.


Enda Kenny: the much-scrutinised leader has secured himself a mandate that should see him through until the next General Election.

Phil Hogan: the key architect behind the scenes in lobbying for votes and managing the PR battle is now in line for promotion.

Paul Kehoe: the party's chief whip did what he's best at -- fighting tough in public and rallying his troops behind the scenes.

James Reilly: the health spokesman went to bat for the Fine Gael leader every time the media came calling and was consistent in his message to the public and party. Now viewed as a loyal servant.

Michael Noonan: the former Fine Gael leader actually said nothing to pin him to any camp all week but his silence prompted major reflection about his past and future value to the party. A return to the frontbenches could be imminent.

The Fine Gael backroom team: some of the leader's backroom staff may have found themselves the subject of criticisms at yesterday's meeting but they rolled out supporters on the hour every hour on Monday to build up early momentum for their leader.

Fianna Fail and Labour: the other two major parties will privately delight in the fact that Mr Kenny has been retained as they perceive him as a weaker opponent than Richard Bruton on economic matters.

Michael Ring: the Mayo TD and the Fine Gael leader are hugely competitive given their competition for the same votes but Mr Ring mounted very passionate and robust public defences of his rival vote-getter.


Richard Bruton: the economics guru, who has long been viewed as a future Finance Minister, may now have to spend time on the backbenches where George Lee languished.

Charlie Flanagan: the long-serving TD and justice spokesman backed the Fine Gael leader at the weekend, only to switch sides at the 11th hour on Wednesday.

Kieran O'Donnell: on the sacking of Richard Bruton as finance spokesman, the Limerick-based TD was promoted to the key position. But he then went public in his support for Mr Bruton rather than his boss.

Leo Varadkar: the young turk definitively ruled out a return to the frontbench, saying it would "very hypocritical".

Denis Naughten: having nominated Enda Kenny as Fine Gael leader eight years ago, he was viewed as one of his most loyal servants but shocked many when he emerged as the spokesman for the rebellious nine on Tuesday.

The other frontbench rebels: each knew what they were doing when they walked on to the Leinster House plinth.

Those who sat on the fence: the TDs and senators who refused to nail their colours to the mast won't receive any reward from the winner and may be viewed with an air of suspicion in future.

Irish Independent

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