Life

Thursday 18 January 2018

Famous Irish political power-plays in recent times

Frank Underwood is so adept at manoeuvring his way around the political chessboard that most, if not all of his victims, are oblivious to his tactics.

He wriggles his way up the ladder while allowing others to slip down the snakes.

So sophisticated is he at the game, that he can tear up 20-year-old allegiances, without the third parties ever realising.

While some Dail Eireann power-plays down through the years hit the headlines others remained the gossip fodder of Leinster House's inhabitants.

One recent alleged power-play involves the now Tanasite Joan Burton, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and current back-bencher TD Ruairi Quinn.

The rumoured mechanics are that Deputy Quinn's name was not on the original 2011, Cabinet list.

He apparently made sure his name made it on and this set off a chain of events that caused Ms Burton some "movements." Mr Quinn, went on to become Minister for Education until last summer, when he was turfed out of Cabinet when Ms Burton, assuming the leadership of Labour, became Tanaiste.

Another alleged power-play of this Government involves Louth TD Fergus O'Dowd and Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

In 2010, during a Fine Gael leadership debate, Deputy O'Dowd publicly opposed Mr Kenny. However, when Fine Gael and Labour came to power in 2011, Mr O'Dowd found himself Minister for State for the NewEra Project.

He subsequently found himself in charge of Irish Water and working under Pat Rabbitte and Phil Hogan.

"It didn't end well," as they say in Leinster House.

One other recent power-play also involves the Taoiseach, as well as Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton.

"At the end of the day Richard Bruton and Enda would have been the closest of friends and then Richard Bruton ended up trying to take Enda's crown," says a Kildare Street regular.

They are referring Mr Bruton's 2010, Fine Gael leadership challenge. As a result Mr Kenny said he was left "with no option to relieve," his colleague of his duties as Fine Gael deputy leader and the party's finance spokesman.

As House of Cards season three will be devoured en masse as people settle down to digest it in binge-sized bites this week, spare a thought for our leaders in Leinster House, who are living the realities of it everyday.

Irish Independent

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