Friday 23 February 2018

John Downing: If the Tanaiste trusted the minister, he wouldn't feel the need to tell him


IT IS very unusual to have one government minister 'checking up' on the work of another government minister. It is even more unusual for the person doing the checking to tell the world about it, as the publicity puts another dynamic into the equation.

This is a story about trust -- or more precisely the lack of trust. It raises fundamental questions about the stability of the Fine Gael-Labour Coalition.

News that Labour leader and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore is carrying out his own detailed research on the location of the long-proposed children's hospital tells us that he and his colleagues do not trust Health Minister Dr James Reilly. It has meant that Mr Gilmore yesterday had to publicly state that he did in fact trust the Health Minister -- and in politics the need for such public declarations frequently nourishes further doubt.

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