Saturday 25 November 2017

John Downing: Labour ducks for cover as it lets FG get soaked by Irish Water ruckus

Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamonn Gilmore at the launch of the digital records of Ireland's World War One Memorial at Google's EMEA HQ in Dublin.
Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamonn Gilmore at the launch of the digital records of Ireland's World War One Memorial at Google's EMEA HQ in Dublin.
John Downing

John Downing

LABOUR has spent the past 'water week' standing well back lest they get too spattered. It has been a subtle enough operation, more about hanging back and hiding in plain view as much as possible, rather than ever going to ground. But, as there are now about 18 weeks to go to local and European Parliament elections, it would suit Eamon Gilmore and colleagues if this little debacle were laid mainly, if not entirely, at Fine Gael's door.

It is precisely one week today since Irish Water boss John Tierney put his foot in it by admitting on RTE radio that his organisation had spent €50m on consultant fees. He was barely off the radio when Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore faced reporters at the Young Scientist Exhibition at the RDS in Dublin.

Heading to the RDS, Mr Gilmore had good reason to expect the bulk of his time would have been spent defending some tricky cuts to home adaptation grants to the disabled and elderly. This is Labour heartland and the direct responsibility of junior housing minister Jan O'Sullivan, his party colleague. A little-noticed 'water dividend' for Labour was an early end to that controversy.

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