Monday 16 December 2019

John Drennan: Hogan widely seen as a liability

IT is just as well for poor Phil Hogan that what Vincent Browne might call "the infernal internet machine" has not so far set up a "rate my minister" website. Because after today's poll, you can be sure that the section of such a site would not be a pretty picture.

The Bigfoot of Fine Gael might still lope around with that Cheshire-cat grin, but not-so-cute Oul Phil has, in the eyes of the electorate at least, become the Martin Cullen of this Government.

Meanwhile, as James Reilly battles it out with Hogan in the "worst performers" stakes, poor Eamon Gilmore must at this point be wishing he could even attract a bit of attention for his flaws. The Tanaiste is, with five per cent, seen as being the sixth-worst performer in government.

The top-performing ministers, Joan Burton and Michael Noonan, do make for an intriguing duo.

One, Noonan, is a former leader of his party who took office at just about the worst time in his personal and political life, was banished to the desert of the backbenches and then made the most remarkable comeback in politics outside of Haughey in his golden political years.

Burton, on the other hand, has not been leader of her party -- yet -- but for the woman scorned by the Grumpy Old Men and the Pink Pretender after the election that may yet change.

In the previous poll on the Government's top performers Enda Kenny tied for first place with Noonan. Today he is a distant third.

One thing you can be sure of is that Kenny will be keeping a leery eye on the rise of two young pretenders, for Leo Varadkar and Cork's little (Merchant) Prince Simon Coveney are both neatly tucked in behind the not-so-Dear Leader with eight per cent and six per cent respectively.

Ultimately, however, as Labour's pink but unnoticed Gilmore sits in a corner eating a slice of humble pie, the most intriguing commentary on the performance of this Government is that only nine of the 15 cabinet ministers have attracted the attention of the voters in either a good or a bad way.

There can, we suspect, be no better measure than that of the minimal nature of their impact.

John Drennan

Sunday Independent

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