Saturday 20 January 2018

In politics – as in football – a winning team must be based on skill, not loyalty to the boss

Consider the World Cup soccer teams. Squads aren't selected because the manager owes favours to a couple of players, or because the team must have representatives from every corner of the country. Members are drawn from the finest footballers available – that's how a winning combination is formed.

Now consider how choices are made to fill Cabinet positions – our political World Cup side. Are ministers appointed from the creme de la creme of Oireachtas talent, picked because their skills raise them head and shoulders above the crowd? Or are they invited to line out because they were loyal previously, or fit various demographics, or as a compromise between competing Fine Gael and Labour interests?

I don't doubt a wealth of talent is eager to serve the nation in a reshuffled Cabinet – what bothers me is whether the party-itis which plagues Ireland's political firmament prevents it from being put to use.

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