Wednesday 25 April 2018

Finally face to face with those who suffered my most fierce criticism

Commitment to change and partnership has delivered a new type of government, writes Shane Ross

HONOUR: New transport minister Shane Ross with President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Colin Keegan
HONOUR: New transport minister Shane Ross with President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Colin Keegan

Shane Ross

It was my Joe McHugh moment.

On Friday afternoon I had got the call from the Taoiseach's office. I hadn't a clue what ministry he had in mind, but I was apprehensive. We had exchanged robust words in negotiations over the previous 24 hours. This could be his moment of revenge.  I dreaded the hospital pass, the Department of Health. Or even another bed of nails. He opened his mouth and I swore he said something about the Department of the Gaeltacht. My heart sank. What a brilliant stroke. I don't have a word of Irish. In a flash I envisaged Gerry Adams and his crew asking me questions in the Dail in Irish. I thought I would have to decline his offer and stay on the back benches. I remembered the last Minister for the Gaeltacht, Joe McHugh, whose promotion to ministerial rank saw him attending Irish classes for a year.

The McHugh moment passed. Enda had offered Transport. I gulped with relief.

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