Monday 11 December 2017

Steely Burton should keep Kenny guessing on whether she would bring down Coalition

Joan Burton. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Joan Burton. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Imagine the first encounter: Enda Kenny sits down with Joan Burton as Tanaiste designate. How the world has changed. Both carry baggage into the meeting. An undeniable undercurrent of the past three years has been the latent hostility and obvious mistrust of the Minister for Social Protection.

A coterie of senior government ministers closest to Eamon Gilmore barely concealed their contempt for her open disloyalty and alter ego within Labour's leadership – at the top, but not party to it. She wasn't nicknamed "Moan" and "Moaney Joaney" by the media, just cabinet insiders. Original exclusion from the Economic Management Council, despite being elected deputy leader and opposition Finance spokesperson, grated with her.

Enda's loyalties lay with Gilmore. The narrative that Joan was a loose cannon and an independent republic will be instantly ditched.

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