Sunday 17 December 2017

Kenny is keeping his cards close to his chest in high-stakes front-bench reshuffle

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Next week, Enda Kenny will play his final trump card in the high-stakes political poker game before the next general election as he sets about formulating his new Cabinet. He will need to choose carefully to create a winning hand, which ensures that his house of cards does not come tumbling down before its time. Once Sheriff Chopra left town, Enda's honeymoon was over; now it is all down to him to get things back on track.

As Enda looks across his cabinet table at Doc Reilly, Big Phil and Richard Bruton, he will no doubt be minded of past loyalties and old enemies. In all likelihood he will do whatever is most advantageous for his own political progress, rather than give way to personal platitudes.

Promised cabinet report cards may have been filed under 'Bin' with the five-point plan, but he has been keeping score of political problems accumulated. Recent casualties such as Alan Shatter and Frank Flannery suggest that he has the emotional detachment required for hard choices. The time for bluffing is over and friends who are surplus to requirements are unwanted, dead or alive.

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