Quite correct Gerry, “Sinn Féin is not the problem” (for Fine Gael)…

Next time you hear someone from Sinn Fein going on about the unreliability of the Independent Group of Newspapers, nod sagely in agreement and put this statement from Party President Gerry Adams at them…

That the Taoiseach would determine junior Ministries on how they might impact on Sinn Féin merely highlights the fact that the Government still doesn’t get the message delivered by the voters.

And the source for this ‘story’ Gerry? None other than the hated (or at least ‘they hate us’) and misbriefed Irish Independent Newspaper

Mr Kenny is expected to appoint as many as three new junior ministers from the greater Dublin area as he prepares to drop some of the “deadwood on the ministerial benches”. Sinn Fein romped home in Dublin in the locals. The void of ministers has to be addressed as a matter of urgency,” said a Fine Gael strategist.

In the event, it was non event. Fine Gael promoted Damien English, Dara Murphy, Joe McHugh, Simon Harris, and Paudie Coffey, all of whom have big fights on their hands, but not with Sinn Fein.

The only Dublin promotion was moving Paschal Donohoe in from Europe to replace Leo Varadkar at Transport, Tourism and Sport, which is as likely to have been done on the grounds of competence as any need to defend the party’s single seat in Dublin Central.

But it all goes to big up the party’s profile, even if you need the help of the Indo to do it.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • Nordie Northsider

    Paschal’s elevation is a mystery in light of the redrawing of the constituency and the loss of large parts of middle class Glasnevin & Drumcondra. The consensus seems to be that he’s dead in the water. As for Joe McHugh, there might well be an anti-SF element to it – it’s going to be a tight fit in the redrawn Donegal constituency, and throwing a local a ministry can’t do any harm. As it happens, McHugh being made minister of state with special responsibility for the Gaeltacht, despite not being proficient in Irish, is drawing a lot more controversy than Enda Kenny might have expected. It could backfire very badly indeed.

  • Jag

    Now, now Mick, you’re overlooking the FG Donegal TD Joe McHugh, whom Enda has just promoted to Gaeltacht minister. The SFers are having conniptions that Joe isn’t a good enough speaker, that by Joe’s own admission, he’s “rusty” but he’s intent on taking refresher courses.

    That appointment might have had something to do with the SFers having two big hitters in Donegal, Pearse Doherty (finance spokesperson) and Padraig MacLochlann (justice spokesperson) and there is going to be battle royale next time out for FG to get a candidate elected.

    Arch-SF critic Charlie Flanagan is now foreign minister, which encompasses Norn Iron. Was there a soupcon of “kick the Shinners” with that appointment? Maybe, but Charlie won’t be focussing on the North in his remaining 20 months.

    The rest of the appointments seem innocuous enough and have bugger all to do with the SFers. Paschal Donohoe is going to find it difficult to win a seat in 2016 (or 2015) because of boundary redraws and the loss of his Glasnevin ward stronghold. A pity, because he looks like the most potent personality amongst the 75 FGer TDs.

    The SFers are now in power in Dublin at local authority level where they are the biggest party (they don’t have majorities or control). Let’s see how they perform. They’re going to cut house taxes by 15% in the Dublin City Council areas to “help out hard-pressed families” – take that, Strabane, where you’re paying 3% more this year, obviously there aren’t hard pressed folks there! The SFers were brazenly leaping onto the Garth Brooks concert fiasco by demanding a rethink by the planning officer. Just give the Sfers enough rope in Dublin for the next 20 months, and frankly, they may solve the electoral problem for other parties by themselves, by bankrupting the council and interfering in independent state agencies (not something they’d do in Norn Iron with the Parades Commission, for example)

    And as for Gerry, he says a lot of things. He said in March that he was going to sue the Independent over a story about GA’s brother


    The Indo told him to feck off


    And the story which triggered the problems is still online, and to date, GA has not issued proceedings in Dublin.

  • mickfealty

    Very fair points people, but let’s not lose sight of the original premise here…

    1, the point of the Indo piece (replicated by Gerry) was the imminent appointment of FG junior ministers in Dublin… (none). Paschal has to be in difficulty from boundary changes and a three way squeeze between independents, SF and any recovery in FF….

    2, McHugh is going to be hammered from two ends. The junior ministry was to try and hold some of McGinley’s west Gaeltacht base. But again, a five seat Donegal constituency is going to be competitive three ways, between Pringle in the south, the two sitting SFers, McConalogue, Joe and a second FFer.

    For McHugh SF (whose two lads should be safe) are probably not his greatest worry, but on the council returns FF likely are since his base is more likely to break that way.

    Given who Kenny gave junior portfolios to, I would say SF are a great deal farther down the party’s very long list of worries than the brand new bed fellows of the Indo and Gerry would have us believe.

  • Nordie Northsider

    ‘the brand new bed fellows of the Indo and Gerry’
    Now you’re having a laugh, aren’t you? The Indo ran stories suggesting that the Government was running scared of SF. Adams seized on that for propaganda purposes. ‘Bedfellows’ they are not.

  • mickfealty

    Yep, should have switched the sarcasm tags on…

  • Roy Walsh

    Frankly Mick, the Indo was always pro FG, the main reason I avoid it, though, the alternatives are sadly lacking any credibility either.
    Gerry and his party will never do well from the free state media, other than an Phoblacht however I strongly suspect FG are as worried at the Sinn Féin rise in support as the IP are so the boul Baron may be right in certain respects. There is something in the fact FG ‘borrowed’ votes from FF and the Baron is perhaps reaching out to those citizens.

  • Roy Walsh

    IP, feckin new keyboard, please read ILP

  • Roy Walsh

    Mick, on your point regarding Pascal, you might recall the post I submitted a couple of weeks past re: the difference between Aengus and Pascal in terms of delivery. The two were filmed dealing with constituents concerns, Pascal was not too put out at being unable to secure a bit of rebuilding for the lady and her disabled son, Aengus fought like a lion for the rights of his constituent. This will tell in the next GE as it seems to be an issue for FG politicians everywhere.
    The issue of Heather Humphreys for Adams may be a fear that, next time out, being female in a significant Ministerial role, she will retain her seat, albeit Cavan Monaghan has historically been a Fianna Fáil Constituency and the point before about lending votes to FG applies.
    Fosta, bear in mind Cavan Monaghan is a huge constituency wherein Sinn Féin did relatively poorly in the europeans coming in behind Ming the merciless and FG, just ahead of another independent. This worries the President for life and he’ll do all he can to undermine the opposition in this particular battle ground.

  • Jag

    Whilst FG might not be bothered by SF in Dublin, the Labour party certainly is. Kevin Humphreys has hardly the profile in keeping with the young turks generally selected as new entrants in this reshuffle. And Aodhan O’Riordain has managed to remain unnoticed for the past three years. And neither is a woman. Both are in Dublin constituencies however.

    On current poll numbers, Labour will lose 20 TDs in 2016 (or 2015, though I see PP has increased the odds there after Joan Burton didn’t rock the boat, and 2015 and 2016 are now even stevens). Kevin and Aodhan will find it hard to get the numbers with the SFers on one pincer and PBP and assorted socialists on the other. The reshuffle has given both a profile which may give them a fighting chance; am glad to see Kevin getting a leg up, he has been very busy on the back benches and has been one of the most prolific questioners on economic issues.

    The most blatant “stop the SFers at all costs” appointments were in Louth, where the plumbest of roles, the super jobs role was given to Jed Nash, who will be toast in 2016, with SF on 2 seats and FG and FF on one apiece.

    Interesting that there has been a major shift in perception in Dublin in the past fortnight that the next 20 months will give FG and particularly Labour a chance to reap some benefit from an improving economy. The budget adjustment in October is likely to be €1bn, of which €500m will come from water. So, just €500m to find elsewhere, which probably means there will be far more expansionary measures than in the past seven years. And of course, there is one additional budget before the scheduled election in 2016. Labour hasn’t given up the struggle yet.

    I wonder was the “FG strategist” who briefed the Independent being mischievous because SF wasn’t a consideration for FG, but was for that bloody woman Joan Burton. Intercoalition needling seems to be thriving.

  • Barneyt

    Is is a requirement to be have a medical background to look after health?

    Is it a requirement to have driven a bus to serve as minister for transport?

    Is it really essential for a minister representing the Gaeltacht to be a native speaker or indeed have a full command of the language?

    Those that protest are failing to recognise the state Ireland finds itself in with regard to its grasp on its own native language.

    The British involvement in Ireland, plus other factors (catholic church push for Latin perhaps)

    has led to 90%+ disenfranchisement with respect to the language. Those than have “conniptions” are surely redirecting blame?