Who will get the Cabinet posts were FF and FG to go in together? March 24, 2016Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
It’s quite possible that the moves by Denis Naughten and others have prompted back channels between FF and FG to be opened. When Mattie McGrath and others sound responsible and want to put the National Interest first it must be setting off alarm bells in FF HQ.
The dawning too that no matter what, the numbers in the Dail mean, that FF will have to abstain here and there for a minority government to actually get anything done. So when the local FG or Independent TD is down announcing a new school , opening a road or giving funds to local organisations the Local FF TD will be there but the others will be the ones claiming credit.
When I see an FF Press release about the Housing Crisis or something else I think to myself that you could be in government and do something about it…… and I doubt I’m alone.
So anyway I suspect we’ll see the grand coalition with possibly a few Independents involved also, primarily to appease the FF grassroots that it won’t be going in with FG alone.
Of course it’s going to take an awful lot for it to pass a Special FF Ard Fheis but if it’s presented and then defeated it could be a disaster for FF as it could prompt an election and they would lose seats as the membership nakedly put party interests over country…..
Anyway back to the new cabinet…
Aside from Taoiseach there were 14 cabinet ministers. So 1 goes to Independents that would leave 7 FG and 6 FF Ministers. Maybe giving FF the AG or something like that.
5 of these were Labour. James Reilly lost his seat. So that means that there are currently 8 Fine Gael Ministers that will be looking to hold on to their jobs. Interestingly Enda Kenny said that he would look for gender parity in his cabinet. So Heather Humphreys and Frances Fitzgerald are safe in their jobs and Kenny were he to carry out gender parity could then appoint another female to cabinet, Regina Doherty for example.
Then he has to pick four from Leo Varadkar, Richard Bruton, Paschal Donohoe, Simon Coveney, Charlie Flanagan and Michael Noonan. That has all sorts of potential, drop the wrong person and Kenny is sowing the seeds of a Leadership challenge. It also means that it is highly likely that there will be no new male FG Ministers.
Then on to Fianna Fails 6 Ministerial spots. Michéal Martin will be one. Then they’d have to have Barry Cowen and Éamon Ó Cuív. Then could he afford to leave out Michael McGrath and Billy Kelleher? which would leave Cork City with 3 of the 6 seats. Niall Collins, Dara Calleary, Sean Fleming, John McGuinness, Timmy Dooley, Jim O’Callaghan, Robert Troy, Charlie McConalogue, Willie O’Dea and Darragh O’Brien would be others in contention.
He’d surely have to have a Minister from Dublin and whilst a female Minister would be unlikely there would certainly have to be at least two female Junior Ministers from FF or else they leave themselves open again to criticism about the prominence of women in the party.
If it comes to pass it will be a massive test for Martins leadership, having got the membership to vote it in he will now have to appease the ambitions of a lot of TD’s. Added to that I’m sure quite a number of TDs will still be sour about having to go in with FG (as junior partners).
It’s all supposition at this stage but should the unthinkable happen there are many subplots that could play out.