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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: November 5, 2009 @ 8:55 pm

    Country and Western Alliance 2009?

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    A certain wag who worked on this newspaper some years back used to have great fun at the expense of aspirants for jobs and promotions that appeared “on the board”. His favourite witticism was to tell one or other of the hopefuls: “Your name is being linked to the job – people are saying ‘Joe Bloggs hasn’t a chance of getting that one’.” Oh the cruelty of it! But it was very funny and the victim usually laughed as well.


     Tá Máire réidh!

    The poet and critic Anthony Cronin has a phrase, “the pornography of the job” and, for whatever reason, impending appointments get the political class in this country going like nothing else does.

    The quote that “politics is about jobs” is attributed to David (now Lord) Trimble. He may well be right. The whole purpose of going into politics is to get things done and the best way to get things done is to become a government minister, surely?

    The latest job speculation concerns, of course, the appointment as our next European Commissioner. Máire Geoghegan-Quinn’s name is being “linked” with it, but in a positive way.

    Commission President Barroso wants the member-states to nominate women and it appears that, if they do, they will get a better portfolio than would otherwise be the case.

    This is seen as very helpful to the chances of “MGQ”. She and Brian Cowen go back a long way politically, since they were both members of the informal and so-called “Country and Western Alliance” which supported Albert Reynolds in his successful campaign to become Fianna Fáil leader and Taoiseach in the early 1990s.

    But people who should be in the know say that Máire and Brian are not that close at all. Yes there is no other woman on the horizon who is seen as having a strong chance, except possibly the Irish Commission official Catherine Day.

    Pat Cox has a strong claim as former president of the European Parliament and one of the leaders of the successful pro-Lisbon Treaty campaign. Eoin Ryan lost his seat in the Parliament and is also available to serve: he is well-liked and said to be close to the Taoiseach. Former Taoiseach John Bruton has also been mentioned although he has been tipping his cap for presidency of the European Council as well (wonder will he go for the Áras?)

    Then there’s Mary Harney, but her departure would weaken the Government’s position in the Dáil and there would also be a very difficult by-election as a result. Highly-respected Attorney General Paul Gallagher has been mentioned (David Byrne, a previous AG was appointed to the job a few years ago, remember.)

    But it seems that, willy-nilly, MGQ it is. Although last time I checked, I was told the Taoiseach had yet to make up his mind. I recall that, on a previous occasion, she was passed over in favour of Padraig Flynn, partly because, it was said, FF’s then-coalition partners, An Lucht Oibre (Labour to youse Anglophones), wanted rid of him.

    Although she has been off the scene as a member of the EU Court of Auditors, she was an able minister who was very articulate in both official languages. Curiously, I have not heard any feminist spokespersons speaking out on the subject and insisting that it should be a woman. Why so quiet, Sisters?

    • Dan Sullivan says:

      I’m no fan of the FFers as most would know but it says something about Irish politics in general that someone like Máire Geoghegan-Quinn left politics and yet Frank Fahey is still around.

      I’m not entirely sure what it says exactly but it sure as hell says something.

    • Briefcase says:

      Going slightly off message… I think this topic is somewhat post ipso facto in any event…I would just like to say how much I love Anthony Cronin’s books.’ The Life of Reilly’ and ‘Dead as Doornails’. ‘Dead as Doornails’ despite the title, is one I re read regularly when I need some laughter therapy. Like the film ‘The Odd Couple’ it never fails to have me crying with laughter…I recommend it…particularly the account of the lost weekend in ‘The life of Reilly’ and the the pilgrimage with Brendan Behan in ‘Dead as Doornails’…If you haven’t already…read them…Put them on your Christmas list! I envy you…

    • Briefcase says:

      At the risk of being considered ‘anoraky’ the account of the defamation trial between Behan and Kavanagh in ‘Dead As Doornails’ is beyond hilarious to anyone with a sense of the absurd…just make sure you are not reading it in public…If it was possible to be time warped to any time in history I would love to have been in Dublin at the same time as this collection of National Treasures and witnessed the exchange of ‘wit’ between them.

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