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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: March 18, 2010 @ 11:08 am

    Writing the Reshuffle

    Harry McGee

    With St Patrick’s Day over, there will be unrelenting focus between now and next Tuesday and Wednesay on the Cabinet reshuffle. Most of the stuff you will read from “informed sources” etc. will purport to be authoritative. In truth, little of it will.

    Political reporters will be relying on second-hand, and third-hand, information. None of it will come from the only one who matters, mar dhea. Brian Cowen doesn’t do Cabinet reshuffles on a collegiate basis. So we won’t know and you won’t know until the Cabinet knows. And they won’t know until next week.

    Sure, there are tropes. It’s certain that Departments will be changed. It’s almost certain that a new department – public service or affairs – will be created. Nobody knows at what level it will be created.  Other strong likelihoods. A full department abolished to be replaced by the new or a heavily reconfigured department. Enterprise, Trade and Employment is also likely to lose the employment arm to Social and Family Affairs.

    Will there be a third vacany at senior Cabinet level? I think so. And I think that Eamon O Cuiv is vulnerable. But that is not to say that he won’t survive.

    Who will get the promotion? Is Cowen as taken with geography as Bertie Ahern and others were?

    Probably, unfortunately.

    I have never bought into the notion that ministers need to be geographically spread. There is no logic to it any more.  The idea that somebody good is excluded from ministerial office on the basis of geography is ludicrous.

    So for the next few days, we’ll all be bandying names around. Dara Calleary. Tony Killeen. Barry Andrews. Martin Mansergh. Dick Roche.

    Who’ll get the nod? None of us knows.

    I remember when Ivor Callely got the flick and there was endless speculation about his replacement. Half an hour before his announcement I was on Sean O’Rourke’s News at One giving my tuppence ha’penny worth. I had been informed by what I thought was a very very strong source that Sean Haughey was in line for preferment.

    I duly parrotted the knowledge to O’Rourke.

    Shortly after 2pm, Ahern surprised everybody by appointing Mary Wallace to the role.

    What a fool I felt.

    • barbera says:

      Oh Harry, don’t feel like a fool. “Duly parroting” is the default setting of the political commentator. But as for putting the letter “t” multiplied by two in “parroted” ……. tut-tut.
      I’d like Micheál Martin to stay very high profile — got charisma.

    • Gerryg says:

      The reshuffle will also cover up a gross denigration of the Irish public by Taoiseach Cowen.
      On Mar 11 in an interview with Fox Business, Cowen said that “it has taken some time for the Irish people to realise, not just the depths of the problems we face, but how to get out of them”.
      Coming from the person who was drunk with power at the wheel of the Irish economy when it crashed – this is too much to take. And this to the US business elite. What an idiot.

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