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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: June 18, 2010 @ 11:53 am

    Is this the Enda Fine Gael as we know it?

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    I’m a humble reporter, not the Prophet Isaiah, but yesterday I wrote here:
    Nobody is rushing to the bookies’ shop but the smart money appears to be on Enda Kenny to win the vote today, by about six votes.  Darn! I should have gone to the bookies.

    It looks like Richard Bruton believed in his own prophecies: he was proved wrong. Field-Marshal Phil Hogan had a ramrod affixed to Enda’s back and marched him into battle.

    As a Wexford supporter (God help me!) I was probably one of the few that noticed Enda had brought together those two ancient sporting foes in the form of Kilkennyman Hogan (the political counterpart of Brian Cody, you might say) and Enniscorthy TD Paul Kehoe. If  Kenny can unite the Cats and the Yellowbellies, he can do anything :-)

    I’m not in Leinster House today so will not venture too far into the prediction game although Michael Noonan for Finance Spokesman sounds a safe bet and Alan Shatter will surely get a promotion, probably to Justice. James Reilly looks a bit like one of those bearded generals from the US Civil War and will most likely move up the chain of command as well.

    But Enda ain’t stupid and won’t forget to present the olive branch to his opponents. Some will get a fool’s pardon and others, like Richard, will have to be brought on board for the optics. There will be a few who will be left out in the cold, at least for now. This has been a tough little firefight.

    Brian Cowen must surely feel tempted to call a general election sooner than he originally intended, to take advantage of Fine Gael’s disarray. But he would want to move fast as FG has a history of internal squabbles which never really go too far. I still stick to my prediction of June 2011 as the most likely occasion for a run to the country but will keep a watching brief on that one.

    • Fergal says:

      There will be at most 9 FG people in the next cabinet (assuming FG/Lab get the numbers, by no means assured two years out) so these are really the people he needs to be thinking about for shadow cabinet to make sure they are ready to go on Day 1 in office. The rest is just keeping people happy or preparing them for Junior Ministries. I’d say half of the outgoing FG frontbench are known by under 5% of the population.

    • robespierre says:

      My sources Deaglán are that they won’t cut and run until they absolutely have to. They jacked-up the coup unfortunately but I think the most serious damage will be done if people like Richard rejoin the front bench.

      He has gained enormous credibility over the last 9 years. The way he can keep it is by honouring his vow not to serve on the front bench under Kenny.

      I also think that FG will give away Foreign Affairs, Justice and Enterprise this time to get their hands on Finance. I can’t see anyone other than Richard getting the job if FG are in power. Michael Noonan would be in his seventies in seven years time so without being ageist – one needs to avoid the place becoming a gerontocracy. The FF cabinet is mature, an FG one with those standing beside Kenny would average in the mid-50′s with many in Labours putative cabinet older again.

    • Kynos says:

      Interesting – you think we’ll get as far as ‘June 2011′ with such arbitrary measurements of time – let’s not forget manmade measurements – remaining relevant to anything breathing on the Earth then? Incorrigible optimist you Deaglan that’s why I read you need cheering up somedays.

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