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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: March 3, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

    Fantasy Cabinet

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    As usual, to pass the time prior to the formation of a new government, we indulge in a little bit of  fantasy cabinet-making. It’s particularly difficult on this occasion and I’m not happy with  scarcity of non-Dublin TDs on the list, for example, but here goes. Not to be taken too seriously: let’s be having your list in return.

    Taoiseach: Enda Kenny

    Tánaiste and Minister for Education: Eamon Gilmore

    Finance: Michael Noonan
    Enterprise: Joan Burton

    Public Sector Reform: Richard Bruton

    Justice: Pat Rabbitte
    Communications, etc: Leo Varadkar

    Transport: Fergus O’Dowd
    Environment: Phil  Hogan
    Foreign Affairs: Ruairí Quinn
    Health: Dr James Reilly
    Social Protection: Róisín Shortall
    Agriculture: Paul Kehoe
    Tourism and Community, Equality, etc: Frances FitzGerald
    Defence and Gaeltacht: Simon Coveney
    Attorney General: Alan Shatter
    Chief Whip: Michael Ring

    Ceann Comhairle:  Brendan Howlin

    • Bellminx says:

      Surely Fine Gael will put Mary Mitchell as Minister for Transport..!!
      Lord help us but I think that awkwardly embarrassing incident is probably going to serve as an allegory for what this new government will be about (especially if it’s going to be a FG/Labour coalition, which is a political oxymoron)
      Lord save us, but we’ve elected people to the Dáil that can’t even negotiate the car park of Leinster House never mind anything else !

      Actually, Deaglan, it looks like you’ve probably got it exactly right — Oh but to be sure, to be absolutely sure, I just got a brilliant idea — why doesn’t some tech savvy journalist attach a “bug” somewhere onto one of the FG/Labour negotiators as they try to capture an interview with them at the Dáil gates? Who wouldn’t love to be a “fly on the wall” at those negotiations — I can just imagine Joan B squabbling with Michael N over the finance portfolio — “Calm down, Joan, calm down. You just can’t have it. It’s mine, I tell you, mine, all mine” says Michael Noonan “We’re the bigger party and I’m a man and you’ll just have to do what your told now Joan”. “That’s outrageous — why you’re just another sexist bully like Vincent………….continues Joan long into the night………….

    • Clare Coyle says:

      A sound list Déaglán, but I think my ‘fantasy’ cabinet might involve a bit more in the way of fantasy…yours doesn’t seem to stretch beyond Labour/Fine Gael! :)

    • JOhn says:

      Where’s Education?

    • Observer says:

      I reckon at this stage nine of the FG people are nailed on for reasons of geography, gender, optics and loyalty; Kenny, Reilly, Hogan, Shatter, Noonan, Fitzgerald, Coveney, O’Dowd and Bruton. After that it is wide open, and it will tell alot as to whether Kenny goes for talent, geography or loyalty.

      If it is talent, then Varadkar is the obvious choice. Since he was the second most high profile FG spokesperson after Noonan during the campaign it would be the ultimate example of cynical politics to have him outside the cabinet. How can you promote people to cabinet who had little to do with FG’s electoral mandate on a national level, and ignore one of the main architects of the same?

      If it is geography it will probably be a second minister from the west, the likes of Naughten or Ring.

      With regard to Labour, I cannot see beyond Gilmore, Rabbitte, Quinn and Burton. Then a final slot for someone outside the pale in Howlin most likely, or the outside bet of Sherlock.

      However, this may change is Shatter gets the AG gig which would free up another place. I presume if FG get the AG gig in Shatter, then the trade off would be Ruairi Quinn for the Commissioner’s gig, which would then be a place in cabinet for a further Labour person in four years time.

    • Bellminx says:

      Alan Shatter — Attorney General ? Aw %#&*”> brilliant !! I hear the ladettes cheer

    • Paul says:

      Fairly spot on, however i expect Ruairi Quinn to get the Education brief and Gilmore Foreign Affairs, and not the other way around. Makes sense to have your rival in the ministry where that position calls for being out of the country as much as possible!
      Labour will have to be placated with Social Protection for not getting the Finance job, shame Burton has to be accomodated rather than Bruton in Enterprise role, great to see Quinn and Rabbitte in strong positions.

    • Michael says:

      Dr James Reilly in charge of Health? You’re having a laugh. He was the one who negotiated on behalf of GP’s for the HSE contracts that are currently bleeding the system dry. Some people might think that poachers make good gamekeepers but I reckon it just makes them better poachers!

    • Cathal says:

      I can’t see Brendan Howlin being happy to take on the role of Ceann Comhairle. Would imagine he would like to get involved in policy making rather than chair the Dail. Eamon Gilmore for Education? I would think he he might go for Foreign Affairs and let Ruairi Quinn take Education.

    • robespierre says:

      Actually Observer, Denis Naughten is a pretty smart guy and I’d rate him.

      If you look at who has been invited back into the fold that went against Kenny last year, none of the forgiven are from the west hence Denis is set for some time kicking his heels which is a shame as he is articulate and can be a forthright speaker albeit one who has little experience outside politics.

      Deaglán, I think your list is pretty close to what it will be alright although geography and gender will play a role and this list has 10 of the 18 from Dublin, 2 each from Wexford and Mayo, 1 from Kilkenny, Cork, Louth and Limerick. So that is two in Munster, two in Connacht and 14 in Leinster. Now I personally don’ see an issue with that as there is no pork to hand out anyway and we are hopefully moving away from the Fianna Fáil culture and way of doing things but let’s be realistic Labour and FG people have also been guilty of graft. As puritans however it has often blown-up in their face like the famous Tullymander that tightened FF’s grip on control.

      On a related point, is there a precedent for the AG being a member of parliament? Would this trigger a by-election? I know they have the numbers but would they want to go to Dublin South again??? Kenny is also close to Kevin O’Higgins who represented him at the Moriarty Tribunal and is heavily involved with the party hierarchy.

    • Tim Wall says:

      The idea that this right-wing Fine Gael/Labour cabinet will do anything to help ordinary people in Ireland is indeed a pure fantasy.
      So let’s have a real left cabinet that would fight for ordinary people, reject the IMF/EU cuts deal and make the rich bankers pay for their crisis, not the working class:
      Joe Higgins for Taoiseach, Clare Daly for Economy and Transport, Joan Collins for Education and Health, Richard Boyd Barrett for International Affairs, Seamus Healy for Jobs and Workers’ Rights, Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan for Agriculture…

    • David says:

      You did say “Fantasy”. In which case:
      1. skill and ability should be first
      2. a national government beyond party boundaries

      Taoiseach: Micheál Martin
      Tánaiste: Eamon Gilmore
      Finance: Ruairí Quinn
      Enterprise: Richard Bruton
      Public Sector Reform: Alan Shatter
      Health: Leo Varadkar
      Ceann Comhairle: Enda Kenny

      M, apptitude and

    • Emmett says:

      Not sure what the etc part after Communications is but i wouldnt put Veradker anyway near anything to do with the Corrib Gas Field after his comments on Carey signing off on the pipe consents. Same old bullshit that FF were saying about the project since it started

    • Patrick K says:

      Seems a good like a good list. Not sure if Public sector Reform is the best use of Bruton, it needs someone of hi stature but what a struggle that will be. Labor will need someone able for No 2 in Finance ? Alex White could be that man. God willing they will be an honest and hardworking cabinet. Please folks no strokes, just be honest with the people and we will get through this nightmare.

    • Dan says:

      Taoiseach: John F Kennedy
      Tánaiste: That pink haired cricketer fella
      Finance: Nick Leeson
      Enterprise: Gordon Gecko
      Public Sector Reform: Josef Stalin
      Health: Diego Maradonna
      Ceann Comhairle: Enda Kenny

    • Conor Kelly says:

      I’m with Clare Coyle in that we could do with a lot more fantasy than offered by Deaglan. I suggest Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson and …… no, that should do it. I reckon that pair would be enough (and we’d save money on ministers’ salaries). Ok, Joe Higgins and Michael D could join them to give a hand.

      Who said Varadkar is talented? I heard him on Vincent Browne’s TV show, refusing to accept that raising the VAT rate would impact more on poorer people – despite this being patiently explained to him by the economist sitting next to him. She also quoted research to back up her, entirely self-evident, point. He may be a doctor but he could do with some more education.

      Conor Kelly.

    • fk says:

      The proposed list of responsibilities is simply far too long.
      Given that the announcement of a new cabinet will represent an important statement of intent, it would be more appropriate if the incoming Taoiseach were to show from the outset that he is going to run a much tighter ship. Accordingly, at least three of the proposed posts in the above list should be folded into others. Are we not all agreed on the need for a culture change by renouncing the practice of “jobs for the boys”? Looked at from another perspective, the entire population of Ireland is roughly comparable with that of many European cities. Such cities are usually best run in the same manner as a well run business i.e. via a streamlined executive committee.

    • Bellminx says:

      It’s 2 °C and MOSTLY CLOUDY in Helsinki today — just thought I’d let yis know, since Enda is headin’ over now…….
      It’s 10.7 °C and MOSTLY CLOUDY in Athens today — just thought I’d let yis know, since Eamon is headin’ over now…
      Which of them gets the Gov. jet, I wonder……….

    • The Jackal says:

      Don’t be surprised to see some structural compromise in respect of the Department of Finance eg Michael Noonan getting the job with Joan Burton heading up an expanded Department of Economic Recovery ie a beefed up Department of Enterprise.

    • Seán says:

      Lucina Creighton – Justice and Law Reform
      Michael Noonan – Finance
      Richard Bruton – Enterprise and Industry
      Pat Rabbitte – Defence
      Joan Burton – Energy and Environment
      Brian Hayes – Education and Gaeltacht
      Roisin Shortall – Foreign Affairs
      Leo Varadkar – Agriculture
      Phil Hogan – Sport and Tourism

    • John B. Reid says:

      Finance: Michael Noonan

      Justice: Leo Varadkar

      Health, Children & Family Affairs: Lucinda Creighton

      Enterprise: John McGuinness

      Public Sector Reform: Shane Ross

      Transport: Richard Bruton

      Attorney General: Eugene Regan

      Agriculture: Simon Coveney

      Foreign Affairs: Phil Hogan

      Education: Senator Rónán Mullen

    • Del Boy says:

      I note that Mary Mitchell is a popular choice as Minister for Transport. But given the aims of FG’s newly elected Sean Kyne (Galway West). He might make a good alternative? Seans first proposals are, to get Galways long projected by-pass up and running (currently held up in the European Courts system), build Galways new Deepwater port (will go the way of Dublin and Corks projected port expansions), and, to develop the proposed new coast road to Rosamhil, Co Galway (also likely to fall foul of European Habitat Directives). On the other hand, it might not be such a good idea at all ,since, in 29 years of wriggling his way around the Dail, Frank Fahey could’nt manage to promote to finality any of these issues either. What chance has a poor newcomer like Sean.

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