Butcher, Baker, Cabinet-Maker
Deaglán de Bréadún
It’s an unlikely prospect, but if any TDs in the Government parties feel they were excluded from Cabinet because of either being too young or a female, a legal case could theoretically be taken against the Taoiseach and Tánaiste.
The recent encounter betweeen Michael Noonan and Joan Burton on the Pat Kenny radio show gives a clue as to why she failed to get one of the Finance ministies. It was clear from that broadcast that the Fine Gael TD from Limerick was not a great fan of his Labour counterpart from Dublin West.
It has been clear for a long time that Eamon Gilmore is a big fan of Joan’s at a political level. He has often spoken of his admiration for her tireless work as Finance Spokeswoman. But it does appear as if Noonan and Burton in the same building in Merrion Street could have been a difficult political marriage, with the grand partnership of Fine Gael and Labour ending up on the rocks in fairly short order.
That, rather than any gender discrimination, was probably the issue. Having said that, however, there should be more women in Government. There should also be more women in the Dail. And women, who make up half the population, should in my humble opinion (along with progressive-minded males) make a point of voting for women candidates. By the same token, when female TDs retire, they should seek to bring other women on in their place rather than backing a male family relative (as should progressively-minded male Deputies.)
As for the age thing, yes, this Cabinet leans a good bit towards the “senior” side. It would have been refreshing to see some newish faces at the table. But young-ish doesn’t necessarily mean good and if this lot can get a handle on the economic situation nobody will care if they have as many bus-passes as Methuselah.