Fine Gael board of trustees is no big secret

Miriam Lord’s political week

Mon, Jun 9, 2014, 17:53

Labour TDs have a month of electioneering to endure before they get a new leader and deputy leader – that’s four weeks of being overly nice to people they have no intention of voting for.

We hear Alex White, who is vying with Joan Burton for the top spot, spent much of the week trying to get over the trauma of his campaign launch on the Rosie Hackett bridge. Alex got a bit of a media savaging over medical cards and his role in Eamon Gilmore’s resignation.

And in a strange twist Joan is coming over as a conciliatory Coalition gal while Alex is busy building himself up as a tough guy.

Burton has been portrayed as someone who will stand up to Fine Gael to the point of bringing down the Government. White has been portrayed as a ministerial yes-man for the status quo.

Now Joan wants to apply plasters to the Coalition’s aching corns and Alex wants to step on them.

Meanwhile, the outcome is of huge interest to Fine Gael’s wounded deputies as they need time for the Coalition to steady.

Some members are not happy with the “five- a-side” group of backbenchers. Members of the policy group wrote to The Irish Times last summer calling for €3.1 billion in cuts and taxes to be implemented in the budget.

Now that the electorate has left Fine Gael in no doubt as to the damage inflicted by widespread cuts, complaints by formerly gung-ho “five-a-side” members about cuts are not going down well with colleagues.

Everyone’s a bit frazzled at the moment.

KERRY IN UNITED PARTY MODE ON JOBS It’s all happening in Kerry, with a post civil war Fianna Fáil mayor elected yesterday with help from Fine Gael, and Fine Gael Senator Tom Sheahan launching an offensive to keep Jimmy Deenihan in Enda Kenny’s Cabinet.

The Minister for Arts is very definitely in the ministerial Departure Lounge with talk that he will be among the senior Ministers dropped by Enda to make way for some new faces.

But not if Sheahan has anything to do with it. He wants a united, all-party effort in the battle to Save Jimmy’s Job and has urged Kerry politicians of all persuasions to petition the Taoiseach on Jimmy’s behalf.

“Having a Minister at the Cabinet table is inval-a-ble” he told Radio Kerry yesterday. He was not being party political, said Tom, who was happy to recognise that “Kerry did very well” when Fianna Fáil’s John O’Donoghue and Labour’s Dick Spring were ministers.

*This article was amended on June 9th, 2014 to correct a factual error.  Fine Gael trustee Mary Hayes was mistakenly described as a partner in the law firm of Mason Hayes Curran. She is a partner in the firm of Gore and Grimes.