Miriam Lord’s Week: Fine Gael gets the timing out for Limerick conference
Bloomberg chief impresses at Chamber of Commerce dinner
The impressive Dan Doctoroff, chief executive and president of Bloomberg, was the guest speaker at Thursday’s annual Dublin Chamber of Commerce dinner .Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons
So, Fine Gael holds its conference in Limerick today, with the Taoiseach and his Ministers away from base even though Tuesday’s budget hasn’t yet been finalised.
It’s rather inconvenient, if truth be told. The Labour side isn’t particularly impressed.
But when the date was arranged Enda’s people envisaged making the trip with a referendum victory in the bag and a hall full of supporters waiting to cheer their leader’s success.
“I’ve been studying by night for the past four years,” he tells us. “I began when I was in the Seanad, and decided to see it out when I was elected to the Dáil.”
JP tells us. “I’m not going to be practising for the foreseeable future. I hope.”
The parliamentary party has reduced in size since the last Fine Gael conference. We noticed this week that the members of the breakaway “RA” group – led by Lucinda Creighton – have taken to dining together in the back of the Dáil members’ restaurant at the table where the PDs used to sit.
One FG backbencher was intrigued on Wednesday night to see Paul Kehoe, the Government chief whip, occupying the table next to them. We don’t know if he was taking notes.
Meanwhile, back in Limerick, a lot of the talk is about the looming local elections. Selection conventions have been taking place around the country.
The names of the chosen candidates must go to the party’s national executive for ratification. The members can add names to the ticket or remove some.
They’ll be love-bombed by the hopefuls all weekend.
Speaking of love-bombing, the Senators were very well behaved at their first parliamentary party meeting since Enda tried to abolish them.
They know the Taoiseach is well aware that Senators gave him crucial support during the failed heave against his leadership.
So when Seanad reform is considered he won’t want to upset this valuable block of support anymore than he already has.
Former colleagues have strong words over Labour credentials
Strong words between Labour’s Eric Byrne and former party colleague Colm Keaveney in the Dáil on Thursday.
Keaveney had just been thrown off the agriculture committee to make way for Willie Penrose, who was readmitted to the parliamentary party having served his time following his mini-mutiny over the closure of Mullingar barracks.