Miriam Lord: Taoiseach now faces wrath of the Angry Birds

Kenny overlooked his female TDs’ claims for junior ministries

Wed, Jul 16, 2014, 01:00

McHugh will take a “refresher course”, Enda blithely told an almost apoplectic Éamon Ó Cuív of Fianna Fáil.

Labour’s Joe Costello wanted to remain on as minister of state at the Department of Foreign Affairs. He said as much, but Joan Burton wasn’t inclined to listen.

The forlorn five have something else in common – they’re all, in varying degrees, getting a bit long in the tooth. Their fate led to an outbreak of WB Yeats among sympathetic male colleagues of a certain age as they went about muttering “This is no country for old men.”

Apart from his new Cabinet Minister Heather Humphreys – who still looked shocked yesterday – the Taoiseach completely overlooked his female deputies’ claims for advancement to junior positions.

The Labour Party was decidedly smug about their part in the reshuffle. In fact, had it not been for their contingent on the steps – Tánaiste Joan Burton, Ann Phelan and Kathleen Lynch, the family photo would have been a total embarrassment, with or without Enda’s missing Mickey.

Does it matter a whit?

We’re talking about Ministers of State, so probably not.

But Fine Gael’s female TDs – with their Senators in full support – were deeply unhappy yesterday afternoon.

It wasn’t long before Leinster House wags, with a very non-PC nod to the hugely popular video game, had christened them The Angry Birds.

There were a lot of happy faces around too.

Wicklow’s Simon Harris now assumes the waistcoat of Brian Hayes, since departed to Europe, as Fine Gael’s resident Infant Phenomenon.

Hayes was described as “prematurely waistcoated” after he arrived on the political scene fresh-faced but speaking with the gravitas of a politician twice his age. Harris (27) is in the same mould.

He has landed the top job as Michael Noonan’s sweeper in the Department of Finance.

His excellent performance in the European elections will have helped his cause, but his impressive performances at the Public Accounts Committee won’t have gone unnoticed either.

The elevation of Labour’s Aodhán Ó Ríordáin had independent TD Finian McGrath bemoaning his lot in political life to anyone who would listen. “I’ve a senior and junior minister on my patch now,” he wailed. “I won’t have a chance in the next election.”

The old sympathy trick.

It could work wonders for Finian in Dublin Bay North.

Aodhán was delighted, but his joy was tempered by the fact that his wife Aine Kerr, managing editor of Storyful, was in New York yesterday.

“She’s gone for three weeks. She asked if she should stay around, just in case, but I told her I’d no chance of getting anything.”

Speaking of no chances, Fine Gael’s “five a-side” group of young, ambitious TDs were left on the bench. That won’t help their mood.

Michael Ring, though, was in flying form. “When I was launching the Horse Show in the RDS I told them: ‘This is the one show that’s definitely going on for five nights.”

He was quietly confident of keeping his job. He’d said a prayer before leaving Mayo.

“Our Lady of Knock looked after me,” said Ringo. Which is more than she did for the ladies of Leinster House.

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