Government throws in towel on perfection
DÁIL SKETCH:“You’ve more cheek than the backside of a retired jockey.” The response of Labour’s Colm Keaveney last night to remarks from Mattie McGrath (formerly of Fianna Fáil) during a debate on pensions and retirement lump sums for politicians.
But let’s get away from the depressing talk of pensions and bonuses and fat cat salaries – it was bankers’ remuneration during Leaders’ Questions – and celebrate a good day in the political life of the Minister for Health.
We always knew he was good at the strokes, but this one is a triumph.
Not only did he get to make the announcement about the new children’s hospital, he also managed to have it named after himself.
Well done, Dr Reilly.
James’s hospital it is so.
How did Enda miss that opportunity? It’s very rare these days that a major announcement takes place in Government Buildings without the involvement of the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste.
No sign of either of them yesterday.
Usually at these events – particularly if good news is involved – Enda and Eamon pull rank on the Minister who worked to bring it about and turn up at the launch to take their glory.
And here we were, with a decision at long last on the location of the new children’s hospital. Building to begin as soon as possible, subject to planning and a few little bits and pieces.
A decision worth shouting about, one would have thought. Who isn’t in favour of getting this facility built? Full steam ahead for the children! With the Cabinet coming over all decisive yesterday morning and giving Dr Reilly the green light, we fully expected to see Enda and Eamon tootling towards the top table for the press conference.
Instead, he had the gig to himself. That’s not to say James was alone, because he wasn’t.
To one side of him sat Labour’s Alex White, who looked worried and didn’t say a word.
Junior minister White has a very dangerous job, which entails flinging himself between Reilly and Labour in the event of another ministerial blow-up, thus shielding his party from the blast.
He’s like a coiled spring is poor Alex.
The Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald, sat on the other side. She also looked worried and didn’t say anything either.
You can’t blame the woman. Frances has been doing Trojan work during the children’s referendum campaign. It was very brave of her to turn up at all yesterday.
She must have been terrified that John Waters would arrive and start shouting at her. Again.
Dr Reilly was hugely pleased to announce it was full steam ahead on the project.