Miriam Lord’s Week: Eddie will be okay if Lucinda has her way

Creighton lines up breakfast briefing for female political journalists, a sort of ‘Ladies Who Launch’ event

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and  Tánaiste Joan Burton  at a press conference on the outcome of their  Cabinet meeting  on jobs this week.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton at a press conference on the outcome of their Cabinet meeting on jobs this week. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Alas, we couldn’t make it to Lucinda Creighton’s breakfast gig yesterday morning owing to the fact that we were stuck to the bed with fright after hearing on radio that she would like to see Eddie Hobbs become a government minister.

Although, why not? Economist Eddie (from the telly) is involved with Lucinda in plans to launch a new political party next month. The TD for Dublin South East told the Irish Daily Star yesterday that she hoped Hobbs would run for the Dáil. “I would like Eddie to be in a position to be a minister after the next election,” she said.

This is not a new idea. Once upon a time, when Creighton was still a fully functioning member of the Fine Gael Government, her erstwhile boss had a similar wheeze, although it turned out that Enda’s plans for his telly economist weren’t as ambitious. But he didn’t tell George Lee that.

The voters of Dublin South went mad for RTÉ’s economics correspondent and sent him to Leinster House on a landslide. Once the party had his seat in the bag, however, poor George was shunted to a cold sideline in the shadow of Richard Bruton and sundry others with longer claims to advancement.

George is back in Montrose – a softer nest of vipers than the one he landed in when he opted for politics, but Lucinda, who is on a mission to demonstrate the right path to Fine Gael, won’t let Eddie suffer the same fate should her future party hold the balance of power.

The former junior minister for Europe has been putting herself about in print and across the airwaves in recent weeks, while also meeting senior media figures as she continues to plan for her new political party.

She lined up a breakfast briefing for political journalists yesterday morning. The event raised eyebrows among reporters when it emerged that only female journalists were invited for an update on how her project is progressing. A sort of “Ladies Who Launch” event.

We hear the sizeable contingent who turned up for the meeting in the Little Museum of Dublin were quite impressed by Creighton, although they learned little new since her pre-launch launch-type launch in Buswells Hotel at the start of this month.

The party still hasn’t got a name – although some of her former Fine Gael colleagues, mindful of the fact that she left the party because of her opposition to the Human Life and Bolting the Floodgates in Pregnancy Bill, have given it a name. They’re calling it: “Papal Before Profit.”

Meanwhile, Winston Churchtown, the Lord Ross of Dublin South, is continuing with his plans to form an alliance of like-minded Independent TDs for re-election. We hear they have “a gang of new councillors on board” and no shortage of potential election candidates.

Lucinda Creighton also says she has a lot of people keen to run under her new party’s flag, whatever it may be.

Ross and his colleague Finian McGrath were in deep conversation near the Dáil bar yesterday when Labour’s Pat Rabbitte beetled past. “You two look very busy there, plotting away,” he observed. “I presume you’re very upset about Harry Potter. ”

They looked blankly at the smiling Rabbitte who, of course, was referring to the withdrawal this week of bespectacled, fresh-faced young TD Stephen Donnelly from their enterprise. There was a pause, and then Ross and McGrath fell around the place laughing. And Pat padded contentedly on, his work done.

Extra few bob

These random strangers regularly rush up to Enda and tell him their problems. And he might tell them about the things his Government is doing to address them and they might tell him they are beginning to notice an improvement. It isn’t uncommon for these chance meetings to end with a heartfelt “keep up the good work!” from all concerned.

Funny, the same thing used to happen to Bertie Ahern all the time. He couldn’t step out the door of St Luke’s without a constituent giving out to him about the opposition or displaying an impressive grasp of his government’s wonderful policies.

Anyway, just in case you are one of those considerate souls who took the time and trouble to contact the Taoiseach’s department, be happy to know you made a weary Fine Gael leader very happy. He couldn’t wait to tell everyone on his way into the Cabinet meeting before the new Dáil session on Wednesday. The budget adjustments are beginning to kick-in for taxpayers – a welcome development.

“It was great to see, last week, some people contacting us and saying, ‘I’m not sure whether it was a mistake or not, but I seem to have got extra money in this last payment’,” he said.

But it’s what you do, isn’t it? You check your wages to find your tax burden has eased a little. You wonder if this might be a mistake. You ring the government. Not to confess, but to say thanks. Budget architects Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin must be feeling a bit miffed, though. Nobody ever seems to ring them.

38 years in Labour

Brendan Corish

“I have great respect and fond memories of each and every one of them,” Ita told colleagues in a farewell note, reserving a special mention for Eamon Gilmore who appointed her to the position of general secretary in 2009. “As leader, Eamon dedicated every waking moment to the betterment of this country and the success of the Labour Party, and working alongside him was always an honour and a privilege.”

As for his successor, Ita remarked it was fitting that Joan Burton “became the first woman leader of the Labour Party, given her lifelong commitment to equality and a just society”.

After nearly 40 years in Ely Place and Leinster House, McAuliffe had some words of encouragement for her Labour comrades. “We have seen tremendous victories and disappointing setbacks. The one constant amid the vagaries of electoral politics has been the commitment and loyalty of our membership. At our best we are a critical, vocal and exacting bunch, and rightly so.”

She didn’t elaborate on what they are like at their worst.

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