Daly ‘gobsmacked’ that Varadkar picked ‘mediocre’ Cabinet
Dublin Fingal TD claims Taoiseach moving ‘chairs on Titanic’, ensures iceberg collision
‘We respect you but that doesn’t mean we’re going to spare you.’ Independents 4 Change TD Clare Daly. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Independents4Change TD Clare Daly said she believed Taoiseach Leo Varadkar had done a good job in the transport and health portfolios but she was “utterly gobsmacked and underwhelmed” with his Cabinet choices.
She described the decisions he made as “changing the chairs on the Titanic”.
Ms Daly said that on a number of issues he had shown “backbone” and “balls” and was someone “not afraid to stand out from the crowd”, but his Cabinet was one of “mediocrity”.
The Dublin Fingal TD said she remembered Mr Varadkar on Fingal County Council as “a larger person than you are now, attending late at meetings with a Mars bar and a can of Coke”.
She told him that while other TDs believed “you didn’t distinguish yourself in your ministerial offices, as far as I am concerned you did a good job in transport”. And when she had to go to him on health issues, he responded well.
Ms Daly added: “We respect you but that doesn’t mean we’re going to spare you.”
She said: “I am utterly gobsmacked and underwhelmed by the announcement of your new Cabinet. It’s not a good sign for your term in office.”
Ms Daly, a longtime campaigner on the treatment of Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe, said Mr Varadkar had answered her colleague Mick Wallace when they raised the issue.
Deckchairs on Titanic
She said he did not have “abundance” in terms of Cabinet choices but “by arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic you ensure you’re on a collision course for iceberg helped by your friends in Fianna Fáil.
Ms Daly said there were two things the Taoiseach could do to “show your Government is different”.
He could remove the Garda Commissioner from her position and that “will demonstrate leadership, seriousness and would give an absolute boost and would be a fitting conclusion to the journey you started with Maurice McCabe”.
She pointed out that 11 of the 15 phones Mr Justice Peter Charleton needed for his inquiry were lost.
And she condemned the promotion of former attorney general Maire Whelan to the “lucrative position” at the Court of Appeal.
“I don’t say it facetiously but she is probably the worst Attorney General in the history of the State”.
Ms Whelan was the “catalyst for the removal of (former garda commissioner) Martin Callinan and for “putting the former minister for justice and indeed the Taoiseach in an invidious position”.
Ms Daly told the new Taoiseach: “We want you to succeed. It is in the interests of the people of the State that you do but your decisions wouldn’t give us confidence.”