Ó Broin, Boyd Barrett, Paul Murphy: all from backgrounds as ‘posh’ as FG leadership
Economic and social background is not a useful guide to ministerial ability
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
In the 20th anniversary edition of his 1991 book Jiving at the Crossroads, John Waters describes an exchange at a press conference during Charles Haughey’s last days as taoiseach, early in 1992. Haughey was responding to claims by former minister for justice Seán Doherty in a now iconic interview on the Nighthawks programme on RTÉ television that as taoiseach Haughey had been aware of the bugging of two journalists’ phones.
Asked by a journalist at the press conference whether the Doherty interview related to a leadership bid by “Albert Reynolds and the western alliance” Haughey threw back his head and corrected him: “You mean the country and western alliance.” “For a moment,” Waters writes, “the hostility of the press conference dissipated and Haughey had most of the journalists laughing and again eating out of his hands.”