Is the spin-over-substance meme beginning to stick to the Taoiseach?
Pat Leahy: If Leo Varadkar won’t define himself, his opponents will do it for him
A projection of Leo Varadkar’s personality: the Taoiseach competing in Dublin City Triathlon last weekend. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
If you enjoyed the relative quietude of politics and politicians in recent weeks, sorry, but the holidays are over. Politicians were back at their desks this week, and the set pieces of the new political term will begin over the coming days. Sinn Féin meets for its think-in on Monday, with the other parties following in due course. The Cabinet meets on Wednesday after the August hiatus, but before that Fine Gael Ministers will gather on Tuesday for a political planning session. The requirement for “message discipline” – not saying things they’re not supposed to – will be impressed on them, I am told.
It is at this point that Mary Mitchell O’Connor, whose heretical thoughts on teachers’ pay annoyed her superiors no end, can be expected to stare hard at the table. But she is hardly the only one inclined to stray off the reservation. Two weeks ago Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty told The Irish Times that pensioners would not be her priority in the budget.