The new government takes office


And so, Bertie is re-elected Taoiseach and names his cabinet. And the Greens get two seats around the table, which will at least make up for getting frig all policy-wise, unless you count loft insulation and a someday maybe carbon tax as grand steps forward. Hell, at least Esau could eat a mess of pottage.
The word is that the Greens have scored two important ministries. Looked at from the Machiavellian point of view, which is often the best strategy where Bertie is concerned, they have two poisoned chalices. Gormley is in charge of the Galway water supply and Ryan the Corrib pipeline, both issues dear to the hearts of the nice people who vote Green, but where they will have limited opportunity to improve things.

Otherwise it’s more or less as you were, aside from O’Donoghue being shunted over to the Ceann Comhairle’s chair to clear some space. Biffo is of course an immovable object. Harney is still in Health, as predicted. Mary Hanafin, who has proven that nobody can handle the teaching unions like a teacher, retains Education. De Valera scion and uncrowned King of Connacht Éamon Ó Cuív remains in situ as Minister of Culchies and Gaeilgeoirí, which will come in handy for quietly building up his personal machine in the West. And so on.

Martin Cullen is still in the cabinet. Why?

Aside from the Greens, the interesting appointment is that of young Brian Lenihan to the Justice Department vacated by Dirty Mike. It seems an obvious move for one of the few sharp legal minds in the Dáil, a bona fide constitutional expert, and someone who has been waiting on promotion for years. But I can’t help seeing the double-edged sword. Brian may turn out to be a really good Justice Minister, which will of course reflect well on Bertie’s inspired appointment. But if, say, there is a major crime wave, I suspect Brian and not Bertie will be fucked.

And finally, since I’m always glad to see a prediction coming right, I am cheered by Bertie’s announcement that Bev Flynn may well get the whip back after all. This is the icing on the cake, and very much of a piece with Jackie the Cap’s envelope of goodies for South Kerry. All is as it should be in this great little country of ours. Huzzah!

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