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 (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review

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PostSubject: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 8:41 pm

Taoiseach: Brian Cowen
Tanaiste: Mary Coughlan
Finance: Brian Lenihan
Foreign Affairs: Micheal Martin
Justice: Dermot Ahern
Health: Mary Harney
Education: Batt O'Keefe
Defence: Willie O'Dea

Agriculture: Brendan Smith
Energy and Communications: Eamonn Ryan
Environment: John Gormley
Transport and The Marine: Noel Dempsey
Enterprise Trade and Employment: Mary Coughlan
Community Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs: Eamonn O'Cuiv
Sport, Arts and Tourism: Martin Cullen
Social and Faily Affairs: Mary Hanafin
Chief Whip: Pat Carey
Attorney General: Paul Gallagher SC

Super Junior (Children): Barry Andrews??

Gone: Billy Kelleher?, Tom Kitt?


Last edited by cactus flower on Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:50 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : agri)
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PostSubject: Re: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 8:44 pm

The King is dead - Long live the King - as expected no real changes - is there that much of a dearth in talent in the FF party at the moment?
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PostSubject: Re: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 8:47 pm

I am not very familiar with these people but am interested in who will be finance minister. Is this position not political suicide. Would Lenihan not have aspirations of the top job and leave the toxic job to one of his future competitors for the job. He seems to be nobodies fool.
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PostSubject: Re: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 8:57 pm

A bad day for Tom Kitt. He doesn't seem to have done much wrong over the last 8 years and has been a loyal servant in a tough job without getting a promotion. Now he is the only person to get sacked from the cabinet table.

Bad for FF in Dublin South in particular with two faces gone from the cabinet table and Eamonn Ryan now promoted to being the main man in the constituency. BC known to get on very well with Maria Corrigan and he has certainly done her no harm.

Hanafin cannot be happy after all the work she has done in her department and in the media over the past few years. It looks like she failed the popularity test in the end and Cowen's talk of promoting women seems hollow as he demotes one of the star performers. Perhaps Mary coughlan benefited from that attack on the fair sex and hence the promotion to Tanaiste?
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PostSubject: Re: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 9:02 pm

So Lenehan has accepted the job. I didn't realise that this was the announced cabinet.
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PostSubject: Re: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 9:05 pm

Lenihan has indeed accepted the Job. A pretty meteoric rise to be Minister for Finance only a year after being appointed to the cabinet. One has to guess that Cowen has appointed him because he thinks he is the smartest guy in the room. There is no time for poison chalices - Cowen's neck is lined up alongside Lenihan's on the chopping block.
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PostSubject: Re: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 9:09 pm

Edo wrote:
The King is dead - Long live the King - as expected no real changes - is there that much of a dearth in talent in the FF party at the moment?

What're you talking about? We have the first female Fianna Fáil Tánaiste, a big demotion for Mary Hanafin, a big promotion for both Mary Coughlan and Brian Lenihan, reshuffle of Ahern and Martin's positions and two new faces in Cabinet.

Only three people are still in their old positions and only one FF is in their previous job. It's a much bigger re-shuffle than I expected. This re-shuffle will be complemented with the changes after we send our Commissioner to Europe next year.
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PostSubject: Re: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 9:12 pm

My limited impression of Lenihan is indeed that he is a fine man. It is possible that Cowen would lay the cards on the table and let everybody know that drastic action is called for. Others whose opinion I admire hold Cowen in high regard. Should Cowen take the bull by the horns he would get a lot of support.
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PostSubject: Re: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 9:13 pm

Brian Lenihan has certainly been given the most important Ministry but also the one fraught with the difficulties.

Something of a poisoned chalice really...
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PostSubject: Re: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 9:25 pm

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
Edo wrote:
The King is dead - Long live the King - as expected no real changes - is there that much of a dearth in talent in the FF party at the moment?

What're you talking about? We have the first female Fianna Fáil Tánaiste, a big demotion for Mary Hanafin, a big promotion for both Mary Coughlan and Brian Lenihan, reshuffle of Ahern and Martin's positions and two new faces in Cabinet.

Only three people are still in their old positions and only one FF is in their previous job. It's a much bigger re-shuffle than I expected. This re-shuffle will be complemented with the changes after we send our Commissioner to Europe next year.

Sorry Ard - I dont rate Mary Coughlan at all - I think she was next to useless in fighting Irelands corner when it came to Agriculture and fnisheries in Brussels and also in promoting a new agenda to get the farming community to start rethinking how their business is run - far too easily domesticated by the Civil servants around her - obviously the Farming community think so too given the hoopla over the WTO and Lisbon. The rest - well I think we hold a far lower standard for competence and intelligence in government than we do in any other sector of Irish society and I say taking all the members of Dail Eireann into account.

Its time to revisit the consititution when it comes to what exactly we want in a Minister - Im going more and more towards a system that allows the Taoiseach of the day being allowed bring others from outside the dail into ministeries - individuals who wouldn't have a chance in our electoral system , but would be great managers and strategic thinkers without the political intrigue and clientalism that consumes 99% of our elected representatives time in the first place.
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PostSubject: Re: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 9:33 pm

Edo wrote:


Sorry Ard - I dont rate Mary Coughlan at all - I think she was next to useless in fighting Irelands corner when it came to Agriculture and fnisheries in Brussels and also in promoting a new agenda to get the farming community to start rethinking how their business is run - far too easily domesticated by the Civil servants around her - obviously the Farming community think so too given the hoopla over the WTO and Lisbon. The rest - well I think we hold a far lower standard for competence and intelligence in government than we do in any other sector of Irish society and I say taking all the members of Dail Eireann into account.

I mustn't have been clear. The change I'm talking about is in terms of personnel. Coming from the Ahern era where 3 changes in Cabinet was considered major change, this is a huge transformation of the team for Government. In personnel, this is a transformed Government.

Quote :
Its time to revisit the consititution when it comes to what exactly we want in a Minister - Im going more and more towards a system that allows the Taoiseach of the day being allowed bring others from outside the dail into ministeries - individuals who wouldn't have a chance in our electoral system , but would be great managers and strategic thinkers without the political intrigue and clientalism that consumes 99% of our elected representatives time in the first place.

Well, that's mving towards a presidential system, isn't it? And there are troublee with that, not least the lack of direct accountability of the Cabinet to the sovereign Irish people. And, are you just saying this because it's FF, somehow I feel you wouldn't be this negative if it was Taoiseach Enda Kenny announcing a new Cabinet to the Dáil.
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PostSubject: Re: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 9:38 pm

Edo wrote:
Its time to revisit the consititution when it comes to what exactly we
want in a Minister - Im going more and more towards a system that
allows the Taoiseach of the day being allowed bring others from outside
the dail into ministeries - individuals who wouldn't have a chance in
our electoral system , but would be great managers and strategic
thinkers without the political intrigue and clientalism that consumes
99% of our elected representatives time in the first place.

Could you expand on that Edo?

I think you're suggesting that the Taoiseach be allowed to assign ministerial positions to business executives? Forgive me if I'm jumping to the wrong conclusion here.
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PostSubject: Re: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 9:40 pm

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
Edo wrote:


Sorry Ard - I dont rate Mary Coughlan at all - I think she was next to useless in fighting Irelands corner when it came to Agriculture and fnisheries in Brussels and also in promoting a new agenda to get the farming community to start rethinking how their business is run - far too easily domesticated by the Civil servants around her - obviously the Farming community think so too given the hoopla over the WTO and Lisbon. The rest - well I think we hold a far lower standard for competence and intelligence in government than we do in any other sector of Irish society and I say taking all the members of Dail Eireann into account.

I mustn't have been clear. The change I'm talking about is in terms of personnel. Coming from the Ahern era where 3 changes in Cabinet was considered major change, this is a huge transformation of the team for Government. In personnel, this is a transformed Government.

Quote :
Its time to revisit the consititution when it comes to what exactly we want in a Minister - Im going more and more towards a system that allows the Taoiseach of the day being allowed bring others from outside the dail into ministeries - individuals who wouldn't have a chance in our electoral system , but would be great managers and strategic thinkers without the political intrigue and clientalism that consumes 99% of our elected representatives time in the first place.

Well, that's mving towards a presidential system, isn't it? And there are troublee with that, not least the lack of direct accountability of the Cabinet to the sovereign Irish people. And, are you just saying this because it's FF, somehow I feel you wouldn't be this negative if it was Taoiseach Enda Kenny announcing a new Cabinet to the Dáil.

If just rearranging the deckchairs - some of these people have been in office ten years now and are way past their sell by dates - if I was making a statement about a new start - I'd have done far more than this.

No as I said - I am getting deeply deeply cynical about the whole process of governing here - FG as currently stands would be 5 times worse -They might be a bit hungerier but the talent simply isnt there - its a joke - compentent people avoid politics like the plague and even when they do stand they havent a hope against the cute hoer clientalist who is protecting the fiefdom - I will probably leave FG after the Lisbon campaign is over - I am deeply depressed about all the things political at the moment in this country.
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PostSubject: Re: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 9:43 pm

Hermes wrote:
Edo wrote:
Its time to revisit the consititution when it comes to what exactly we
want in a Minister - Im going more and more towards a system that
allows the Taoiseach of the day being allowed bring others from outside
the dail into ministeries - individuals who wouldn't have a chance in
our electoral system , but would be great managers and strategic
thinkers without the political intrigue and clientalism that consumes
99% of our elected representatives time in the first place.

Could you expand on that Edo?

I think you're suggesting that the Taoiseach be allowed to assign ministerial positions to business executives? Forgive me if I'm jumping to the wrong conclusion here.

Leaving ideology aside for a moment Hermes - I am neither a socialist,communist,capitalist or facist - Im a pragmatist - if it works and it benefits the vast majority of the electorate well lets run with it - if somebody with a business background is brought in - given the mission and the contract and told to get on with it - suits me fine -same as if a trade unionist is brought in - if they are competent and interested in the job - bring it on- at the end of the day the Taoiseach is accountable to the Dail and thus to the country - at least we would have more choice than the fossilised gene pool that is Dail Eireann.
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PostSubject: Re: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 9:49 pm

Well God help me for saying this, cause I am a lefist. But I couldn't agree with you more. Maybe the methodology behind such a change might cause some rigorous debate between us, but they're mere details. A ministerial position should involve a job description and a candidate qualified and capable of executing that position.

Betcha didn't think I was going there Wink
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PostSubject: Re: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 9:49 pm

A Taoiseach with guts already could - through nomination to the Seanad. Senators are permitted to serve in cabinet.
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PostSubject: Re: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 10:01 pm

Hermes wrote:
Well God help me for saying this, cause I am a lefist. But I couldn't agree with you more. Maybe the methodology behind such a change might cause some rigorous debate between us, but they're mere details. A ministerial position should involve a job description and a candidate qualified and capable of executing that position.

Betcha didn't think I was going there Wink

Of course you agree with me - it makes sense Very Happy

Ministers owe their position to the Taoiseach of the day - not any kind of bolloxology about accountablity to the Dail!!! - Ard - are ya having a laugh there? Name one Irish Minister since the beginning of time who resigned or was fired for being fcuking useless???........well....................yep...........grass growing over there.........................................I didn't think so either.

Teachtai Daili - messengers to the dail - thats what TDs are and that is what they should stick to being.

Ministers are primarily managerial roles - The Taoiseach ,on behalf of his grouping lays out the conditions and mission objective and interviews and selects the best candidate and then lets them get on the with job which should compose primarily of scaring the bejeezus out of the permanent government- the Civil Service. If they fail - well the Taoiseach can dismiss them with out any fear of losing a second seat in Kerry South or allowing a cabal of schemers on the backbenches have a figure head - this clientalist parish pump politics has got to end here.
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PostSubject: Re: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 10:09 pm

Edo wrote:
this clientalist parish pump politics has got to end here.

Have larger constituencies and less TDs is another option. We already have one of the highest ratios of representatives to constituents in the EU.

So basic crude scenario. Have say 25, 4 seat constituencies. This reduces the number of TDs by 66. Increase the powers of the Seanad and have direct elections thereof. Reinvest the money saved by having less TDs in making being a councillor more attractive, by way of salary etc. Strengthen the power of local councils over local affairs. Then you move local issues out of the Dáil and into local councils... in theory anyway. Of course you need to also tackle the gombeenism which goes on in local councils, but hopefully if you made the package there more attractive and included other oversight mechanisms you could move away from it.

I also think we should have less local councils, each of which would be bigger. We need to forget this county-ism which is attached to councils. Councils should reflect, not the historical counties of Ireland, but the actual reality in how society works. So therefore you might have a Dublin City Council and then a council for the Greater Dublin Area, rather than the different councils that are around it. Then Wexford, Waterford, Kilkenny might all be in one regional council, or whatever...

Drastically altering the number of TDs would of course require a Referendum as the constitution states that you must have one TD per minimum 20,000 constituents and maximum 30,000 constituents. It is highly unlikely that any of the TDs would bring forward a bill for a Referendum of this type as it increases their likelihood of losing a seat.


Last edited by johnfás on Wed May 07, 2008 10:31 pm; edited 4 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 10:09 pm

johnfás wrote:
A Taoiseach with guts already could - through nomination to the Seanad. Senators are permitted to serve in cabinet.

The constitution allows for 2 members of the Seanad to be ministers. Perhaps this should be changed so that 2 ministers MUST be appointed from the Seanad. This option has only been used a couple of times, the last being when Garret FitzGerald appointed Prof Dooge to the cabinet.

The govt is a real disappointment - it is the same dreary crew. I may be an FG supporter but I had hoped for some changes (although it is good to see Hanafin demoted). Very conservative by Cowen - it really looks like government by the civil service from now on. Leaving Harney in health is really an abdication of responsibility.
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PostSubject: Re: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 10:22 pm

A qualified cabinet would also dramatically improve accountability (not to mention ability and results). Currenty, if a minister makes a mess of things, the electorate are told to blame themselves (I'm being very broad - however, you rarely see a crap minister hung out to dry). If the cabinet was selected based on qualifications and abilities, they would be fully accountable to the Taoiseach and indeed his or her accountability to us would be a lot less ethereal and vague.

Christ - can you imagine the scenario if a school was run the way the State is? The mere thought of it is laughable. Why is this not the case with the way the country is run - is it ingrained in us?
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PostSubject: Re: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 10:35 pm

I believe the usual objection to such ideas is that they are undemocratic.
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PostSubject: Re: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 10:37 pm

ibis wrote:
I believe the usual objection to such ideas is that they are undemocratic.

As Churchill said "The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter". Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 10:40 pm

johnfás wrote:
ibis wrote:
I believe the usual objection to such ideas is that they are undemocratic.

As Churchill said "The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter". Very Happy

Yes, but p.ie wasn't around then. You can get the same impression in 30 seconds now.
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PostSubject: Re: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 10:42 pm

DeGaulle wrote:
Leaving Harney in health is really an abdication of responsibility.

Why? In 2002, Ireland's life expectancy was 75.1 for males and 80.3 for females. Linkk.

In 2007, after 3 years of Harney as Minister, that was 75.3 and 80.7.

Death rates in Ireland, are amongst the lowest in Europe

And our health service has improved rapidly according to the Euro-Canada Consumer Health Index.


Harney will be remembered as one of the great Ministers of modern times. She's doing great.
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PostSubject: Re: (Nearly) NEW CABINET - 6 Months Review   Wed May 07, 2008 10:46 pm

Ibis wrote:
I believe the usual objection to such ideas is that they are undemocratic.

Surely it could be argued that presently the results of our democratic process are in themselves undemocratic, particularly so with regard to representation?

I don't mean to be unkind, but for example, our current minister for health would make a better poster child for the health service than she does a minister.

You'll never have a fully efficient machine, that's a given. If needs are met and rights respected etc. we come closer to a democracy imo.
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