The Jigs and Reels of Government

The sacking last night of Minister for Agriculture and the Marine Barry Cowen will have an impact on the make up of the Cabinet and a potential short tenure in office for the Minister of State for Sport, Tourism and The Gaeltacht, Dara Calleary.

The Deputy Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party was disappointed not to be given a senior cabinet post when the Government was formed two weeks ago but gracefully accepted the role of Government Chief Whip and the Junior Ministry in the new Department of Media, Arts, Culture, Tourism, Sport and the Gaeltacht.

That grace is likely to be rewarded at an earlier opportunity than was thought possible which would free up the sport brief for another to step up.

In order to maintain the balance between the parties it will be a Fianna Fáil politician and there are 37 that were elected back in February.

13 of those are already involved in Government as Ministers or Ministers of State.

Seven of the remaining 24 are first time TD’s and while Norma Foley did step straight into Cabinet it would be more of a surprise if the new appointment was to come from that group.

That said, we know Paul McAuliffe and Cormac Devlin and both have a strong interest in sport. The addition of the Tourism brief has meant a strong Western influence in recent Governments with Michael Ring, Patrick O’Donovan and Brendan Griffin having served.

Two of the seven Fianna Fáil representatives from Dublin have a Government position as it stands, so it is likely to be distributed further from the capital.

Marc McSharry has been vocal on matters of the FAI. A number of others expressed disappointment at having been overlooked though in the cut throat world of politics those messages may now look to have been put out in haste, as rewards tend to be better placed in response to good rather than truculent behaviour.

It could all be academic as Dara calleary may choose to stay in his dual brief. Catherine Martin is settling in to her role as the Senior Minister and has been proactive around the FAI and on the passing of Jack Charlton.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin will want to move quickly and an announcement is expected following today’s Cabinet meeting.

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