Frances Fitzgerald made ‘mistakes’: Paschal Donohoe’s refreshingly straight talking

There are many good and important reasons for cabinet solidarity and confidentiality.

Nevertheless, an occasional chink in the armour, an occasional dissenting voice offers a suggestion of individuality and independent thinking not always appreciated at this level of political management — even if it might be appreciated among some of the electorate.

In that context Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe’s acknowledgment that former justice minister Frances Fitzgerald had made a mistake over emails during her recent travails over the McCabe scandal is a refreshing if qualified counter to Fine Gael’s official and orchestrated position.

“I believe she made a mistake but I also don’t believe her exit from Government and her resignation were proportionate to that mistake,” he said. He did acknowledge that in the context of Government stability, and its capacity to at that very delicate Anglo/Irish/EU moment do what was necessary on Brexit, Ms Fitzgerald’s resignation was the right decision for her and the one for the Government.

Essentially he reminded us that politics is a tough game where wriggle room can be as scarce as a straight answer.

It might be adding two and two to get seven to suggest that Mr Donohoe has seen how very well Taoiseach Leo Varadkar built a national constituency by calling a spade a spade. After all his against-the-grain (slightly) assessment is straight out of the Varadkar playbook, editions 2012 to 2017.

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