TODAY’S interview with junior health minister Finian McGrath offers an unusual glimpse into the dynamics at play around the cabinet table.
Most particularly, he describes the changes — he might call them improvements — since Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan left high office. He speaks of a new inclusivity, a new recognition that diversity strengthens rather than weakens collective Government.
“We are now also fortunate to have a Taoiseach that encourages diversity ... in the previous cabinet that wasn’t there,” says the Independent Alliance deputy. “The previous taoiseach was very nice and courteous, but he would shut you down ... Leo gets the whole idea of diversity, that the Government is made up of Independents and Fine Gael and we we have to be listened to.”
A political interview, for the subject and for the interrogator, is a minor art form, sometimes used to paint a too- rosy picture. However, in this instance, it might be wise to accept that Leo Vardakar is still enjoying the latitude offered to most honeymooners. It is also more than likely that critics will, for the moment, express concerns in the privacy of Leinster House. Despite all of those reservations, and despite — or because of — Fianna Fáíl and Sinn Féin’s announcements on joining a coalition, there seems a growing sense that something significant has changed. However, we have to wait until the autumn to see if this optimism is justified.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved