Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ireland's New Government

Today is the first full day for our new Government and all news and media reports have an expectant mood that this new brush will sweep better than the old one. Enda Kenny is Taoiseach, and a new Cabinet has been appointed - but will it work?
Photo from Irish Times.
My first impression is that this is a male-dominated aging Cabinet - the average age is 56.5 years, I worked it out. Indeed only Simon Coveney (48) and Leo Varadkar (32) are under the age of 50 - I didn't think that 13 out of 15 Cabinet Ministers would be older than me. Six of the cabinet are over 60 (soon to be 7 when Enda turns 60 on April 24th next. Remember that it is intended that this Cabinet runs the country for the next 4 to 5 years. In 2016 Michael Noonan will be 72 - he's past the retirement age already! I'm trying not to be ageist here, but I expected a breath of fresh air - not the same old faces who have been moaning for the past 10 years.

It is also disappointing that there are only two women in the Cabinet - neither in a senior position. It is clear to me that both Kenny and Gilmore are repaying favours. I hope the first Cabinet re-shuffle is not too far away so that a clear-out can take place.

Finally - I am puzzled by the appointment of Seán Barrett as Ceann Comhairle. He is our local TD and did well in the recent election (despite me not voting for him). The TD appointed to the Ceann Comhairle position is automatically returned at the next next election. Barrett will be 67 this year and if the Government runs full term he will be 71 or 72 at the next election. What's going on? Surely he will not retire before the next election as he will not have to contest it. I'm being ageist again, but I for one don't think we should be represented in the next Dáil by a 72 year old for the following five years?

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