Boys For The Jobs



From top: Enda Kenny unveiling his junior ministers last week: Dan Boyle

The Taoiseach has missed the opportunity to promote each of his party’s TDs to ministerial rank.

Dan Boyle writes:

Twenty seven of the fifty Fine Gael TDs in Dáil Éireann now hold ministerial rank. Its backbenchers now constitute a minority of its parliamentary party.

In the days of old politics some of these could be partially placated by being appointed to chair one of the many Oireachtas committees that existed.

Oireachtas committees are not as numerous as they once were. This though could change. What will certainly change is the chair of these committees being in the gift of the government of the day.It’s more likely the majority of these roles will be played by opposition TDs. In a more accountable system they all should be.

There are other baubles to appeal to the injured ego. Heading delegations to British Irish Parliamentary Assembly, to the OSCE, to the World Parliamentary Forum; gives potential for foreign travel to mitigate the slighted self importance of some.

The problem for Taoiseach is that he doesn’t seem to be all that interested in accountability. He does care a lot about managing his party. He now has twenty three TDs who are not seen to be that important ‘up in Dublin’.

He should have seen through the courage of his (slight) convictions. He has missed the opportunity of promoting each of his party’s TDs to ministerial rank.

Finding suitable titles might prove a challenge. He could start by resurrecting some of the department headings he has thought now longer necessary for a cabinet position. There are other templates in place that might also help.

The role of Minister of State has in the past been used to develop a cross departmental approach to specified, often minority, interest groups.This approach has been used for women, for older people and younger people and for people with disability.

There hasn’t always been a sensitivity in how these offices should be titled. At a time, pre-politics, when I was involved in youth work, I thought that having a Minister for State for Youth Affairs was only asking for trouble.

A brave Taoiseach would appoint a Minister for State with special responsibility for the Travelling Community.

Once, in the Rainbow Government of 94-97 Liz McManus as a Democratic Left Minister of State, played something of this role but it related mainly to accommodation.

If the Taoiseach was honest about the political intent behind Minister of State appointments he would give them more appropriate titles.

I would like to suggest a Minster of State with responsibility for Funeral Attendances. Located in the Department of the Taoiseach, this Minister of State could assist in the Chief Whip’s office to ensure that all the appropriate funerals are attended, without key votes being missed.

Don’t laugh. It will save some civil servant reading the death notices.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle


37 thoughts on “Boys For The Jobs

  1. dav

    Ah Dan, the civilwarshirts won’t like that! They’ll be rolling in now to complain about your vicious attack on their dear leader

    1. classter

      What are you on about, dav? There would be no tears shed if Kenny was heaved tomorrow.

  2. Sido

    He now has twenty three TDs who are not seen to be that important ‘up in Dublin’
    – Jaysus no! How uninclusive.
    I thought this was a joke – then I read this, was by Dan Boyle.

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      I’m fairness to them, the 90s are coming back into fashion. Baggy suits are just the COOLEST!

    2. Cromuel

      The main qualification seems to be a big belly; when they grow the big belly and don’t wear braces, the waistband sliiiiiiides down under it and the trouser legs concertina as a result. They’re obviously not taking advantage of the Bike to Work scheme.

  3. Cata

    Dan complaining again about jobs for the boys. It’s a pity he never complains about pensions for the boys. Like the way that Dan Boyle receives a 19,000 euro a year pension ever since the voters rejected him. That’d be an article I’d be interested in reading.

      1. Cromuel

        Seriously, it would be an interesting piece, Dan – the enormous inequality between private sector pensions and those of the public sector; not to mention the gap between the ‘wages’ of public servants compared to their ‘packages’.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          I can’t see how that would br interesting unless you’re keen to stoke the public v private divide. It’s not Dan O’Boyles fault he gets a pension. Anger towards him is misplaced.

          1. Cromuel

            I’m not angry with people who get good pensions. I’d like to see a comparison on pensions, pay and packages between public and private sector.

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            It’s just you used the word ‘intersting’ and, seemingly, implored Dan or BS to do a piece on it. I can’t see how that conversation would go any other way than ‘the public sector get benefits we don’t get in the private sector and it’s not fair and/or public sector workers should be happy with their lot.’ It seems like it would be pointless and pitting worker vs worker distracts and misleads people from the real issue of the oligarchy we’re being marched into.

    1. The Key of G

      You seem consumed by jealousy.
      Your point is complete bollocks.
      Dan has decided to engage with you but I wouldn’t as your low grade trolling isn’t worthy of response.

  4. ollie

    “A brave Taoiseach would appoint a Minister for State with special responsibility for the Travelling Community.”
    No Dan, a brave Taoiseach would treat travellers the same as other Irish citizens.
    The same access to education, housing, health, community services and the same terms and conditions when it comes to work, social welfare, crime.

    1. Dan Boyle

      A better case than I was making. Travellers are behind the general population in every of those categories

    2. Nigel

      That’s the aspiration, and one way to get there from here might be to appoint a Minister. You can’t erase more than a century of marginalisation by waving your hands and saying ‘alright you’re all equal now.’

    3. classter

      Travellers are clearly a distinct group with distinct challenges.

      We can keep pretending otherwise if we want & scapegoating the whole lot of them.
      Both they & we lose out.

    4. classter

      Not to forget, travellers are one of the fastest growing groups in Irish society.
      Their problems will increasingly be your problems.

  5. fluffybiscuits


    I have been following your musings on Wales with interest. As a politico why not write about the future of the country tackle one issue each week and see it from a Green/left perspective.

    These half mealy mouthed pieces are nice and saturated with nice passive aggressiveness between the lines but its tired hat. You can do a good column…

    1. Dan Boyle

      I’m due back in Wales to vote in the Brexit referendum. Will try to pick up the theme then.

    1. Dan Boyle

      I can see how you’re confused. In other countries those on the left tend to support the taxation of capital assets.

      1. ollie

        In other countries those on the left tend to support the less well off whereas you Dan gave a tax break to someone who can afford a new BMW.

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