An Irish woman's social, political and domestic commentary
Monday, October 18, 2004  

Conor Lenihan

Conor was appointed as Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs last week. He's in charge of the Overseas Aid Budget which Bertie Ahern at the UN as part of our lick-arse campaign to get on the Security Council promised would be 0.7% of our GNP. Bertie forgot that this wasn't some typical Irish style election promise which no one in their wildest dreams would expect him to keep. So when Conor arrived in his new office last week and stated the blindingly obvious, which was that there was no way the budget would make the 0.7 and might stick at 0.4, he got himself into a lot of trouble. The weird thing is that by stating it in such a blunt fashion, such a row was created that now the government will actually be forced into keeping the commitment. If he had shut-up and said nothing, the target would simply have been allowed to quietly fail. The question is: Is that what he intended? It's impossible to tell, particularly as the Drapier column described Conor on Saturday in these terms:

"Conor, it should be said, is almost universally regarded in Leinster House as affable but mad - not raving loony mad but certainly well short of a full Meccano set.

He has a fluency which would grace any mart in the west of Ireland. He is chirpy, jovial and committed. You wouldn't hesitate to put him in charge of the best of kiddies' parties. You could easily imagine him as the MC in a better-than-average circus.

Bertie, of course did neither of the above. Instead, he chose to put Conor in charge of our relationship with the Third World.

Shortly after Conor's appointment Pat Rabbitte spoke eloquently in the Dáil about the reverberations which the appointment would cause the length and breadth of sub-Saharan Africa.

But even the prescient Pat could never have imagined that within a week Conor would be condemned by all the aid agencies bar none, rebuked by the Tánaiste and provoked the diplomatic equivalent of an RPG from the secretary general of the United Nations."

I know Conor and the above description is quite accurate. But how hilarious that it should be stated so in our paper of record. I hope Conor wasn't hurt.

posted by Sarah | 11:14 1 comments
My theory is that Bertie said to Conor Lenihan and Dermot Ahern: if you're getting the plum Iveagh House jobs, there's a little bit of kite-flying I need each of you to do as an initiation rite -- missing the aid target, and coalition with the Shinners. What are the odds of these two issues suddenly appearing in the same week, with new ministers, and with Bertie conveniently travelling for most of the controversy, and the resolution in both cases being the status quo? It's a cliche but it's true...the cleverest, most cunning of them all.
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