More people from business needed in the Dail?
Back in March of 2007 I queried the professional backgrounds of the then FF/PD cabinet with respect to their experience of the realities of making things and what could be termed the productive sector of the economy. Batt O’Keeffe appears to have revived interest in the topic in recent days by suggesting that we need more people that are in his view business people, “farmers,managers and auctioneers”, in the Dail. So taking his key how does the new Cabinet measure up?
Taoiseach Brian Cowen – A local small town solicitor.
Mary Harney – was very briefly a secondary school teacher between her graduation in 1976 and her appointment to the Seanad by Jack Lynch in 1977.
Mary Coughlan - Very briefly worked as a social worker after college before taking her seat in a bye election.
Brian Lenihan – a barrister who was a lecturer in TCD and practised as a barrister before becoming a TD.
Brendan Smith – Oddly enough it appears he is the most professionally immersed in politics even while outside of elected politics as for a decade and a half he worked as special advisor to the Fianna Fáil TD and former Tánaiste John Wilson before becoming a TD.
John Gormley – Prior to entering full-time politics he ran an academy of European languages. So he was certainly in business though it was more the services end of things rather than what I’d term ‘making stuff’. Still it is a positive tick in his column.
Eamon Ryan – As far as I know he has run a couple of businesses involving the holiday trade and cycling. Another positive tick.
Bartholomew “Batt” O’Keeffe - Batt was a lecturer in CIT so I reckon that doesn’t count as a business background. Not sure what he lectured in but since it was a BA he got in UCC, I’m inclined to doubt that it was anything too technical or perhaps even all that practical either.
Dermot Ahern - A local solicitor
Noel Dempsey – A career guidance teacher
Mary Hanafin – A secondary school teacher
Micheál Martin – A secondary school teacher.
Martin Cullen – worked as a sales manager for a wine company. Seriously a wine company! He had at a point prior to that spent time in Zimbabwe or Rhodesia as it was then called seeking his fortune.
Willie O’Dea – O’Dea worked as a barrister and an accountant, and lectured at University College Dublin and the University of Limerick well it was still NIHE Limerick at the time he was there.
Éamon Ó Cuív – was manager of Gaeltacht Co-operative, a company involved in agricultural services including timber milling, tourism and cultural development. Apparently, this was very much a hands off role.
And finally while not a member of the cabinet but given his frequent appearances on the telly, his role in the Lisbon debate and his own belief in himself we should take a look at the FF main man from Wicklow.