Ministerial woe of Heather Humphreys
It’s no fun being a Minister. You wait your whole political life to get appointed and then when it happens you face only problems. Heather Humphreys is learning these lessons the hard way. This week has not been a good one. The Taoiseach may say he is taking responsibility but it’s difficult to see Heather Humphreys emerging from this with any self respect intact.
She has spent the last few days wandering about with all the effectiveness of a frustrated giraffe. Clearly visible but unable to make a sound. You see there are only two possible scenarios and neither look good.
Firstly, if we take Enda Kenny’s story at face value, then a rogue official went to the Minister. So, we are led to believe that Heather Humphreys, a senior Minister, was effectively told what to do by an FG party official and she capitulated. There is supposed to be a certain authority that goes with being a Minister. A certain belief that, as the representative of the people, you are not easily pushed about. Instead it plays out like a scene from ‘Yes Minister’ where the hapless Humphreys has no real clue what is going on but does what the party official wants as surely they know best. If that’s true then it will be hard to believe that Humphreys can ever be seen as a strong politician of conviction again. Instead she appears to be a party makeweight at the cabinet table.
There is another scenario. Perhaps she felt the Official was speaking on behalf of the Taoiseach. Perhaps the official implied this in the discussion. Now, it is more understandable that a Minister jumps when the Taoiseach asks. But if this is the case then the official does need to be named and resign if it is true that Enda Kenny had no knowledge. This is not happening because if Humphreys felt that was the case, then, for the sake of her own reputation, she needed to say that. She didn’t. Her vow of silence leaves the matter in the Taoiseach’s hands. He is not too worried about what the official said. Only Heather knows who the message was implied to have come from.
The mute swan of Monaghan has left her reputation in tatters by either blindly following party officials or else by lacking the conviction to state who actually said what. It would seem that survival is all that matters even if it comes at great cost to your reputation.