In the Numbers
As Leo Varadkar hands over the job of Taoiseach, his rating in the polls is 75 per cent. While his handling of the coronavirus has a bearing on that, just as it does with the current Australian PM (59 per cent), the figure is exceptional for someone standing down. The way that his government has handled the situation has 72 per cent approval. Contrast those figures with the numbers for the main parties: Fine Gael 37, Fianna Fail 14, Green 12, Sinn Fein 25.
As to the new coalition of Fianna Fail-Fine Gael-Green, one-third of voters surveyed say they would have preferred another election.
Playing with the big boys
Ireland won a seat in the UN Security Council for 2021-22. ‘Won’ seems to be the appropriate word, the decision following a secret ballot among the 192 members. There were three countries vying for the two vacancies, the others being Norway and Canada, the last-named losing out.
Ireland has had a two-year seat on this 15-member world body on three previous occasions: 1962, 1981 and 2001. One of the privileges of the role is to be chair of the body for one month.
The new Dail cabinet has 17 members, divided as follows: Fianna Fail 6, Fine Gael 8, Green 3. Women have not fared well in that selection. Only four of the 17 are women, while the number of women in the 19-member junior ministry is five.
And yet more …
On July 9, Victoria reported 134 new cases of coronavirus. The corresponding number in Ireland was 11.
In the courts
Gerry Adams is suing the BBC for defamation in a program in which it was alleged that he sanctioned the killing of a former Sinn Fein member who was a double agent for the British.
Meanwhile former Minister for Justice John O’Donoghue is suing Tralee newspaper Kerry Eye for materials they published about him.