Division Bell: When the coalition sounded just like FF

Ministers deliver for their constituencies because voters reward them for it, writes Political Editor Pat Leahy.

3rd February, 2013
'If there is a story that a minister is in trouble, there's a better than 50-50 chance it's about Reilly.'

'It's the big D!" Charlie McCreevy whispered urgently over a bad phone line to Stockholm. "What?" responded environment minister Martin Cullen. "The big D!" McCreevy repeated. "The big what?" "D! D! De-fucking-centralisation! What do you want and where do you want it?"

The above exchange occurred between the then finance minister and Cullen in the days before the budget of December 2003 was delivered, when the Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrats coalition launched its unexpected decentralisation programme....

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