Updated: 10/11/17 : 06:00:54
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Leo lines up first speech as party leader tonight

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor

THE TEST of any good leader is to be seen as ever authoritative and never authoritarian.

That dovetails nicely into one of my favorite definitions of good management.

Namely, getting work done through people, not by people.

Stated Wish

So where stands Leo Varadkar as he heads into his first annual conference speech tonight as leader of Fine Gael.

The one thing we know about him is a publicly stated plan to be out of the job by the time he is fifty.

Time will tell if he gets anywhere close on thirteen years in the top post.

Strange coincidence but Jack Lynch, Charles Haughey and Bertie Ahern all did close on thirteen years before the mast.

In contrast Albert Reynolds barely got thirty  months despite getting the biggest ever leadership endorsement on the day he was picked 25 years ago.

Polls, Pranks

The former British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan warned wisely of what trips up party leaders who lead their country - ‘events, dear boy, events.’

So to Cavan: The ‘Blueshirts’ are heading to Ballyconnell for tonight’s Leader’s Speech, buoyed both by polls and by the pranks of other politicians.

Leo can huff and puff all he wants on live TV tonight but he knows he will be defined at the next Dáil election by the letter ‘H,’ health and housing.

Grand Gestures

Neither of those is amendable to Grand Gestures, of which Leo (or his image makers) seem to have an arsenal aplenty.

Tacky socks for Trudeau, a tasteful but still inopportune poppy badge, a table for two in Chicago, gung-ho on gay rights marches anywhere in the globe.

Remember that test of a leader? Ever Authoritative, Never Authoritian. Hmm.

At the time of writing John Halligan remains a junior Minister although he seems not to promulgate Government policy.

That policy upholds the law of land in 21st century Ireland, a country which - in theory anyway - is good on workers’ rights.

Same Set

If there was kindergarten pre-school classes for Cabinet prospectives, top of the learning list would be the Three Rs, the basics.

 Basics? At an interview all persons must/should be asked the same set of questions.

Basics such as the nine grounds written down in law on which you cannot discriminate. Kindergarten was never as clear-cut.

House Arrest

On Halligan, evidence in the public domain would suggest that Leo Varadkar’s Minister falls short. But will he fall on his sword?

That, coupled with the junior Cabinet partner’s caper on Korea suggests a Taoiseach neither authoritative nor authoritarian after six months in post.

‘Roll it there Collette,’ as Gaybo used to say: What would happen if the Korean guy placed his guests under house arrest, would not let our solo-run Ministers leave his country.

The jokers will probably jest and say ‘oh they’re welcome to keep Shane Ross for a while.’ 

Levity is something you can expect somewhere in the speech tonight of Leo Varadkar as leader.

He would be well advised to steer any wisecracks well clear of the ‘wee North.’

In Wednesday’s Irish News Dr Brian Feeney wrote a sobering assessment and overview of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

That all is not well there is about to be further underlined by the courts in Belfast.

The courts seem likely to direct the PSNI on the necessity, on behalf of Irish citizenry, to investigate specific crimes.

Lest we forget — in her book “Lethal Allies,” Anne Cadwallader revealed how the British State and its security apparatus may be linked to up to 120 uninvestigated murders of Catholics.