Taoiseach Micheál Martin has brought Dara Calleary back from the cold by installing him as junior minister at the Enterprise Ministry to replace Robert Troy, who resigned last week amid controversy over his property interests.
Here are eight things you need to know about the Mayo TD, who himself resigned after a short-lived stint as Agriculture Secretary for attending the “Golfgate” event during the pandemic.
1 After the hapless Robert Troy – who was ousted a week ago for failing to declare his property – this successor is no stranger to “political wars”. He got his first taste of government in April 2009 when the new Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, took over from Bertie Ahern amid the dark storm clouds of the economic recession.
2 Calleary was weeks shy of his 36th birthday in 2009 and was first-time Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo, based in Ballina in the north of the constituency, when he was appointed Junior Minister at the Department for Enterprise. Coincidentally, this is the office he’s returning to and hoping to build a career comeback from.
3 The year 2020 was one of the setbacks for Dara Calleary. He was vice-chairman of an underperforming Fianna Fáil that went to the general election in February. The party received a disappointing 23 percent of the vote and lost six seats. Some party members blamed him for an election program and campaign that lacked convincing content.
4 The first major setback came on June 27, 2020 when he failed to make Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s first team. He had to be content with Prime Minister Whip, which entitled him to attend cabinet meetings, and Junior Sports Minister. There was a backlash among partisans, many of whom also argued that the west of Ireland had been betrayed.
5 A brief reprieve came weeks later, on July 15, 2020, when he was appointed Agriculture Secretary to replace Barry Cowen, who was subsequently sacked with the party leadership. The comeback was short-lived, however, as he was forced to quit on August 20 amid fierce controversy surrounding a golf outing and politicians’ dinner in Clifden at the height of the Covid epidemic. Supporters thought he was unhappy, especially since a court later acquitted the organizers of any wrongdoing.
6 For the past two years, he’s kept his head down, worked in the Mayo constituency, and caused no trouble for the often-embattled Taoiseach and party leader. This was in contrast to Barry Cowen, who has publicly criticized a lack of party leadership.
7 Dara Calleary’s silence and loyalty seem to have paid off. He hopes this appointment as junior minister will be the prelude to a return to full cabinet next December. A major reshuffle between the two major coalition parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, is announced to follow respective leaders Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar swapping jobs on December 15. Check out this area.
8. Politics is in his blood. His late father, Seán Calleary, was a Fianna Fáil TD from 1973 to 1992 and was also a junior minister. His grandfather, Phelim Calleary, was also TD for Mayo between 1952 and 1969. This political background helped him back in May 2007 when he himself was first elected to the Dáil, surprising many observers. He hopes that happiness will return.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/the-comeback-kid-8-things-you-need-to-know-about-dara-calleary-41950385.html The comeback kid: 8 things you need to know about Dara Calleary