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IRISH TIMES political editor Pat Leahy directed his sardonic derision at Helen McEntee last weekend following her embarrassing efforts to posture as a plausible justice minister on television following the mayhem in Dublin city centre.

“‘This is not,’ said Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, ‘about the streets being safe.’

“Half a mile away, Garda cars were in flames and mobs bashed their way through the front doors of shops to loot their contents. It is hard to see what else it might be about.

“McEntee is very much in the spotlight now, in her first major crisis as Minister for Justice since her appointment to the role in 2020.”

Ever since McEntee told the public that the streets of Dublin were safe last July she has been on the back foot. Insisting last week on repeating this ludicrous mantra after Dublin looked like Paris on a bad night was easily the minister’s worst day in office.

McEntee’s problem is not her media handlers as her own colleagues are now saying that she, not they, is the problem and she should no longer be allowed to remain as a minister.

But Leahy’s withering put down will have come as something of a shock to her most able handler, Fiach Kelly, whose crafting of McEntee’s media image has been very impressive. And why wouldn’t it? Kelly came to Helen’s side after several years as deputy political editor of the IT, where his immediate line manager would have been political editor Pat Leahy.

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