Garret FitzGeralds rejects

Garret FitzGerald has been reviled for excluding women from his shadow cabinet, but the fact is that it isn't his fault. He offered the Posts and Teleegraphs "shadow" to Joan Burke, who took 24 hours to think about it and then turned it down.

We can also dear up doubt about the exclusion of Paddy Donegan and Oliver J. Flanagan from the front bench. There was no question of their going quietly and of their own volition to the backkbenches. They were fired. Garret simply didn't want to be associated with either.

Mark Clinton was offered the deputy leadership and right up to the morning of the announcement of the front bench he seemed about to accept. However he changed his mind at the last moment, partly because of age considerations; he will be 67 before the party has any prospect of returning to power.

Garret has made it clear to his front benchers that they either perform or get lost, not indeed that there is any great back up talent on the backbenches.