So what are the "many, many" recommendations that don't make sense to Tánaiste Mary Coughlan?
She surprised the nation on Wednesday morning when, during a pretty amiable Leaders' Questions session with Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore, she revealed to the Dáil, "There are many recommendations in the McCarthy report which do not make sense. Many. Many…"
Coughlan did not specify what the "many, many" were, but the Sunday Tribune has analysed the Bord Snip Nua report and gauged opinion within Fianna Fáil to identify what they may be.
It was in response to a question from Eamon Gilmore about the closure of 350 rural garda stations that Coughlan questioned the sense behind parts of McCarthy's report.
With an annual saving of just €1m to be garnered from the closures, sources in the Department of Justice are privately saying that this will not happen. Can such an unpopular government afford to deal with 350 separate concerned rural lobby groups at a time when burglaries are on the rise? No chance of this happening in the lifetime of this government.
The Bord Snip Nua report argues that the government can save €11m if it ceases funding for this initiative. What may seem like an innocuous issue to many observers has developed into one of the most contentious recommendations among rural TDs. This particular cut is deeply unpopular among Fianna Fáil backbench TDs, who view McCarthy's report as being biased against rural Ireland. The issue was high on the agenda of backbenchers' concerns at the party's recent 'think-in' in Athlone. As the leadership cannot afford many more defections, this initiative may be put on the long finger.
McCarthy wants to chop the number of local authorities from 34 to 22. Given the size and population of the country there is no logical reason for so many local authorities. The fact Tipperary has two separate county councils is a case in point. But while it makes practical sense to merge local authorities it would be political suicidal for the government to embark on such a road. Does the most unpopular government in living memory need to experiment with kamikaze politics? No. So it just won't happen.
At present, medical-card holders are entitled to avail of prescription drugs without charge. McCarthy recommends card-holders pay €5 for all prescriptions. It is a modest charge and it offers the chance to raise €70m.
Given the fallout caused by the government's decision to remove the automatic right for all over 70s to have a medical card, the government will be reluctant to revisit a similar proposal.
If the government is concerned about the lobby groups that will emerge should they decide to close 350 rural garda stations, then they should be afraid, very afraid, if they start closing rural schools.
With a potential saving of €25m, the merger of smaller rural schools makes economic sense to a clinical economist who is ruled by balance sheets. The reality is that it does not make political sense and won't happen, in the life of this government at least.
It makes little economic sense for a cash-strapped government to proceed with this plan and McCarthy recommends that there should be no further development of the Western Rail Corridor.
At the cabinet table, éamon Ó Cuív has already spoken publicly about the threats posed by McCarthy's report to his community, rural and Gaeltacht affairs department. Other west of Ireland TDs also feel that McCarthy's report is 'anti-rural Ireland' so it may be too unpalatable for these TDs and junior minister Dara Calleary to accept this.
The Bord Snip Nua report recommends the state should not unnecessarily involve itself in providing services, so the profitable intercity bus services could strive as a privatised company. McCarthy suggests that the government should "further explore" this idea of selling Bus éireann Expressway. Facing into a winter of discontent from all angles the government may be content to let at least some sleeping dogs lie.
McCarthy suggests increasing the percentage of care costs contributed by an individual from the sale of their residence to a maximum of 22.5%, bringing in an extra €50m to the exchequer. The elderly are a demographic that is extremely politically sensitive – remember the medical cards? The scheme is not even operational yet so it is unlikely the government would risk such a move.
The Household Benefits package comprises the electricity allowance, telephone allowance and free television-licence schemes and it is generally available to everyone aged 66 and over who is in receipt of a social welfare-type payment or who fulfills a means test.
It is also available to carers and people with disabilities, and everyone over 70.
As the cost of the package will be €386m this year, McCarthy proposes treating it as taxable income. Again, this involves a politically sensitive move that the government may choose to ignore.
"We'll have to wait until the Commission on Taxation reports before we comment on that," was a favourite government phrase for months before the commission published its 550-page report two weeks ago.
Last Sunday Cowen said the report would be implemented in the long term.
"There's a long-term focus," he claimed. But don't be surprised if the government decides more and more of McCarthy's recommendations "do not make sense" and swathes of the report are shelved.