Proverbial brass neck a vitally important component in the anatomical structure of any holder of elected office
WHAT makes for a successful politico? Money, charm, confidence, the ability to tell a convincing lie and, by having the characteristics of an obsessively goal-orientated person, little or no conscience!
Oh, and lest we forget, the politico also must have the proverbial brass neck – a vitally important component in the anatomical structure of any holder of elected office.
In turn, a ‘brass neck’ can be defined in a general sense as having excessive confidence in one’s own political behaviour, and absolutely no sense of shame!
Our definition, of course, takes into consideration the terribly important work of a TD and of the fact that if a politico doesn’t attend to his constituents’ concerns, however dog-eared and depressing they might be, he/she hasn’t a snowballs of ever hitting the Big-Slot-Jackpot in Dáil Éireann, the ministerial appointment.
And, indeed, as far as contemporary politicos are concerned, only two political issues matter in the ascent of the slippery pole: health and housing. Forty per cent of voters believe health to be the most important issue on the agenda, while thirty-two per cent say it is housing.
All of which, of course, is par for the course of our national politicos, currently enjoying the plush delights of the Convention Centre in Dublin. Terrified of catching the Covid-19 virus in Leinster House, they fled en masse to the Convention Centre where great debates regarding the future of Ireland (and possibly mankind) now take place!
Importantly, social distancing is absolutely essential for our super-important legislators, particularly on occasions when it is necessary for all members of Dáil Éireann to be present to debate a motion.
Happily, the Convention Centre owners are trousering €25,000 per day for the Dáil’s use of the building, plus an initial €110k (a once-off-set-up fee) to cover costs relating to electronic and broadcasting expenses.
Yes, that’s correct! Twenty five thousand smackers for every day Dáil Éireann assembles in the building!
Far from considering it a waste of money, our public representatives are delighted with the Convention Centre and with the fact that it exudes a sort of florid vulgarity that our TDs appreciate, and with which they feel splendidly at home.
And the seats! Ah, the super comfortable seats that adapt so easily to the excessive weight and huge buttocks of Ireland’s over-fed politicos! It’s as if the seats literally summon sleep as Greenie leader, Éamon Ryan, can well testify to, having ‘bombed-out’ in one of them during a critical Dáil meeting. Images of the dozing Greenie went around the world.
But, sleeping habits aside, senators and TDs are not too happy with having to legislate from the Convention Centre and are drifting back to Leinster House, complaining of a ‘disconnect’ from their equipment, staff, and subsidised grub.
One of them, prominent Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry, pointed out that the daily cost of staff and facilities at the Convention Centre was an ‘abject waste of money.’
He said that ‘Leinster House had all the necessary facilities and, with a pinch of imagination, needlessly wasting €25,000 a day to host Oireachtas sittings at the Convention Centre could have been avoided,’ he said.
And then, somewhat chuffed at the positive response to his observations, Mr MacSharry decided to milk the issue by ‘having a go’ at civil servants. But he hit below the belt, accusing them of exploiting the pandemic as an excuse to stay at home, where they laid on a couch and watched ‘box sets’!
His comments were condemned by trade union leader, Ciarán Campbell, who accused MacSharry of making ‘distasteful comments.’ He complained that politicians should not use the Dáil to launch a ‘reprehensible attack’ on workers unable to defend themselves against scurrilous comments.
‘MacSharry had no evidence of what he was alleging, other than some sort of personal anecdote,’ complained Mr Campbell.
Interestingly, under the deal ‘negotiated’ with the Blueshirts, MacSharry’s Fianna Fáil party are getting a stab at government, but – and here’s the good bit – the government will be dependent on the very same civil servants that MacSharry denounced as ‘lazy’ – a word with all the implications of being workshy, shiftless and bone idle, when we know, of course, they’re anything but!
An unnamed senior civil servant commented very quietly on the future scenario: ‘Mr MacSharry will need us. Oh yes! Of that there’s no doubt.’
An example of why Varadkar’s coalition gets so effectively up the nostrils of the ordinary punter may well be attributed to the revelation that Simon Coveney, although no longer Tánaiste, can keep his Garda driver and that Vlad gets an aide-de-camp (a military officer acting as a confidential assistant), just like the President of Ireland.
Mary Lou McDonald put it succinctly when she said that if Coveney wanted a driver, his party, Fine Gael, should pay, not the State. She complained that, although Coveney had an important job to do, it did not require a State car and a driver at a cost of €200,000 per annum.
Up to this, the only politicos entitled to a State car and Garda driver were the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Justice Minister. The Sinn Féin leader complained that, since Coveney was no longer the Tánaiste, he should not have access to the free car and driver.
Ms McDonald said: ‘Every political party receives State funding. Parties receive a leader’s allowance which is quite substantial. Until Michéal Martin became Taoiseach, he took part of that allowance – €30,000 – to top up his own salary. I think that’s the kind of resource you use to provide the kind of assistance someone like Mr Coveney would require.’
Fianna Fáil dissidents
And, let’s not forget Young Dev (Éamon Ó Cuív) and his merry band of Fianna Fáil dissidents (at least 50 councillors and over 1,000 party members). They pull no punches in expressing their unease at the grimy ‘arrangement’ that enabled Mickey to become an unelected Taoiseach until 2022, when Fine Gael’s Vlad again will take over.
Sticking in ‘Young Dev’s’ craw, of course, is the unholy alliance between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the ludicrous Greenies. He points to Fine Gael’s abysmal record in housing and social justice issues and argues there was nothing in the coalition deal for the Gaeltacht or for parents raising children through the Irish language.
Ó Cuív also highlights Fianna Fáil’s collapse in recent opinion polls and says that any coalition with Fine Gael could end in the total demise of the Soldiers of Destiny. He says the electorate does not want Fine Gael in government and will punish FF for facilitating their path to government.