OVER Christmas and New Year our politicos had a lot to talk about – most of it dross. But the same cannot be said of the intriguing comments from the very respectable Fine Gael Government Chief Whip, Ms Regina Doherty, and the equally-respectable Fine Gael Minister of State at the Department of Health, Ms Helen McEntee. The pair experienced a sort of contretemps that the nation quickly learned about.
And it was all because Helen didn’t say ‘Hi girl, how are ya?’ to Regina when she encountered her in the corridors of Leinster House! Regina referred to the rebuff in a national newspaper, commenting that Helen would ‘walk past her’ and not ‘even blink her eyes.’ Terrible altogether!
Worse still, Regina didn’t really know the reason for Helen’s sniffy non-blinking attitude towards her, although the newspaper coyly suggested that there was ‘fierce rivalry’ between the two ladies. For her part, Helen was determined to have ‘the matter’ sorted out ‘internally,’ adding that it was utterly inappropriate for Regina to have made such a comment about a colleague.
The intensity of the personal drama between Helen and Regina, deep within the bowels of Leinster House, impressed everybody no end, especially this scribe.
So, look it, for what it’s worth, we’ve taken sides. We think Regina is in the right. And we know exactly what’s bugging her because it’s not cool when someone you’re working with, and whom you always thought to be your very, very best friend, gives you the cold shoulder. That hurts. It really does.
I mean, don’t you hate it when people ignore you? It annoys us big time too, especially if the person involved is a bit of an attention seeker and just loves to be admired by everyone on the planet – well, in Ireland anyway.
So here’s our advice: Helen, cop yourself on and give Regina a break! What you’re doing is just so ... so pathetic!
(Watch this space for the next instalment of the tangled interpersonal situations and dramatic real life events of Regina and Helen, stars of the newest Dáil soap opera entitled ‘On The Blink’! – Ed)
Bad old days?
Meanwhile, Junior Minister Deputy Canney, a one-issue Independent Alliance chap whose speciality is ‘flooding defence,’ reinforced his simplistic Yuletide ‘flood-message’ with comments such as ‘we’re in action mode right now... we’re looking at solutions not reports ... no one will be forgotten or left behind ... rural Ireland has not been forgotten.’
But suddenly he changed tack and filled us with overpowering wonder, thanks to a speech that had absolutely nothing to do with rural Ireland and ‘taking silt and stuff from the Shannon.’ Temporarily abandoning his sodden soapbox, he warned the plain people of Ireland that public sector pay was ‘dragging the country back to the bad old days.’
As if reading from one of Dame Enda’s speeches in large print, the action-mode man said the ‘government must not give in to calls to speed up the restoration of pre-crash pay rates.
‘We have to be responsible,’ he advised, as he lashed public service workers, kinda forgetting in the process that he’s trousering a whopping €121,000 as a ministerial public sector employee –and a very pampered one at that!
Of course, it wasn’t long before Johnny Halligan again tickled our fancy with his ‘effing and blindin.’ Described by De Paper (January 6th) as the minister who calls the Council of Europe a ‘waste of f***ing space,’ his use of foul language is legendary.
The Sunday Independent reported on September 9th that, if he didn’t get his way, he’d bring down the Government. ‘I am not going to be f***ed over by anybody,’ he warned. Last June, The Journal.ie revealed that he was so angry with landlords that he would ‘jail the bastards’ and that ‘we still have developers and speculators wrecking the f***ing country.’
Without a doubt, he’s an outstanding Dáil example of the new breed of deconstruction linguists that considers swearing an apt vehicle for expressing strong emotions! On the other hand, the man in Dinty’s might have had a point when he said ‘someone should wash out that fella’s gob with carbolic soap!’
Nonetheless, as political analysts we acknowledge that Mini-Minister Halligan has done something really special for Ireland. He’s turned cursing into an art form and a badge of social acceptability! So, well done, Johnny and, as you might say yourself, a ‘Happy F***ing New Year’. At least you’ll be remembered for something!
On the move
Was there anyone in Ireland not impressed by Simon Coveney’s amazing bulletin to the masses? He declared that ‘his success as housing minister’ would contribute to the ongoing debate as to who would replace Dame Enda as Taoiseach.
Everyone appreciated his forthright and uninhibited expression of self-confidence, which is a tendency that those born to success exhibit rather freely.
But, while Coveney generally displays the demeanour of a boa constrictor that has just enjoyed a large lunch whenever mention is made of becoming Taoiseach, on this occasion he did not openly indicate a desire to consume poor Enda.
Instead he confined himself to ráiméis concerning his ‘big role’ in Fine Gael, plus the fact that he had ‘one of the most challenging political briefs.’ He said that, if he ‘delivered’ that brief, he was sure he would ‘enhance the party’s standing with the people.’
The implication being...wait for it (we’re all of a doo-dah with the excitement) ... that a leadership challenge was in the offing! Coveney for King! Hip hip hooray! (Excuse us while we reach for the sick bag.)
In the meantime the eminent Corkonian might try answering Alf Smiddy’s pertinent question as to what is happening to the stalled €53m Cork event centre on the former Beamish and Crawford brewery site?
Some €20m of public funding – €12m from the government and €8m from Cork City Council – has been sanctioned for the South Main Street ‘Palace of Fun’. But nothing much has been carried out by the project’s main partners, BAM, site owners Heineken and the event centre operators Live Nation.
Oops, we’re wrong! Something did happen: Just before the general election, Coveney and his present boss, the Taoiseach, arrived at the site, where in an excited photo shoot and with much backslapping, they proudly turned the first sod and declared the centre on its way. Since then, nettles and brambles have been growing over the little hole they made!
But the final word in new year messages belongs to the Master of the High Court, Edmund Honohan. He accused the Government of failing people confronted with the horrible prospect of having their house repossessed. He said the courts were ‘pumping people into homelessness due to a lack of adequate protection.’ Now that’s one for Kenny, Coveney and the mates to chew on; and it’s no joke! It’s real life!