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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: August 8, 2008 @ 10:57 am

    Busmen’s holidays

    Harry McGee

    We give out at length about politicians’ holidays (and justifiably so for mediocre backbenchers who should never have got beyond county council level).

    But spare a thought for Brian Cowen who is pictured today wearing a cheerful blue geansaí on his holidays in Ballyconneely in Connemara. Let it be said first of all, that this is the life that he has chosen and sauntering off for prolonged R&R isn’t really an option. But he does seem to have borrowed some of Bertie’s legacy and feels that life is a constant stump. Even when he was on holidays in Kerry, Bertie would nip down to Sneem or Kenmare on a daily bass to stand in for a firing squad photo.

    Cowen hasn’t ringfenced his holidays, it seems, or made it the same place for us in the media where a lot of his golf balls end up – Out of Bounds (that’s a joke; he could play off a very low handicap for all I know).

    Anyway, he gamely stood for a pic yesterday, resplendent in his sky blue geansaí. And even answered a question about the pay talks – but the standard formulaic response he gave won’t put him up there with Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde in the quotable quote department.


    Enda Kenny… hmm…

    That’s a different matter. Enda enjoys his holidays. He likes long breaks in France during which he is gloriously uninterrupted. And that is… good, in my estimation. We bang on all the time about work/life balance but too few people actually achieve it. And then we give out about politicians when they aren’t available 24/7.

    On that note, when Eamon Ryan became minister, he said that he’d be skiving off at 6 each day if possible to eat with his family and put his kids to bed. And that he wouldn’t be available at weekends. When Jack Lynch and Sean Lemass were Taoisigh they went home for their lunch every day. And rarely stayed in the office beyond 5.30pm unless there was an emergency.

    On principle we all accept that as good an dpositive. But then the moment they become unavailable we all start to moan and carp.

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