Geoghegan-Quinn: no comment whatsoever. Cowen: no opinion whatsoever
If somebody ever asks you to define arrogance, just roll out the following incantation:
“Well that’s a question that I’ve refused to comment on up to now and I will continue to refuse to comment on it.”
The utterer: Maire Geoghegan-Quinn. Recipient of a Commissioner’s salary of €238,918. Supplemented by a Dáil and ministerial salary worth €108,000 in total.
Unlike other former office holders (Mary Robinson, for example), she also declined to take a voluntary cut (of 20 per cent) in her pension like many did last year.
Of course, legally, Geoghegan-Quinn is entitled to her pension. But there is also a moral imperative that has persuaded many politicians, serving and retired, to forgo at least some of her pension.
Her no comment last week was deeply out of kilter with the age, self-serving and in the ‘mé féin’ mould. She could at least have condescended to give us an explanation. The problem is that that would be akin to Pee Flynn as her only justification would be the cost of upkeeping four properties in Ireland, Spain, the US and in Luxembourg.
What’s worse has been Brian Cowen’s reaction. Last week, it took two days for persistent opposition leaders and reporters to drag an opinion from him on Richie Boucher’s pension. And then his spokesman had the temerity to claim credit for Boucher’s acquiescence, and the statement saying he would stay on until he was 60.
Now on Geoghegan Quinn he has excelled himself. When asked about it yesterday he delivered some verbal drivel about it being a matter for retired Oireachtas pensioners.
Then he came out with this gem:
“I do not want to get involved in particular issues. What I am saying is that the general point has been made by Oireachtas and office-holders already.”
Wow. The non-comment comment.
What a political wimp he has become. He owes Maire Geoghegan-Quinn nothing. In fact, she owes him big time.
It just goes to show how inappropriate a moniker Biffo is.
Bland Boring Brian may be a bit longer and not as catchy. But it’s far more accurate.
* UPDATE 9pm: Well, Maire Geoghegan Quinn surprised us all and announced she was giving it up. She has a reputation for being stubborn. But also decisive. There was little pussy-footing today and a growing controversy, if not nipped in the bud, was certainly stemmed.
The commissioner has political nous. What she certainly did not want was a situation developing early in the term when the predominant public perception of her at home was that she was a female Pee Flynn.
Now, the attention must zero in on the 20 parliamentarians collecting minsterial pensions (albeit reduced) in addition to their salaries.