Miriam Lord’s Christmas Crackers and Political Turkeys
Gongs in the House for the year that was in it
Ming gets a gong for bringing the spirit of Christmas hospitality onto the floor. Photograph: Frank Miller
Photobomb of the Year: Enda nailed it in Croke Park at the Ladies Senior Football Final.
Politician of the Year
We had intended giving it to Ming Flanagan. But somebody seems to have quashed the award on his behalf.
He’ll have to write a letter to Alan Shatter now saying it had nothing to do with him.
So instead, Ming gets a gong for bringing the spirit of Christmas hospitality onto the floor of the Dáil chamber during Thursday’s debate on the Water Services Bill. It was truly heartwarming.
You see, hardworking Minister of State, Fergus O’Dowd, was there for the Government, looking a little wan. So Ming, who knows that Fergus is partial to an occasional drop of white wine, arrived in with a restorative tincture.
Clearly, Flanagan knows his wine. “Glorified piss,” he said, holding the glass up to the light. He set the glass down in front of Fergus then walked out.
Wasn’t that nice?
Fergus didn’t drink it.
The Ceann Comhairle said he was “utterly dismayed” by what happened and dismissed Ming’s kind gesture as a “stunt”. But what would Seán Barrett know? He’s a Smithwicks man.
Minister of the Year
We were going to give it to Simon Coveney, who seems to have done very well on the fishing and farming front and won plaudits for his handling of the horsemeat controversy at the start of the year.
Although he can be long-winded, he doesn’t seem to have fallen out with anybody (a great asset for a potential leader). He performed well at Leaders’ Questions when the rest of the ministerial crew were away on EU presidential duty.
Simon has lovely manners. He is also a little dull. And how can a Minister for Agriculture be doing a good job when the farmers aren’t out complaining about him? So the award goes to Leo Varadkar.
This is because lots of people around the country enjoyed good times this year thanks to “The Gathering”.
We all scoffed at the idea, but his tourism initiative has been a success.
Leo also has a weakness for giving straight answers to hard questions – which makes him much more entertaining than Simon.
An unusual one, perhaps, but it goes to Fine Gael maverick, John Deasy.
Not a favourite of the Enda regime and often critical of the party leadership, Deasy has quietly impressed with his work at local level – on regeneration in Waterford city and with his work on the the PAC.
Speech of the Year
This gong goes to Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher for his measured and considered contribution during the abortion Bill debate. He just edges out Timmy Dooley as the Fianna Fáiler of the year. Kelleher and Dooley, both survivors of the last FF administration, have matured in this Dáil.