My Christmas crackers and festive turkeys
See If I Care Award
Joe Higgins gets it for his Dáil response after Clare Daly left his Socialist Party because she wanted to be the avenging Robyn to Mick Wallace’s Vatman: “A little bit of ice cracking off the edge doesn’t sink the iceberg!”
Committee Chairman of the Year
Easily won by Labour’s Ciarán Lynch for cutting through the waffle and refusing to take any guff from visiting bankers and their public interest directors. But, above all, for controlling Fine Gael’s Peter Mathews, who could talk forever on how to solve the financial crisis– and frequently does – when Ciarán isn’t around to shut him up.
Committee Quote of the Year
Also from the finance committee and uttered in exasperation yesterday by Senator Paul Coghlan, browned-off listening to the handsomely pensioned Ray MacSharry spouting on about his important job as public interest director at Permanent TSB: “You’re about as useful as paps on a bull!”
TD with Best Welcome for Himself Award
Éamon Ó Cuív, who made a meal out of his decision to oppose the fiscal treaty and was sacked as deputy leader of Fianna Fáil as a result.
Would he leave the party his grandaddy founded over another treaty spat? He was unanimous with himself that his decision would be “monumental”.
After days of agonising and sending out hints, he arrived before the media with the word from Planet Dev.
He was staying on. Like anyone cared.
Unexpected Quote of the Year
“But the most sickening thing, I think, Minister is – today and last week – to see our Taoiseach on the front page of Playboy magazine.”
Independent TD Mattie McGrath got his magazines mixed up. The Taoiseach was, in fact, on the cover of Time magazine. Some people found this just as surprising as appearance in Playboy.
Enda got loads of awards this year: Time magazine; Mayoman of the Year, a Golden Victoria Award for European of the Year and the Nobel Peace Prize.
Disappointing Minister of the Year
Michael Noonan. He nearly frightened the horses by telling people a No vote in the fiscal treaty would mean higher taxes. He appears increasingly arrogant in his exchanges in the Dáil. He was hardly seen around Leinster House.
And he had this to say after the no confidence vote in James “Dicey” Reilly: “I think you should pack your tents, apologise to the Minister, move the adjournment of the House and we’ll all go home.”
They wish. The Fianna Fáil leader best summed up Calamity James’s woeful performance this year: “We have a volatile Minister here!”
Quote of the Year
Labour’s Ann Phelan speaking on the Funerals Bill in the Dáil: “I am from a rural constituency, where anyone who wants to be cremated has to drive to Dublin.”
Politician of the Year
It’s between the Technical Group this time, although Labour’s Colm Keaveney (who was on the Late Late Show last night) added greatly to the gaiety of the nation and discomfort of Eamon Gilmore. And Róisín Shortall looks like she’ll have the last laugh on her former boss in Health, James Reilly.
Independent Maureen O’Sullivan made a fine speech at the opening of the constitutional convention, while her colleague Catherine Murphy is one of the most sensible and thoughtful contributors to Dáil debates.
However, for carving out a niche for himself in the difficult outback of the Independent ranks and winning public respect for his measured contributions on the financial crisis, Wicklow’s Stephen Donnelly gets the nod.
Taoiseach of the Year
She thinks we’re special.
Enda is her Special One.