My Christmas crackers and festive turkeys
And so the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity Between Generations draws to a close. Didn’t it just fly? It ends at midnight on Monday week. We hope you don’t miss it too much.
But never mind, there’s more where that came from – 2013 is the European Year of Citizens. Damn those Eurocrats and their yearly themes. Now we’ll have to change all the bunting.
And if that wasn’t enough excitement to be getting on with, January also marks the start of Ireland’s EU presidency. Enda and Eamon will be handed the keys to the cockpit on New Year’s Day. High-fives all round for the Austerity Presidency! There’s just the Christmas to get over before their glorious ascension.
In the meantime, here’s our selection box of Christmas crackers and festive turkeys to tide you over to the new year. Guaranteed to make your Yuletide bright.
The OMG! WTF? LOL! Award
This goes to Simon Harris of Fine Gael for his “Chillax – I think everyone needs to take a step back here” remark during a stormy session of the Public Accounts Committee.
Simon is the Dáil’s youngest TD. Enda is very proud of him.
“All the young people know what ‘chillax’ is,” he told the Dáil during Leaders’ Questions the following morning. Aren’t the young people great, all the same?
Optimist of the Year Award
“I’m going to the three Irish games and a couple of other matches . . .” That’s Mick Wallace, speaking on radio after he admitted owing the taxman over €2 million and just before his appearance on the Revenue’s list of defaulters.
Having come clean about his predicament, deputy Wallets thought he could then swan off to Poland and Ukraine to watch Ireland play in the European championships.
In fairness to the soccer-mad Wexford TD, he had asked if the Dáil could go into recess to facilitate people interested in the football, but his request was inexplicably turned down by the authorities.
In the end, Mick had to miss Ireland’s opening games to deliver an emotional speech to the Dáil in which he regretted his “error of judgment” in withholding his VAT.
Happily, he managed to make it over to Poznan to see Ireland bow out of the tournament after losing 2-0 to Italy.
And, ever the optimist, Mick vowed to repay the money he owes to the exchequer. He is putting up half of his Dáil salary towards his outstanding tax bill. The number-crunchers reckon he will have to serve as a backbencher for 87 years to repay his debt.
Best-Dressed Politician Award
Junior minister John Perry from Sligo does a nifty line in Paisley ties and matching silk handkerchiefs, while his colleague Mary Mitchell O’Connor continues her crusade to introduce some much-needed colour and style into the chamber.
Ruairí Quinn is still the King of Corduroy. Olivia Mitchell (FG) is always elegant while Gerry Adams likes the tweedy, country gent look.
As this column does not allow canvassing, we have had to disqualify Ming Flanagan for loudly drawing attention to his own attire. Our house band is very disappointed as they spent all last week practising Where’s Me Jumper? by The Sultans of Ping FC in anticipation of a Ming victory.
So it’s a second award for that veteran of pink-collar crime, Mick Wallace. His recent appearance in a grey cowl-neck hoodie set a new sartorial standard for the Dáil chamber.
“Some class of an aul blouse” is how one TD described it.
Stupid Stunt Award
Stunt of the year goes to Fine Gael for an ill-starred publicity gimmick to mark the party’s first year in government.
With the economy in ruins and job losses being announced that day, FG invited the media to a photocall at which TDs would hold up“coloured stars detailing significant Fine Gael achievements in government”.
Labour saw red. Pat Rabbitte dismissed these “antics” as “partisan gaiety” on the part of some Fine Gael TDs. “I hope they get over their excitement quickly,” he said.
The event was cancelled, although some TDs turned out anyway. The top brass from both parties agreed it was an ill-considered jape and blamed the hired help.