Pizza the action for Mattie as he takes stand over tractor
With all the drama over the budget and the ceremonial lighting of the Christmas tree, the other big story in Leinster House got little coverage this week.
They’re calling it “Pizzagate”.
Naturally, it involves Mattie McGrath.
Deputy McGrath managed to grab some pre-budget headlines on Tuesday when he staged a sit-in at the headquarters of the Friends First Finance company following an incident involving the attempted repossession of a tractor from a family farm in Wexford.
As Mattie held firm throughout the day and into the night, a number of his colleagues in the Dáil decided to do something as a gesture of solidarity. They repaired to the members’ bar to discuss it after the House rose late on Tuesday night.
The Munster mafia of Labour’s Michael McCarthy and Fine Gael’s Tom Hayes and Patrick O’Donovan, aided and abetted by Fianna Fáil’s Michael Moynihan and Dara Calleary, put in a call to Mr McGrath, making sure to block the number of the caller.
McCarthy, a noted mimic, did the talking.
When Mattie answered, he heard a man with a foreign accent say: “Hello. You like pizza? I phone from Pizza Hut. You like pizza?”
“I can’t hear you. I can’t understand you,” responded Mattie. “What are ya on about?” The pizza man explained: “You no like bank. And we no like the bank, so we want send you pizza. Solidarity!”
The little group in the Dáil bar was listening in on the entire exchange, because McCarthy had the phone on speaker.
“Jesus. Grand job. Grand job,” said Mattie, exclaiming “Lads, lads! Pizza Hut is droppin’ around pizza!”
Michael then inquired if he wanted chips as well.
Oh, yes, that would be lovely.
“Hauld on a minute. Hauld on. There’s two guards in here with us as well. Will ya send us four?” The Leinster House pranksters nearly passed out as they struggled to stop laughing out loud. “We send you four,” promised Michael.
That was settled so, except for one further thing. It might not look good for Occupy Loughlinstown to be seen getting in a big feed of pizza and chips.
“Bring ’em around the back,” shouted Mattie. “Bring ’em round the back.” The boys in the bar collapsed.
The food never arrived. Poor Mattie was starved out of the building. But at least he highlighted the situation in Wexford and made the farmer’s case with Friends First.