And the end-of-term awards for political prowess go to . . .
We can’t let our representatives go on a very long summer break without acknowledging their outstanding contribution
But top of Fianna Fáil’s list of priorities (with Sinn Féin making similar noises in the same direction) was the cancellation of five Garth Brooks concerts.
The FF leader demanded action from the Government. “It is not beyond the capacity of the Oireachtas to pass emergency legislation, if necessary,” said Micheál, begging the Taoiseach to interfere in a local planning matter in Dublin.
It’s what Fianna Fáil would do, presumably (and interesting to discover what constitutes an emergency in Micheál Martin’s book).
THETOTAL BLARNEY AWARD
To Taoiseach Enda Kenny. In mitigation, he was talking to the Yanks while on his St Patrick’s weekend visit to America, plámásing them up to the gills in the hope that they might throw some business our way.
“If you got a problem, you have an issue or anxiety or concern or a proposition or a proposal, I want to hear it. My number is a public number, you can call me any time,” he told a gathering of businesspeople in Washington.
He said citizens in other countries “find it difficult to figure out how anybody can ring up the prime minister – or the Taoiseach in my case – and say: ‘I want to talk to you.’
“Sometimes I don’t get a chance to answer all the calls but you get calls from citizens who say: ‘look, here’s an issue: you address that.’
“That is responsibility taken to the ultimate level of politics.”
THE FOOT IN MOUTH AWARD
The setting up of the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry into Making a Show of Fianna Fáil got off to a rocky start.
Enda Kenny wins the Foot in Mouth award for letting the cat out of the bag about his Government’s desire to control what they repeatedly stressed would be a non-political process.
When the Fianna Fáil leader asked in the Dáil why there was a delay in getting the inquiry off the ground, the Taoiseach replied: “In order for terms of reference to be adopted and for a mandate to be given, the Government need to have a majority here.”
He asked an incredulous Micheál Martin: ”How do I know what your members will do?”
Two extra Government votes were swiftly added to the committee.
PADDY LIKES TO KNOW AWARD
It’s a hat-trick for Enda with his Paddy Likes to Know Award for Short-term Amnesia. This is the conundrum which won’t go away, no matter how much the Taoiseach tries to brush it under the carpet – why can’t he say what transpired on the night he sent the Secretary General of the Department of Justice to the Garda commissioner’s home, leading to Martin Callinan’s “resignation” the following day?
Even at the MacGill Summer School this week, former minister for justice Michael McDowell, was asking : “Is there any reason why a full and frank explanation shouldn’t have been given in public at the time?” Why was the Dáil “confronted with obfuscation” on the matter?
The Taoiseach’s failure to answer questions on this, and on the events surrounding the resignation of Alan Shatter, represents “an abdication from one of the cornerstones of our democratic system”.
McDowell, a former attorney general, didn’t see the need for “deferring to a committee of investigation”. But the Taoiseach has kicked this unsettling state of affairs into the wider Fennelly inquiry into the taping of calls to Garda stations.
Why can’t Enda just say what happened?
BEST EXAMPLE OF SINN FÉIN SPEAK
Lynn Boylan – a political unknown who romped home in the Dublin constituency in the European elections. “Sinn Féin is neither Europhile nor Eurosceptic. The way we look at it is: Sinn Féin is Eurocritical,” was her stock line.