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
The party had a great local election, sweeping the boards in Dublin.
Lynn takes the honours ahead of her party leader, Gerry Adams, who declared the political landscape had “changed utterly” and outlined how his party would effect that transformation: “The parlance will change to include the word ‘citizen’.”
HEADBANGER OF THE YEAR
Brian Crowley, who ended his semi-detached relationship with Fianna Fáil in June after yet another runaway victory in the European elections. Crowley, who skipped his party’s national campaign launch to canvass in Tipperary, decided not to join the parliamentary grouping to which Fianna Fáil is aligned. Instead, he threw in his lot with an alliance of MEPs described by Seán Ó Fearghaíl as “a crowd of headbangers” . Brian’s colleagues in the parliamentary party were left “reeling and bewildered,” said Seán, who has a definite flair for the melodramatic.
THE ‘HAS HE GONE YET?’ AWARD
Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett – at the start of the year, in the middle of yet another shouting session during Leaders’ Questions – thundered: “If I do not have the confidence of this House to run this chair, I intend resigning. I am not going to come in here day in and day out and be ignored by either the Government or the Opposition.”
He should have walked months ago, so.
THE DON’T HOLD BACK AWARD
Goes to former Labour MEP, Phil Prendergast, who ensured the party’s European election campaign got off to the best possible start by calling for the leader’s resignation.
Prendergast, who failed to hold her seat, said one of the reasons Labour was doing so badly was down to Eamon Gilmore’s poor leadership, which was “the elephant in the room” that nobody was talking about.
And just in case people didn’t heed her the first time, she added: “The elephant is not only in the room, it is cantering around the room, breaking things.”
As she had already been selected to run, Phil and the elephant then had to smile and appear together in one of the most awkward and embarrassing election campaigns we’ve ever seen.
THE ‘ARE WE THERE YET?’ AWARD
Awarded for management guff.
Prof Noel Whelan, chairman of the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group, who came up with this little beauty when being grilled by the Public Accounts Committee in January over salary top-up payments to executives: “We are going to swing round into compliance.”
Mick Wallace gets the gong for best speech for his passionate contribution during one of the many Dáil days wasted saving Alan Shatter’s bacon in the Department of Justice.
“Minister, the people are right to be cynical about politics.
“They’re right to be cynical about politicians. This place is a joke!
“We play games in here. And what do we see so often, when bad things raise their head? We see our police force circle the wagons. We see our politicians circle the wagons.
“Do what it takes to cover up what we don’t want to see. Do what it takes to hide the truth. Is there any appetite for doing things any different in this house?
“Minister, you look up here at us and you’d say: how dare these people with their long hair and raggy jeans have the audacity to challenge you!
“Well, I wanna tell you something: the people of Wexford who elected me to come here didn’t elect me to come here and approve of your behaviour. They put me in here to challenge it. It is time for you to go Minister, and bring the Commissioner with ya!”
And they did, eventually.