Eamon and Joan – Labour’s golden couple of the Omnibabble
Both are unconvincing in their insistence that they get on marvellously well together
It seems leader Eamon Gilmore and his deputy Joan Burton do not enjoy the most harmonious of working relationships. Joan, say some, is after Eamon’s job. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons
Not many noticed. Or cared.
Fortunately the weather turned chilly, thus countering the harmful effects of having such a huge volume of hot air released into the atmosphere in a concentrated blast.
Three pre-parliamentary, parliamentary party meetings in the one day – a trinity of procedural talk. That’s the stuff of recurring nightmares: wandering for eternity from one wretched election workshop to another.
The Taoiseach held court in Portlaoise. The Tánaiste rallied the troops in Enfield. And the leader of the Opposition mustered his wayward little flock in Waterford.
Thanks to gossipy nuggets in Pat Leahy’s new book on the first two years of the Coalition, Labour has been providing early entertainment in the run-up to the new political season this week.
It seems leader Eamon Gilmore and his deputy Joan Burton do not enjoy the most harmonious of working relationships. Joan, say some, is after Eamon’s job.
Both are unconvincing in their insistence that they get on marvellously well together. The tempestuous two are being compared in some quarters to the former British prime minister Tony Blair and his deputy and eventual successor Gordon Brown. To put it mildly, the pair did not get on.
But this is not the case between Eamon and Joan, insist both sides. Think more John and Yoko than Tony and Gordon. We’d rather not.
The happy couple were duly produced for the cameras after they arrived at the Johnstown House Hotel. Joan wore trousers too.
Eamon did his decisive thing, outlining the hard work done by the junior Coalition partner to lift “the very big burden” carried by the Irish people in the past five years.
“We’ve knuckled down, we’ve rolled up our sleeves, we’ve got to grips with the country’s problems.”
He could have talked into next week about stabilising the economy (Joan could have talked into the next century) but he settled for trying to expand on the topic until the press briefing could be brought to a conclusion.
What about the future? Whither Eamon and Joan? Can they remain together? Or will destiny tear them apart?
During the general election she hid those mortifyingly wide-of-the-mark “Gilmore for Taoiseach” posters in the garden shed. Are they still there?
The ill-fated poster boy, smiling like his life depended on it, turned to hear his deputy’s answer. She had one all prepared and ready to go.