Metaphorical McSharry sends in the clowns
Sligo-based Senator did himself no favours by following up Seanad antics with car-crash radio interview
Colleagues watched with growing mortification as MacSharry spontaneously combusted in “the charged scenario of political debate”, repeatedly calling the Taoiseach a clown and accusing the Government and Seanad Cathaorleach of “urinating” all over the second chamber. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
We wonder if the Fianna Fáil leader used “evocative” and “highly metaphorical” language during his chat with Marc MacSharry after his overwrought performance in the Seanad this week?
Metaphorical Marc has been taken to task by party superiors after his unedifying rant against the Taoiseach, which saw mortified colleagues squirming in their seats. He has since had meetings with Micheál Martin, Darragh O’Brien, the party’s leader in the Seanad, and straight-talking communications director Pat McPartlan.
“It isn’t Micheál’s style to bawl somebody out of it, but put it like this: Marc wont’t be throwing the toys out of the pram again for a while,” says one party member.
The Sligo-based Senator did himself no favours by following up his Seanad antics with a car-crash radio interview the next morning.
On Tuesday, colleagues watched with growing mortification as MacSharry spontaneously combusted in “the charged scenario of political debate”, repeatedly calling the Taoiseach a clown and accusing the Government and Seanad Cathaorleach of “urinating” all over the second chamber.
He has since blamed the fuss over his performance on colour writers “kicking in to try and exacerbate what is a natural public apathy to politics generally, and the Seanad is obviously in the firing line.”
Yes. We made him do it.
On Wednesday morning, MacSharry was unrepentant, explaining to broadcaster Pat Kenny that “in the heat of debate there is always evocative and highly metaphorical language used.”
This can happen “in the charged scenario of political debate and heckling.”
In his particular case though, there wasn’t a peep out of anybody when he rose to make his point.
The scenario was as charged as a soggy battery.
The rumpus only started because MacSharry suddenly started bellowing about the Taoiseach looking, talking and performing like a clown.
In other words, he started it.
But wait. Marc is the real victim here. He says he hasn’t had any media coverage since entering Seanad Éireann 11 years ago.
This is not true.
Only last year, this column reported on another stunt where he ripped up a ministerial speech and branded the person who wrote it “a clown”.
The tantrum happened after the Government rejected the Access to Cancer Treatment Bill, which he had co-sponsored with John Crown.
Marc was incensed by the Government’s response as outlined in the house by the Minister of State for Health.
“What clown wrote this script?” he demanded.
He refused the Cathaorleach’s request to withdraw the word “clown,” adding: “The person who wrote this script would be better juggling in a circus ring than writing speeches for a Minister to reply.”
Whereupon he held up the offending speech, branded it “an insult in the extreme” and tore it in two. “This is what I think of it,” he declared, in a highly evocative and metaphorical fashion.
MacSharry seems to have a thing about clowns.
Perhaps if the Seanad is abolished he can run away and join the circus.
Family ties were dragged into the MacSharry fiasco on Wednesday.
In the course of his highly evocative and metaphorical interview with Pat Kenny, Senator MacSharry chided the Indo’s Fionnan Sheahan for not being up to speed on his excellent record in the Upper House.
Marc was disgruntled by this, not least because of the journalist’s “family connections to politics”, something he felt necessary to bring up on more than one occasion.
Baby Mac explained to the nonplussed hack: “Your wife is a Senator,” implying that he should know everything about the Seanad accomplishments of people like Marc MacSharry because his wife is Averil Power, a Fianna Fáil senator.
“Pillow talk,” said Pat, mischievously.
Sheahan, none too pleased at having his wife dragged into his argument, nodded in the Senator’s direction. “We weren’t all born with political silver spoons in our mouth.”
“I certainly wasn’t, I can assure you” bridled Marc, son of Fianna Fáil grandee Ray MacSharry, who is a former tánaiste, minister for finance and European commissioner.
Bronze statue, brass neck
The Taoiseach is off to Longford tomorrow to unveil a bronze sculpture of Gen Seán Mac Eoin, otherwise known as the Blacksmith of Ballinalee.
Mac Eoin is a major figure in Fine Gael history, up there with Micheal Collins. Leader of the North Longford Column in the War of Independence, he was sentenced to death but was released when Collins refused to continue with the treaty negotiations while he remained imprisoned.
He went on to have a political career spanning almost 40 years, entering the Dáil in 1929 and becoming minister for justice in 1948 and minister for defence in 1954.
He eventually lost his seat to PJ Lenihan, father of Mary O’Rourke and the late Brian Lenihan.
Mac Eoin ran for president on two occasions but was defeated by Seán T O’Kelly in 1945 and Éamon de Valera in 1959.
Enda will unveil the Rory Breslin sculpture at the crossroads in Ballinalee village.
Longford TD James Bannon sent out a lavish invitation to attend the ceremony to all his parliamentary colleagues. But this has led to a few raised eyebrows around the county, as the statue is down to the work of Longford County Council, Longford Arts Services and the local commemorative committee. Arts officer Fergus Kennedy and Fine Gael councillor Micheal Carrigy spearheaded the project and organised the event. “This has nothing to do with Bannon,” a rather miffed local Fine Gaeler tells us.