Miriam Lord’s Week: Kenny’s €2m memory loss
Tánaiste demands answers to mysterious Callinan departure
T hat night, the President and the queen were very taken by the melodies played by harpist Jean Kelly. As Michael D waxed lyrical about harps , Herself declared a particular interest in the instrument. “Charles plays the harp, you know,” she told him.
Meanwhile, the North’s Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness was figuring in a receiving line again, singled out for special attention along with Theresa Villiers, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, First Minister Peter Robinson and T ánaiste Eamon Gilmore.
According to onlookers, there was a “warm exchange” between the queen and McGuinness. The former IRA commander for Derry congratulated the queen on her “great role in peacemaking” while she complimented him on his role on “giving leadership ”.
After receiving the VIPs, President and
queen headed in opposite directions to work the room.
Then a funny thing happened, as recounted by one of the guests: “
All the Paddies galloped towards the
queen in the hope of getting to talk to her. A worried-looking official from the
Department of Foreign Affairs had to round some of them up and herd them in the direction of Michael D
to make sure he would have a decent crowd too.
Ministers put in their place as handlers go to the ball
While they were not entirely absent from the party, remarkably few Irish politicians were invited to be part of the prestigious jaunt that was Michael D’s state visit .
Besides the Taoiseach and T ánaiste, the only Minister to make the grade was a white-tie -and -tailed Pat Rabbitte. (Born to it.)
However, some of the Coalition’s main handlers and advis ers made the cut.
Their presence did not go unnoticed back home.
One Minister told miffed political colleagues last week how he turned on his TV and “saw certain individuals in best bib and tucker looking like they were royalty themselves. Yis all know your place in the pecking order now.”
Mark Kennelly, the Taoiseach’s chef-de-cabinet and Mark Garrett, his Labour counterpart, attended the banquet with their partners.
The two Marks looked very pleased with themselves. Andrew McDowell, the Taoiseach’s special advis er, also got the nod for the nosebag, as did Liam Herrick, Michael D’s advis er.
The journalists, corralled close to deadline in an adjoining room and desperate for every small detail, almost wept while watching Wally Young, Michae l D’s media man, taking his place at the table.