Adams's native tongue can't put Old Father TIME off his stroke
But Gerry Adams wasn’t prepared to let go. He returned to the unanswered question.
The Sinn Féin leader said his party had been trying to find out for the last three weeks why the Government decided to put two primary healthcare centres in the Minister for Health’s constituency.
Why was the Government refusing to publish the criteria used to reach this decision? Did the public and Dáil not have a right to the information?
Enda replied, giving his answer completely in Irish. He went on and on, as smiles grew broader on all sides of the house and Gerry attempted to keep up. But he had Mary Lou on one side of him and no sign of the likes of native speaker Pearse Doherty to whisper a running translation.
Gerry doesn’t like people criticising him for trying to improve his Irish on the floor of the Dáil. He particularly doesn’t like sketch writers drawing attention to his efforts to speak the first language during Leaders’ Questions.
In fact he went out of his way to point this out in no uncertain terms to this particular writer during a recent encounter in the corridors.
We should be “encouraging” him, was Gerry’s view. It’s “lazy journalism”, he sulked.
Leo Varadkar is learning Irish. He doesn’t feel the need to practise on the floor of the Dáil chamber. There are places like Conradh na Gaeilge for that.
For all we know Micheal Noonan might be learning the clarinet but he doesn’t bring it in and give us all a blast during Finance questions.
After Enda sat down, Adams said the Taoiseach gave a very long reply but hadn’t answered the question. That was clever. Given that the question was about the criteria used by Reilly, Enda could have replied in Swahili but you could have still bet the House on knowing he wouldn’t supply an explanation.
Fianna Fáil would never have found themselves in this situation. Their ministers would have engineered the criteria in the first place to achieve the desired outcome.
At least that was the joke among some of them about the amateurs in the Coalition.
“Different folks, same strokes,” quipped Adams, hardly looking at his script.
Good one, that.
But line of the day goes to Joe Higgins who found himself at the end of a few jibes about the departure of Deputy Clare Daly from the Socialist Party.
“A little bit of ice cracking off the edge doesn’t sink the iceberg!”