Braying in Dáil but no foal play suspected
Back in the chamber, no one mentioned Shergar when Gerry Adams rose to speak. Not even when he flashed his trademark teeth. Why should they? The Tánaiste was in good form. He told Gerry he had heard of his recent surgery and wanted to wish him a good recovery.
Eamon’s kind words led to a mass outbreak of smirking and quiet Brutonesque braying on the Government and Fianna Fáil sides. While deputies were delighted to see the Sinn Féin leader looking hale and hearty, they seemed amused by the thought that Gerry had availed of private treatment for his complaint in New York.
Not that Eamon said anything about this. It was just the tone of his remarks that left an unspoken little swipe hanging in the air.
No matter. Deputy Adams, carrying the colours of the flags of Northern Ireland, surged ahead in the Friends of Sinn Féin Average Industrial Wage International Classic. He always does and rarely puts a hoof out of place when talking about issues in the North.
Speaking of colours, Eamon was wearing the red silk tie of Labour for his stint at Leaders’ Questions. The Taoiseach, meanwhile, sported the Austeriteal Green of Ireland’s EU presidency for his gallop around the European Parliament.
While Gerry talked about the flag protests in Belfast, Mattie “Hoss” McGrath was sweating up nervously in the stalls in advance of his appearance in the Technical Maiden Bumper. He has replaced Shane Ross as one of the Technical Group’s speakers at Leaders’ Questions.
Ross and Finian McGrath, aided and abetted by Fianna Fáil’s Timmy Dooley and Barry Cowen, offered him some last-minute advice.
Pat Rabbitte waved his fist at him from across the floor in a gesture of encouragement.
When the flag went up, Mattie exploded into action.
He asked about the current spate of burglaries on elderly people living alone, blaming the Government for introducing policies “aiding and abetting criminality.”
McGrath need not have worried. He completed his first Leaders’ Questions course without a hitch and everyone agreed that it was a case of “winner all right” when he crossed the line.
By the end of the day, the exact nature of how the dodgy burgers made it into the food chain had still to be established, but as it stands, foal play is not suspected.
For now, all Irish agriculture can do is hope for a good outcome and pray to that little-known patron saint of meat processors – St Thomas Equinas.