Ming the meek makes his point
The ’Technicality Group’ has three leading lights – Wallace, Daly and Flanagan
From left: Mick Wallace, Joan Collins and Claire Daly and Luke Ming Flanagan. pictured last year. Photograph: Bryan O'Brien / THE IRISH TIMES.
A new political cohort has emerged in Leinster House – The Technicality Group.
These are the deputies who may have transgressed (think Mick Wallace and his tax affairs) but manage to escape censure on a technicality. Group members are distinguished by their brass necks and fantastic ability to turn a blind eye.
Hypocrisy and victimhood also come with the territory.
At the moment, The Technicality Group has three leading lights – Wallace, Clare Daly and Luke Ming Flanagan.
Its members were to the fore last night when the Spent Convictions Bill came up for discussion.
By the time Ming finished speaking, listeners could have been forgiven for thinking they had wandered into a debate on the Compromised Convictions Bill.
Although, in fairness, it was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time for Flanagan. He just happened to receive his penalty points when there was somebody in a position of influence around to have them wiped from the record.
In another unfortunate twist, he just happens to be in Leinster House this week. If he were in the Vatican instead, Ming would surely be a front runner in the race to the papacy.
Thanks to his wonderfully self-serving performance last evening, the holier than thou Roscommon deputy presented a most immaculate set of credentials to the House. (At least according to himself.)
Others may enter into the distinctly dodgy practice of actively seeking to have motoring penalty points quashed while others may find themselves sucked into a world of corruption by domineering Garda sergeants and sinister senior county council officials, but Ming the Infallible can do no wrong.
He may be part of a crusade against certain members of An Garda Síochána for sorting out people’s points problems, among other things, but when he turns out to be the beneficiary of such carry-on – not once, but twice – Flanagan has no problem standing up in Dáil Éireann and bleating about the incidents as if they represent an injustice perpetrated against his own pristine character.
What was he to do?
The first time, Deputy Flanagan was forced by a sergeant to write to the station and request that his offence be wiped because he was entitled to do so under an antiquated rule which states that TDs cannot be snared by the police on their way to or from Leinster House.
This was after the officer heard that Ming had been done for using his mobile phone while driving.
What did this custodian of the law do but “insist” that Flanagan put pen to paper to avoid the fine?
Listening to Ming in the Dáil yesterday evening, you’d believe that policeman all but frog-marched him to the biro and Belvedere Bond.