Miracle for Ming
White smoke brings temporary relief for pointless Flanagan
A poster of Luke “MIng” Flanagan looks down over the Roscommon town of Castlerea, the TD's home base.
With the Dáil in the throes of its annual Cheltdown and those not interested in horses switching attention to the Habemus Papam Handicap Chase, a quiet few days were in prospect for Leinster House.
But these things never work out as planned.
The Government is busy preparing for the St Patrick’s weekend airlift with a large complement of deputies set to shake the shamrock across the globe, while all the parties are gearing up for the Meath East byelection.
Then Luke “Ming” Flanagan decides to make a show of himself over the penalty points issue in the Dáil on Tuesday night and fresh controversy lands. Ming the Meaningless – as some were calling him – was the talk of Leinster House yesterday.
But while politicians gleefully denounced Flanagan’s risible attempts to portray his hypocritical acceptance of the nod and wink cancellation of his penalty points as some sort of noble enterprise, there was a distinct lack of on-the-record comment outside the House. Given Ming’s general unpopularity among many members of the main parties, one would have expected a torrent of indignant deputies and Senators to flood the plinth demanding his ponytail on a plate.
But that didn’t happen. Could it be that they didn’t want to invite unwelcome scrutiny on some of their own transgressors?
Nonetheless, even if his fellow politicians were slow to comment, Ming – who had already brazenly denied having his fines quashed when asked by journalists – was the story of the day.
Then came the first miracle of the reign of Pope Francis. As the new Argentinian pontiff stood on the balcony of St Peter’s last night, Ming was miraculously knocked off the Six-One News .
When that white smoke billowed above the roof of the Sistine Chapel, one very relieved cannabis campaigner from Roscommon will have been exhaling very deeply indeed.
If they were dancing in the streets of Buenos Aires, Ming must have been doing the cha-cha in the village of Castlerea.
But, for him, it will only be a transitory high.
He’ll know that more than most.
There was no sign of the Independent deputy for Roscommon/South Leitrim in the Dáil chamber when proceedings commenced yesterday morning. Understandable, given the thoroughly deserved mauling he received at the hands of Vincent Browne on television the night before.
A ringing endorsement from deputy Wallets of VATman infamy is just the thing to shore up a TD’s tattered reputation when it comes to the important issue of political probity. It’s just a pity that Michael Lowry didn’t front up on his behalf too.