Simon breaks DUP bread but fails to bring home the bacon
Super Simon strapped on a jet pack last Friday morning and sped across the Irish Sea to be at his leader’s side for an EU budget summit.
But not before he had made history in Belfast by becoming the first Irish Minister to address the DUP conference.
“I hope we can develop the kind of friendship and kind of trust politically that’s needed between the largest party in Northern Ireland and the largest party in the Republic of Ireland,” the Minister for Agriculture told the brethren at their rural affairs breakfast. “This is another step in that direction.”
Soon afterwards – and presumably fortified with the full benefit of a rib-stickin’ Ulster fry – Coveney stepped off in another direction.
From Belfast to Dublin to Brussels, Super Simon made his mercy dash, determined to stand up for Ireland’s farmers in the negotiations to frame a budget for the next seven years.
Enda had flown over the previous evening for the start of the horse-trading. The European leaders were due to start their deliberations at 8pm, but it was midnight before they could even agree to sit around the table. That didn’t last. They were out again a few minutes later.
At this rate, some were saying, the summit could drag on for the whole week.
So Super Simon rushed over to join the Irish delegation, dreaming of bringing home the bacon, only to be told the talks had just collapsed and he wouldn’t be saving Irish farming this time out.
Still, at least he got to be photographed at the Taoiseach’s shoulder (Enda is rarely as accommodating to Lucinda) as everyone was leaving – the disappointment etched across his doleful face for all to see.
It could have been worse. Look at poor Marian Harkin. She ended up in a wheelchair.
But the revolting farmers (they caused chaos in Brussels during the week) were not to blame. The MEP for Ireland North West slipped at Strasbourg railway station while running to catch a train.