Ross O’Carroll Kelly: ‘I’m the porty spokesperson on Gender Issues’

On balance, I’d say it’s a pretty bad day for the human race when I’m the least sexist person at the table

You’re becoming hysterical, Sorcha – unnecessarily so, because it’s all in hand. As my chief whip, as well as long-suffering golf partner, I’ve told Hennessy to address the gender quota issue

You’re becoming hysterical, Sorcha – unnecessarily so, because it’s all in hand. As my chief whip, as well as long-suffering golf partner, I’ve told Hennessy to address the gender quota issue

 

The old man is sitting in his usual spot in Shanahan’s, wrapping his face around a rib eye that’s so rare I wouldn’t say the cow has even noticed yet that she’s missing 24oz off her side.

“Ah,” he goes, when he sees me and Sorcha making our way across the restaurant, “what a lovely surprise! The man who revolutionised the role of the out-half in the sport of rugby and the next minister for whatever it was you said you wanted.”

“Environment, Community and Sustainability,” Sorcha goes, “as well as Gender Issues and Issues Relating to Gender Identity.”

The old man laughs. “You know,” he goes, “I’m sure you add on another portfolio every time I ask you! Issues Relating to Gender Identity indeed! Sit down, for heaven’s sakes! Have a glass of Chianti Classico Riserva!”

He hasn’t even finished his sentence before I’m sitting at the table next to him, horsing into his wine and grabbing fistfuls of his onion rings. Sorcha sits down as well. I’m looking around me. This is where he’s eaten every night since Helen walked out on him. I reckon he’s about three steak dinners away from becoming 51 per cent bovine.

I’m like, “Would you not just ask Helen back?”

“Helen walked out, Kicker.”

“She walked out because of the way you’ve been acting since you found that wig.”

“Well, now I’m divorcing her. I’ve told Hennessy to put the, quote-unquote, wheels in motion.”

“You’ve lost it, Dude – we’re talking totally. You managed to somehow find a woman who doesn’t seem to mind that you’re a complete and utter knob – and now you’re prepared to let her go? I mean, I told her the morning she married you that she needed her head tested. I offered to bring her somewhere for an MRI, but she said she didn’t need one. She said she loved you.”

“Past tense.”

“I still think if you apologised, she’d come back.”

“The conversation is closed, Ross. It’s now an issue for the courts. Is that why you’ve come here?”

“No,” Sorcha goes, then she clears her throat. “Chorles, I need to talk to you about quotas.”

“Agriculture’s not my area,” he goes. “I can just about tell a short loin from a tenderloin – everything else is Greek to me!”

“I’m talking about gender quotas, Chorles. About encouraging more women to enter politics.”

“Oh, I think we have a policy on that, don’t we?”

“Yes, we do. I wrote it.”

“Well, there you are then! Hurrah for that!”

Listen Up

“The thing is, Chorles, it’s not good enough to just have a policy on something and then to do absolutely nothing about it.”

“What kind of talk is this, Sorcha? Is it something you’ve read?”

“New Republic, along with every other political porty, is required by law to ensure that 30 per cent of their general election candidates are female. We’re putting up 60 candidates, of whom only, like, three are women?”

“What’s that in percentage terms?”

“It’s certainly not 30 per cent, Chorles.”

“Hennessy said this funny thing about women, if only I could remember it. It was in Doheny & Nesbitt’s the other night, after I told him about Helen leaving. Oh, yes, it was: ‘Behind every great man is a woman saying, “Are you sure those are the right screws for this job!”’ Oh, he can very funny, can Hennessy. Oh, ‘droll’ doesn’t even cover it!”

Sorcha looks at me with her mouth slung open. On balance, I’d say it’s a pretty bad day for the human race when I’m the least sexist person at the table.

“Chorles,” she goes, “you can’t say things like that anymore.”

He’s there, “Why ever not?”

“Haven’t you noticed a change in the atmosphere recently?”

“Not especially . . . Ross, has she been drinking?”

“Chorles, what are we doing about these quotas?”

“You’re becoming hysterical, Sorcha – unnecessarily so, because it’s all in hand. As my chief whip, as well as long-suffering golf partner, I’ve told Hennessy to address the gender quota issue.”

“So he’s going to look for more female candidates?”

“No, he’s going to challenge the constitutionality of the legislation.”

“What?”

“That’s right. I’m taking a case to the Supreme Court. ”

“But – oh my God – there’s no way you’ll win!”

“Then I’ll challenge the constitutionality of the Supreme Court.”

“You can’t challenge the Constitutionality of the Supreme Court. It was, like, established by the Constitution?”

“Then I’ll challenge the constitutionality of the Constitution.”

“Chorles, this is becoming, like, oh my God!”

“That may very well be the case, but it’s called politics, Sorcha.”

She just, like, shakes her head. She’s at a genuine loss for words. I think it’s important that we all keeping talking, though. I don’t want her to walk out before I’ve finished the old man’s onion rings.

She goes, “You didn’t think it was important to tell me that we were mounting a constitutional challenge to the law on gender quotas, even though I’m the porty spokesperson on Gender Issues and Issues Relating to Gender Identity?”

He’s there, “If you have a problem with it, Sorcha, I suggest you bring it up at the next Ardfheis,” his tone definitely hordening? She’s like, “When is that?”

He goes, “October, 2016.”

After the election, in other words?”

She suddenly stands up. I know what’s coming. I end up having to eat with both hands.

She goes, “Chorles, I can’t be around you right now . . . Ross, let’s go.”

Off she trots. I finish what’s in my mouth, then I turn to the old man and I go, “I can’t wait till Denis O’Brien gets you in court for stealing his hairstyle. He’ll have your balls for a smoothie. Then it’ll be two high-fives I owe him – the other one being for obviously bringing Johnny Sexton back.”

The old man laughs. He’s there, “I’m not scared of him! Have you seen the opinion polls? I have the second highest approval rating of any party leader!”

“Denis O’Brien is the only man who can stop you,” I go. “He’s Ireland’s only hope now.”

I step outside onto Stephen’s Green. Sorcha is dabbing away tears. “I’m resigning from New Republic,” she goes. “I’m going to run as an Independent.”

I’m there, “I’m not sure that’s a wise move, Sorcha.”

She goes, “Wise or not, Ross, it’s happening.”

ILLUSTRATION: ALAN CLARKE

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.