Barackmania fails to lift Dail above the mundane


The spirit of Barack flooded the Dáil chamber yesterday, easing the fevered brows of those who stayed up late watching the election results from America and filling deputies with a renewed sense of purpose and optimism.

Who wouldn't have been moved by those emotional scenes from Chicago, as Biffo Obama fulfilled his date with destiny and an ecstatic crowd chanted: "Yes we can! Yes we can!"

Taoiseach Cowen? Can we do it? Maybe we can within the budgetary parameters of the new paradigm.

"Can we do it, Indakinny? "I contrast the wave of euphoria which has washed across the United States and many parts of the world with the pessimism and cynicism that exists here."

Can we do it, Eamon Gilmore? "Shocking level of job losses."

So what about it, deppities? Can we do it? Not on your Nelly!

At least the election of Obama allowed the Opposition the luxury of doing a little dreaming.

"It's interesting . . . what a sense of renewal and fresh hope a change of government can bring to a country," mused the Labour leader, wistfully.

Biffo the First curled his lip and flashed a "dream on" smile across Gilmore.

Minister Dick Roche muttered something about George Bush having to win only one election, further proof of the Government's problem with sums.

Thankfully, Biffo the president managed to bring a little unity to the divided house. All were agreed it would be a good thing for him to come over here for a visit.

The Government should get to work on it immediately.

They should also make sure that the Taoiseach's St Patrick's Day trip to the White House continues under the Obama regime.

Deputy Gilmore appreciated that while Ireland should try and establish links with the new president as quickly as possible, they might have to wait for his victory lap of honour to end.

"It's early days yet, and if president Obama is to follow the precedent set by the Taoiseach, it will probably take a couple of weeks to get through all of the celebrations. So maybe . . . when he gets down off the back of the lorry or whatever the equivalent is, you might place a phone call to him."

Meanwhile, as the House pondered how it might best entice Biffo Obama over to Moneygall in Offaly, people fell to thinking how quiet it had been in the chamber during the past couple of days.

Then the penny dropped. Longford's James Bannon, who likes to go bonkers in the Dáil at least once a week, was missing. Away on an environmental trip, apparently.

However, the significance of Barack's elevation to the biggest job in world politics will not have been lost upon the uproarious Fine Gael backbencher, who is erupting with alarming regularity over the proposed closure of the army camp in his constituency.

Good news, James. Sure they'll have to save the Longford Barracks now.

Are they anything to the Moneygall Baracks?