Miriam Lord’s week: Search continues for ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’


The mystery of the missing email continues in Marlborough Street as staff in Ruairí Quinn’s department continue the search for Colm Keaveney’s “straw that broke the camel’s back.”

Keaveney, who resigned from the Labour Party on Wednesday, said he finally made up his mind to walk after a letter he sent to the Minister for Education about cuts to special needs services had been completely ignored.

He wrote to him last Friday requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the situation, but heard nothing back.

The outspoken East Galway TD was expelled from the parliamentary party last year after he voted against the budget.

But as a card carrying member of Labour, he remained chairman of the party, much to the irritation of head office and many of his erstwhile Government colleagues.

Keaveney put his decision to resign this week down to a number of difficulties he has with the party policy but said Ruairí Quinn’s lack of response to his letter was the final straw.

“There is little or no point in being Chair of the Labour party and being ignored when engaging with Labour ministers as you’re trying to articulate something that affects ordinary decent people in society,” he explained on Wednesday.

On Monday, after Keaveney first complained about getting no reply from Quinn, a spokeswoman for the Minister told journalists that Keaveney’s urgent communication had not been received.

Yesterday, a week and a disgusted resignation later, it still hadn’t landed.

“He said he sent it to the Minister’s Oireachtas address, but those emails are automatically forwarded to the Department,” said the spokeswoman. “Everything comes through the secretariat, but nothing has been received here. We’ve been checking. It must be stuck in cyberspace or something.”

Maybe Colm hit the wrong button. Because they’re adamant in Marlborough Street: “It’s hard to ignore something that you haven’t seen.”

Music at the Áras comes to soothe the soul
It’s been a bad week for the blood pressure. So let’s not think for a while about those loathsome Anglo braggarts lying about pulling imaginary billions out of their mangy Celtic Tiger arses.

Let’s not think about them slinking away after leaving the country in turmoil. They’re busy reinventing themselves in sunny exile, getting back in the all-important game while conveniently going bankrupt in the luxury to which they still feel entitled.

Oh, a desperate week for the nerves.

We’ll have some music instead, courtesy of our Celtic President, who is doing his best to waft away the pong from the putrefying Tiger.

Michael D has invited the Dublin Welsh Male Voice Choir to sing at his summer party in the Áras on Tuesday. Their musical director, Geraint Waters, is originally from Cwmgwrach, a village in the upper Neath Valley, but has been resident in Ireland for more than 25 years.

The President has put in a special request for the choir to sing The Sunset Poem from the Dylan Thomas radio play Under Milk Wood. The song begins: “Every morning when I wake/ Dear Lord, a little prayer I make / O please do keep Thy lovely eye / On all poor creatures born to die.”

Guests at the Áras will also be treated to The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves from Verdi’s Nabucco. We don’t know whether the lyrics will be updated for today’s Anglo Slaves, enduring to the last, having drunk from the cup of affliction and shed bitter tears of repentance.

Their American Trilogy medley is sure to be of comfort, with Battle Hymn of the Republic and All My Trials, Lord and that big Anglo favourite, Dixie, which the boys brazenly whistled while waving the financial system down the Swanee.

The choir was formed in the 1960s and a founder-member is Garvin Evans, father of Dave Evans, better known as the Edge of U2. They rehearse on Monday nights in the Royal Hospital, Donnybrook. New recruits are welcome. Details at dublinwelsh.com

A little bird tells us, by the way, that another collection of Michael D’s speeches is currently in preparation. His previous compilation Renewing the Republic was published in 2011, the year he was elected. Some of his recent orations have been quite controversial, so maybe he should call his next volume
A Cat Among the Pigeons.

Mathews recognises no boundaries in his passion to halt Abortion Bill
There is no doubt that passions are running high among some deputies in Leinster House when it comes to the Abortion Bill.

However, there is passion, there is heated passion and then there is Peter Mathews.

The Fine Gael deputy for Dublin South is utterly opposed to the legislation as it currently stands and he has been on a crusade around the corridors of power in his efforts to persuade people to rally to his cause.

Nobody is safe.

We have seen the Taoiseach waylaid on his way from the chamber and subjected at length to the Mathews treatment.

He follows people even as they quicken their pace, doggedly pointing out the dangers in the legislation as he see it.

During the recent committee hearings, Peter was so anxious to discuss aspects of Rhona Mahoney’s contribution that he left the chamber with her, still making his case for the unborn as the Master of Holles Street reached the door of the Ladies’ loo.

On Thursday, a journalist passed him in the corridor only to be handed a copy of the Hippocratic Oath along with a lengthy lecture on the rights of the unborn. Soon afterwards, he read the oath into the Dáil record.

At one point, Peter complained “no Government Minister” had attended the Health Committee hearings in May.

“I did,” interjected Kathleen Lynch.

“Not for long,” he said.

“I was there for an entire morning,” she protested.

“I said no Government Minister attended. With respect, you are a junior Minister,” sniffed Peter, as Kathleen gave him a thunderous look.

Mary would have someting to say about the banker braggats
We were thinking this week that former Fianna Fáil minister and best-selling author, Mary O’Rourke, might have some interesting things to say about the whole sorry Anglo saga.

Mary, of course, was very close to her nephew, the late Brian Lenihan, who was minister for finance on that ill-fated night of the bank guarantee.

And she has always had interesting views on the male-dominated world of Irish business and politics, so she would have plenty to say about the obnoxious carry-on of the banking braggarts who beggared us. And here, don’t we see the programme for this year’s Percy French Festival, which starts on July 10th in Castlecoote Hall and various other locations around Roscommon. Mary will be delivering a lecture on “Life in the male world of politics: balancing public and home life”. It’s an interesting line-up – lecturers include Abbot Mark Patrick Hederman of Glenstal Abbey, professors Luke Gibbons and Richard Broadberry and ICA president Liz Wall.

Roscommon county council is running an exhibition at the county library while Castlecoote has harp recitals, a musical take on Oscar Wilde from Bill Golding and “an open competition for Percy French impersonators”.

Thankfully, apart from the always entertaining O’Rourke, there is very little politics on the menu. It’s much more stimulating stuff.