Miriam Lord’s Week: All fur coat at FG’s fundraising bash

Comedian thinks the Taoiseach should know the full story about women’s bits

Gráinne Maguire: encouraged her fellow countrywomen to tweet details of their menstrual cycle to the Taoiseach

Gráinne Maguire: encouraged her fellow countrywomen to tweet details of their menstrual cycle to the Taoiseach

 

All fur coat and no knickers – that’s the nice sort of evening the Cricklewood Blueshirts wanted for Enda last night.

Readers might recall the dramatic events at last year’s fundraising dinner organised by Fine Gael’s London branch, when the Taoiseach was “knickerbombed” by pro-choice campaigners who infiltrated the event and served him up a pair of knickers bearing the message “Repeal the 8th, Enda.”

Enda sat at his table and did nothing – par for the course for a Taoiseach who ran a mile from the issue in September, refusing to commit to a referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment, which puts the right to life of a mother on an equal footing with her foetus.

Mercifully, a brave young man sitting next to Enda selflessly dropped his napkin on to the offending undergarment before it burst into flames and burned the whole place down, sending everybody to hell.

Women from Speaking of Imelda – which stands for “Ireland Making England the Legal Destination for Abortion” – staged their polite invasion to draw attention to the ongoing hypocrisy of forcing thousands of Irish women to travel overseas, with the eyes-averted blessing of their country, in order to access safe and legal abortion services.

Tight security

Enda and the Fine Gael lads didn’t want any more embarrassment from uppity women talking about their bits.

The knicker incident made headlines last year. This week, comedian Gráinne Maguire encouraged her fellow countrywomen to tweet details of their menstrual cycle to the Taoiseach and the highly entertaining results are being reported by news outlets around the world.

Maguire argues that if the representatives of the State are so concerned with women’s reproductive parts, they should know the full story.

Still, unlike last year’s knickers, Enda doesn’t have to look at his tweets. He has staff for that. And if he asks, they can always tell him that the menstrual cycle is like the Ring of Kerry cycle, but without Jimmy Deenihan.

Dinner, by the way, cost £100 a plate, which should make a tidy sum for Fine Gael. The ballroom was packed.

They won’t pull in anything like Sinn Féin, though. Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald fronted up on Thursday night in Manhattan for their Friends of Sinn Féin annual bash.

More than 600 guests in the Sheraton Times Square dined on filet mignon with asparagus and a fancy Manchego cheese and potato concoction, all washed down with Magnolia Grove cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay.

Adams said on Tuesday that when other parties criticised Sinn Féin for their lucrative fundraisers, they do so out of jealousy. He might be right.

Sour sauvignon

Enda had this to say to Pearse Doherty about Gerry’s no- show at Leaders’ Questions. (He turned up a short while later.) “It shows the extent of the priority that your leader and deputy leader attach to this House that they decide to exit to the United States for a fundraiser which is very much in excess of anything I might have attended myself.”

He must have been thinking of Cricklewood.

It’s all go for Enda this weekend. After London, it’s back to Mayo and a big celebration in Castlebar marking the Taoiseach’s milestone 40 years in politics.

The Castlebar District Fine Gael Executive Council is holding a dance in his honour in the Breaffy House Hotel tonight, with music by the Brose Walsh Band and a full sit-down dinner. It’s €50 a head.

It seems the CDFGEC doesn’t want any old riff-raff attending Enda’s ruby anniversary.

The advance notice sent out to selected members contains an underlined “Please Note” and states that tickets are only available from three local sources and are “not for sale” (underlined again) “in the Taoiseach’s constituency office on Tucker Street . . . although we understand one of the three custodians of the tickets works in the Tucker Street office.

We hope they have great night.

Lord Ross

Shane Ross donated a very nice prize for a charity quiz night at Sandyford House in his constituency recently. Lord Ross, the Winston Churchtown of Dublin South, promised to treat the lucky winner and three companions to dinner in the Oireachtas restaurant. The stockbroker turned business journalist welcomed his guests to Leinster House during the week.

Lucia Lambe, the winner of the quiz, arrived for dinner with two of her sisters, Aisling and Martina, and Martina’s partner, Rob Cummins.

Capitalist running dog Ross was ever-so-slightly worried that the evening might descend into a battle of economic ideologies before the starter was finished, but they all had a lovely time. “The three ladies, not forgetting Rob, were delightful and charming companions,” he informs us.

For security purposes, Lucia had to supply the names in advance of the people coming with her to Leinster House. That would include Lucia Lambe (née Coppinger) and her sisters Aisling Coppinger and Martina Coppinger. “We’re all very different,” said one of them, which is the lovely way with families.

The Independent Alliance TD had to rush off to another appointment at the coffee stage, but the party were left in good hands. They were joined by sister number four, the Socialist Party and Anti-Austerity alliance deputy for Dublin West, Ruth Coppinger.

Ruth resisted the urge to splurge on the menu at Winston Churchtown’s expense. “I got a free bit of brown bread off you,” she informed him afterwards.

Speaking of the sisterhood, Fianna Fáil’s national executive meeting on Wednesday night heard a number of complaints from angry members who were most aggrieved at the imposition of female candidates on tickets in order to reach the gender quota.

One gentleman, in all sincerity, suggested a solution which he felt would satisfy everyone. If there had to be a certain amount of women selected, why not look at constituencies where the party hasn’t a hope in hell of winning a seat and pick an all-female ticket? You could run up to four of them in one go.

Genius.

Housing rift

Fine Gael and Labour Ministers at loggerheads is not a good image for a Coalition trying to give its “stability versus chaos” line the hard sell.

Micheál Martin and Gerry Adams got great mileage this week from reports that the Minister for Finance and the Minister for the Environment were engaged in an embarrassing stand-off over the housing crisis.

Now that Michael Noonan and Alan Kelly appear to have come to an, er, accommodation on the issue, their people have been at pains to point out that the two were merely hammering out the finer points of policy and it was never a case of daggers drawn between Buddha Noonan and AK47 Kelly.

General opinion seems to be that Noonan came out the better but Kelly, who argued for rent control, emerged as the moral victor when both Peter McVerry and Sr Stan praised him for his efforts to tackle homelessness.

On Wednesday, he had dinner in the Oireachtas restaurant with Alice Leahy and some of her team from the Trust homeless organisation. We don’t know if he was wearing the AK47-shaped cufflinks he got from Civil Service colleagues for his birthday.

But back to the Coalition’s odd couple, who sashayed into the Dáil members’ bar on Tuesday. Kelly got the first drink. The television was tuned to Prime Time and Miriam O’Callaghan shimmered into shot.

“What will happen next in the war of words between the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly?” she asked. Whereupon Noonan drawled: “Givvus two more pints there, Peadar, and turn off that aul’ shite while you’re at it.” Allegedly.

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