Miriam Lord’s Week: I hear you’re a bigamist now, Kevin

Kevin ‘Butty’ Moran’s (first) wife seems quite pleased to have him taken off her hands

Minister of State Kevin “Boxer” Moran, who as groom “Butty” Moran is getting “married” in a charity fundraiser

Minister of State Kevin “Boxer” Moran, who as groom “Butty” Moran is getting “married” in a charity fundraiser

 

The Government may be in serious jeopardy this weekend when a Minister of State from the midlands is revealed as a bigamist.

Kevin “Boxer” Moran, already married to the lovely Michelle, is due to marry Precious Clarke at a lavish ceremony in Abbeyshrule on Saturday night. A large number of guests will attend the wedding in The Rustic Inn, after which there will be dinner, speeches and buck-leppin’ into the early hours.

We tracked down the Minister to his prenuptial hideaway on Friday and discovered that the wedding booklet had already been printed, flowers were on order and he had changed his name to “Butty” Moran to throw the authorities off the scent.

“I met her on the road after her car broke down. She told me there was water in the carburettor. She wasn’t wrong, she’d driven the car into the river Inny. I gave her a tow, and it went from there. You could say I pulled twice in the one evening,” said the shameless Minister for the OPW and Flood Relief.

“She’s a lovely girl. I’m so excited me knees are wobbling,” he told us, revealing that Precious is also married, and her adoring husband, Tom Clarke, calls her Kath. “It’s actually her wedding anniversary on our wedding night, but we don’t care. It was mine last week.”

The wedding bouquet, along with Butty’s buttonhole, is fashioned from brown envelopes. “I hear the bride’s rigout is lovely,” he told us. Precious will be a fully veiled vision in white lace. The groom and his groomsmen will be wearing black suits, but they will be wearing red ties while his tie is pink.

The theme of their happy event is Much “I Do” About Nothing.

Minister Moran admits his wife Michelle “only found out a couple of days ago” about his second wedding. “She said she was surprised because she didn’t think anyone else would have me. She’ll be going on the night to make sure Precious takes me off her hands.”

He says hundreds of tickets have been sold for the event. When it’s all over, the wedding planners will be sending a big ball of money to help with the running of Ballymahone daycare centre for the elderly.

Caped crusader Crawford

We were sad to hear the news of the death of former Fine Gael TD Seymour Crawford. The “gentle giant” from Aghabog in Co Monaghan was universally liked around the House and nobody ever had a bad word to say against him.

Having served as a county councillor, he was elected to the Dáil in 1992 and held his seat until he retired from politics at the 2011 election. A former vice-president of the Irish Farmers’ Association, the ruddy-faced politician was a devout Presbyterian and an all-round good egg.

His death last Saturday reminded us of a staff party in the Oireachtas dining room many years ago when, for reasons we have long forgotten, a number of Fine Gael members arrived in fancy dress. Highlight of the night was the unexpected sight of the stolid Seymour bursting through the doors dressed in a full Lycra Batman costume, including the grey tights. And by his side, a youthful Simon Coveney dressed as Robin.

At this week’s plenary session of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly in London, delegates remembered deputy Crawford as a diligent member of the assembly, which works to build understanding and co-operation between political representatives in Britain and Ireland.

Senator Paul Coghlan, a longtime assembly member, recalled driving his Fine Gael colleague to a meeting in Scotland as he had injured his back on the farm and was unable to fly. The Killarney-based Senator drove up to Monaghan, collected Seymour and the pair of them got the ferry from Larne to Stranraer.

On the journey, Coghlan, a clubbable individual, was looking forward to the post-meeting convivialities. Crawford was busy studying maps and guides. On Saturday night, as the MPs and TDs and Senators enjoyed drinks and a sing-song, Crawford approached Coghlan, a Catholic, and informed him he had found a solution “for the following morning”, which would suit both of them.

“We’re going to split the difference. I’ve found an Episcopalian church. Nine o’clock service.”

Coghlan put down his gin and tonic and retired to bed.

FF’s Podge and Rodge go rogue

Bumped into a Fianna Fáil TD on Friday.

“Did you see Podge and Rodge? What did you think?”

Right enough, we had heard the two aul’ fellas from Ballydung Manor returned to our TV screens this week. The reviews weren’t great.

“Eh, no. Didn’t see it.”

“No, not the puppets. Young Dev and Mark Daly. What do you think?”

It’s hard to know what to think, but it isn’t every morning you turn on the radio to hear Audrey Carville twice asking a Fianna Fáil Senator: “Did you and Éamon Ó Cuív go rogue last night?”

The mind boggles.

Senator Mark Daly waffled but didn’t deny it.

When Politicians Go Rogue: there could be a TV series in this.

'The Unveiling of Sorcha' could have been an oil painting in the National Gallery for all Fianna Fáil knew about it

Daly and Ó Cuív travelled to an event in Omagh and “unveiled” the first Fianna Fáil candidate to stand for election in the North. The pair of rogues presided at a meeting to announce the candidacy of former Sinn Féin member Sorcha McAnespy, both men assisting in the big reveal by tantalisingly slipping off a Ballydung beige blanket from an FF election poster featuring the former Sinn Féin councillor.

Only problem is, Fianna Fáil was kept in the dark. “The Unveiling of Sorcha” could have been an oil painting in the National Gallery for all they knew about it.

Announcing the party’s first candidate in Northern Ireland for the best part of a century is a big event. It would merit the presence of the party leader. A far bigger hall. And a courtesy call to the SDLP.

Could it be that Galway Rodge and Kerry Podge were deliberately trying to provoke and unsettle the leadership? Some say that the pair would like nothing better than a general election and a Fianna Fáil return to power in coalition with Sinn Féin. Ó Cuív wouldn’t be averse to such an arrangement, and neither would Daly, who relied on Sinn Féin votes to get into the Seanad on a couple of occasions.

Party headquarters is fuming. No candidate has been selected. Daly and Ó Cuív don’t seem to care. But their announcement has been shot down, for now. Put the drapes back on.

It’s a case of premature congratulations for Fianna Fáil’s Podge and Rodge.

Dr Matthew Barrett, after his graduation from a specialist cardiology course at the Royal College of Physicians, with his partner Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
Dr Matthew Barrett, after his graduation from a specialist cardiology course at the Royal College of Physicians, with his partner Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Tired Taoiseach

Speaking of nights out, did the Taoiseach look a little tired when he went to the Tyrrelstown Educate Together school in Dublin on Thursday morning for his photo-op to demonstrate his Government’s concern over the closure of a number of schools due to building safety concerns?

We only ask because he had a rare night off on Wednesday. Leo began his evening in the Royal College of Physicians, where he looked very happy and very proud to see his partner, Dr Matthew Barrett, graduate from a medical training programme as a specialist cardiologist.

They are the epitome of a power couple.

The Taoiseach then made his way from Kildare Street to Merrion Row for an end-of-session get-together with his Fine Gael colleagues. The Dáil rose for a midterm break on Thursday and reconvenes on Tuesday, November 6th.

A number of Ministers, including Richard Bruton, Simon Harris and Eoghan Murphy joined him in Foley’s upstairs bar for drinks and nibbles – fish and chips were served in cardboard cones. Despite the fact they had to buy their own drink, there was good turnout from TDs and Senators.

But there was a noticeable absence of female politicians. For most of the night, Minister of State for Europe Helen McEntee was the only woman at the party.

What would Dev think of Brexit?

It’s been a big week for RTÉ’s David McCullagh. On Tuesday night he had the unenviable task of herding six presidential candidates around a lengthy TV debate while stifling the urge to yell “For the love of God, why won’t yis all just f-f-flip off and leave us alone!”

Because that was the viewers’ prerogative.

Dr Dave – he’s a historian as well as an anchor on Prime Time – did an excellent job on the night. But he couldn’t rest on his laurels because the launch of his latest book was the following evening.

Former taoiseach Brian Cowen did the honours for De Valera: Rule (1932-1975) at a reception in Hodges Figgis bookshop, telling the crowd that one of Dev’s finest achievements was to retain the loyalty of his ministers. “You can take it from me, that’s a magnificent achievement,” said the Biff, who wasn’t so fortunate in that regard.

The book is the second and final volume of the broadcaster’s biography of The Long Fellow, taking up the story in 1932, when De Valera’s first Fianna Fáil government comes to power. Cowen praised the author for his objective portrayal of “a crucial character in Irish politics” and for providing “a wonderful, detailed and accurate account of de Valera’s time in government and out of it”, he said.

He quoted the book’s closing line: “For better or worse, Éamon de Valera did more than any other individual to shape the Ireland over which he ruled; and, for better or worse, that Ireland, like its creator, now belongs to history.”

What would Dev think of Brexit? He was vocally anti-European integration throughout his career. He never divulged what way he voted on Ireland joining the European Economic Community, but shortly before we formally entered, he told family members: “I am the first and last president of an independent Ireland.”

As president he used to attend lectures on advanced mathematics in the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies. After one particularly difficult episode, he told the director, JL Synge, he wouldn’t be returning. Synge admitted he couldn’t think of a suitable reply, as he hadn’t understood a word of it either.

McCullagh also discovered that Dev was something of a romantic. When Edward VIII was considering abdication so he could marry Wallis Simpson, the taoiseach was the only one of the Dominion prime ministers who thought he should be allowed stay on. When the British official discussing it with him expressed surprise, Dev said that while divorce wasn’t allowed in Catholic countries, it was in Protestant countries, and he thought that many people would “in these democratic days, be attracted by the idea of a young king, ready to give up all for love”.

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