Amateur donor puts Ring in a spot


WILL WE ever forget Bertie’s tale of the Manchester hotel dinner, when, as an off-duty minister for finance, he gave an informal talk to a crowd of wealthy pals and they surprised him with £8,000 as he was leaving? There was nearly a rerun of it in a Glasgow hotel on Thursday night.

Minister of State for Tourism Michael Ring was in town to drum up support among expats for a Government-backed diaspora gathering exercise called “The Gathering”, which is planned for next year.

The Ringer was in full evangelical mode, impressing upon his audience the need to spread the message and get as many people as possible with Irish connections to make a trip back home.

The assembled business people and representatives of Irish social and cultural groups were very impressed. At the end of the night, one guest didn’t want the Minister to go home empty-handed. She made a beeline for Ring, cash in hand, declaring: “I have to give this man money!”

Officials explained to her that the Minister of State was not in a position to accept cash donations.

Maybe she should have gone to the reception desk first and asked for an envelope.