FG turns to prayer in effort to reverse embassy closure


IT WAS all one-way traffic at this week’s Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting when Deputies and Senators discussed a motion from Sligo TD Tony McLoughlin calling on the Government to consider a review of its recent decision to close the Vatican embassy.

There wasn’t a dissenting voice among the 35 speakers, all of whom spoke in favour of the motion. Lucinda Creighton and Michael Noonan spoke strongly in favour of the review, while Tipperary’s Noel Coonan described the closure as stupid.

Making reference to the Minister for the Environment, who had left the room, he added: “Cute old Phil must have kissed the Cabinet that day because there was nothing cute about that decision.”

But it was Tom Barry of Cork East who unwittingly provoked the biggest reaction of the evening. Given the overwhelming support for the motion, Deputy Barry thought he might bring the Vatican discussion to a speedy end with a little joke.

“I think we’ll finish now with a decade of the rosary – I hope you all know your prayers.”

Whereupon Peter Mathews of Dublin South jumped up and whipped a pair of brown rosary beads out of his pocket, and with his arm high in the air, swung them around his head like he was about to lasso a calf.

They weren’t expecting that.