Greyhound Dukes is no poodle insists Enda on a Dog Day Afternoon

 Gerry Adams: tried to get an answer from Enda Kenny on the banks, but he didn’t get very far. Photograph: Alan Betson

Gerry Adams: tried to get an answer from Enda Kenny on the banks, but he didn’t get very far. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The Dáil dozed fitfully yesterday, flaked out on democracy’s doorstep like a dog in the afternoon sun.

Think the usual Tuesday torpor, only dulled down by knockout drops of heat.

It was heavy going.

You could have fried an ovum on the plinth, if you had an egg. But that’s today’s business, when the Protection of Human Life During Pregnancy Bill returns centre stage.

Everybody is looking forward to it.

Just one more day and then we can go back to discussing nice things, like the state of the economy and what the Government is planning to do in the Budget.

Gerry Adams has a great interest in the banks. He was on about them again yesterday during Leaders’ Questions. Specifically, he wanted to know what their public interest directors do. What are they for?

He tried to get an answer from Enda, but he didn’t get very far.

This had us wondering if the banks have such a thing as a national interest director, and if so, is that the same as a public interest director?

We’ve recently heard bankers talking of how the authorities urged them to “pull on the green jersey” and keep Ireland sweet with the international financial markets, and hang the consequences for the cash-strapped locals.

Never mind the public interest when the national interest is at stake, it seems.

So there was the Sinn Féin leader, trying to tease out what exactly the public interest director of the bank formerly known as Anglo gets up to. He doesn’t think much of any of these State appointees, no matter which bank they represent.

But yesterday, Adams focused particularly on the IBRC’s Alan Dukes and wanted to know if he had told anyone of the Anglo tapes when he knew of their existence.

Dukes, a former Fine Gael leader and former minister for finance, is more than willing to come before any public inquiry or committee which wants to talk to him, said Enda.

Casting aspersions

But what does he do? Gerry wanted to know. What is a public interest director’s function?

“We were told they were appointed as watchdogs for the ordinary decent citizen. Clearly, they are lapdogs.”

Furthermore, pointed out the Sinn Féin leader, “you still haven’t told me what they do”.

Enda wasn’t happy with him casting aspersions on Alan Dukes. You don’t disrespect a former Fine Gael leader to a current Fine Gael leader (heaves excepted).

Any infighting in Fine Gael is done within the confines of the party rooms, as the abortion legislation has shown.

Well. The Taoiseach was fit to be tied.

“I know that Alan Dukes, a former distinguished minister, is nobody’s lapdog.”

That’s a disgraceful image for people to have to deal with when they’re trying to cope with the hot weather.

There is nothing spaniel-like about Dukes, even if Gerry Adams thinks he has been somewhat cavalier about his duties in the public interest.

Gangly, angular Alan is definitely a greyhound. Although again, Adams would be of the view that his actions in the Anglo affair haven’t been particularly speedy.

You’d want to have a very substantial lap to comfortably accommodate a greyhound.

That being said, they make fabulous pets and don’t need much exercise. Just as Dukes has become an establishment pet and isn’t too exercised about the public interest part of his brief, as Gerry would have it.

Meanwhile, just one of the FG four who voted themselves out of the parliamentary party last week surfaced in the chamber for Leaders’ Questions. A melancholy looking Peter Mathews, back for now in his usual seat until his boundaries are redrawn, kept an eye on proceedings.

The Wrestlers

No sign of the other three – Billy Timmins, Brian Walsh and Terence Flanagan. There was also little sign of The Wrestlers, those deputies said to be experiencing difficulties with the abortion legislation and undecided as to how they are going to vote today.

The House drifted along into the warm currents of Questions to the Taoiseach. This section is usually so boring it could stun an elephant to sleep.

The Taoiseach reads statements telling his Opposition counterparts about all the places he has visited and the things he has done on behalf of Ireland, and they retaliate with statements picking holes in his account.

Yesterday’s episode was more like Questions to the Leader of Sinn Féin than Questions to the Taoiseach.

The temperature plummeted when the subject of Enda’s recent visit to Boston came up. The Fianna Fáil leader asked him about the controversial Boston College tapes and then brought up the murder of Jean McConville in 1972.

Micheál Martin urged Adams to make a statement on the matter, as the book Voices from the Grave stated that he was involved in the disappearance.

And the Taoiseach challenged Adams to state on the Dáil record that he was not associated with the crime.

Martin, following a number of testy exchanges with the Sinn Féin leader, remarked: “Nobody except Deputy Adams believes he wasn’t in the IRA.”

Dessie Ellis rode to his leader’s defence. “You never collaborated with the Brits either,” he said to a nonplussed Micheál.

“You collaborated with the Brits,” Dessie repeated.

“No. I did not, actually.”

“Your party collaborated with the Brits. You know well what I’m talking about.”

Adams repeated his well-worn denials. He must have been expecting the questions, because he had a script to hand.

“The issue of those who were detained, abducted, shot and buried by the IRA is a terrible legacy of the conflict. We know it is not unique to this phase of the conflict. It has happened at other times. There are still issues going back to the Civil War and the Tan war, which have to be resolved.”

Did he just say “tan”?

Time for some sunshine.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.