McGinley wows the House


PERFORMANCE OF the week, of the decade, of the last 20 years . . . goes to Dinny McGinley of Donegal, Minister of State for the Gaeltacht.

He was in the Seanad on Thursday afternoon for a debate on the Gaeltacht Bill. There were very robust and passionate contributions on the Government’s strategy for the Irish language and its plan to redesignate Gaeltacht areas along linguistic rather than geographical lines.

“Some of them gave Dinny a ferocious going over” is how one Senator described it.

At the end of the debate, the Minister rose to reply. He discarded his script and spoke, as Gaeilge, for half an hour. His passion for the language shone through as he went on, voice quivering with emotion. He cited the various arguments put up against him and knocked them down.

Red-faced, and with his hands flying all over the place, Dinny hopped from one foot to the other until he was nearly dancing around the table.

At the end of this remarkable contribution – with the crowd larger than when he began – the Senators, many following his speech on headphones, leapt to their feet and gave the Minister a standing ovation. Take a bow, Dinny McGinley.