Miriam Lord: Ann Widdecombe puts best foot forward at pro-life bash

Former Tory minister is special guest at Ceiliúradh Cois Life

Big night on Wednesday for the pro-life campaign. It hosted its inaugural annual fundraising dinner in the Mansion House. Special guest at Ceiliúradh Cois Life was former Tory minister Ann Widdecombe, who was given a rousing reception by over 500 guests in the Round Room.

Other speakers included Spirit Radio broadcaster, Wendy Grace and Senator Rónán Mullen. Earlier, Rónán escorted Dame Ann to a lunch in her honour at the papal nuncio’s residence in the Phoenix Park.

Later in the evening, a potentially unpleasant incident was avoided when Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Minister of State for Equality, pitched up at the door of the pro-life ball and sought admittance.

He was turned away because he had no ticket, which is understandable because he thought he was attending the Ringsend and District Respond to Drugs Awards, on in another part of the building.


It was a pity, really, because Aodhán could have gone in and continued his spat with Rónán Mullen. And Mattie McGrath. It’s all to do with Twitter and acrimonious exchanges between the Senator and Minister this week.

McGrath twice took up the cudgels on behalf of the Senator during the Dáil’s Order of Business.

On Tuesday, he informed the Ceann Comhairle he wanted to raise an “item about the tweeting system”.

“What tweeting system,” asked the chair, wearily.

Tweetest thing

“I have to ask because it goes on. There is an adage that if there are too many tweets, the tweeter becomes a twat. Are we going to have government by tweets?” asked McGrath.

“Minister Ó Ríordáin today sent a terribly insulting tweet to people who happen to be pro-life.” he complained.

The Tipperary TD told the Taoiseach to “rein in his Ministers”. He was also unhappy with tweets from Leo Varadkar over the free GP scheme for the under-sixes.

He returned to the topic the next day. Varadkar and Ó Ríordáin were “tweeting about unsavoury issues and insulting GPs and pro-life supporters”. The Broadcasting Bill should be amended to deal with this “outrageous” type of behaviour.

Dame Widdecombe visited Leinster House on Thursday as a guest of Senator Mullen and Senator Jim Walsh. It’s nice to see them recovering from their same-sex marriage setback.

Miriam Lord

Miriam Lord

Miriam Lord is a colour writer and columnist with The Irish Times. She writes the Dáil Sketch, and her review of political happenings, Miriam Lord’s Week, appears every Saturday