The Long-winded Fella delivers a monumental outbreak of smirking


DÁIL SKETCH:ÉAMON Ó CUÍV stood proudly on the plinth, revelling in the elevation of his irrelevance.

It was a bizarre moment, even by the standards of Irish politics. Government and Opposition deputies watched the spectacle from a distance. Laughing.

The former government minister and deputy leader of Fianna Fáil was finally before the waiting media to announce his “monumental decision”. He was alone, save for his monumental welcome for himself and his monumental opinion of his own importance.

After days of agonising, he was about to hand down the word from Planet Dev.

Well. As you might imagine, everyone was agog.

Since Éamon indicated his angst over his future in Fianna Fáil, the nation has spoken of nothing else but the inner turmoil of the man who channels the spirit of his illustrious grandaddy.

He strung out the suspense all day until word came out that he would be unburdening himself to the nation in time for the teatime news bulletins.

So where exactly is Planet Dev? We got the answer to that question from Ó Cuív when he made his dramatically flagged statement: it’s way down the far end of the garden path.

Which is where he dumped everyone by the time he gave his verdict.

If the founder of Fianna Fáil was The Long Fella, his descendant is The Long-winded Fella. He launched into his statement with a dissertation on small nations such as Ireland and their place in Europe. He dismissed the speculation surrounding his grandstanding on the treaty as a strategy aimed at personal political gain.

On and on we went down the garden path until, a full six minutes into his speech, he arrived at the foot of his monument.

“I reflected over the long weekend on this turn of events,” he began.

And? And?

“This has been one of the most difficult decisions of my political career.”

And? And?

“I think it is best for me to continue as a member of Fianna Fail . . . I will continue to work from within, to serve the party.”

At this point, members of the large media throng were unable to hide their amusement. There was a mass outbreak of smirking.

Young Dev then plugged his blog. Twice.

He was staying with Fianna Fáil because, after the referendum campaign was over, he would be outside the fold “and I would be a powerless force in politics”. And he was speaking as somebody who is “now the only backbench TD in Fianna Fáil”. And you can’t get any more powerful than that.

Then, this monumental force disclosed that he would not be making any further comment about the referendum. Although did he mention his blog? It’s called “Outside the Box” he said, helpfully.

The Young Dev meekly climbed back inside the box provided by Micheál Martin. “I’ve instructions from now on to say nothing.”

Éamon Ó Cuív, in his elevated irrelevance, was watched with bemusement by his fellow politicians as he delivered his monumental speech. Deputies from the technical group looked on enviously at the huge number of journalists covering the faintly ridiculous Ó Cuív as he announced he was doing nothing.

They were holding a meeting with parents of disabled children and adults, who are trying to cope with welfare cuts. The stories they told were heartbreaking. But few came to hear them.

Instead, we were giggling at the pantomime patriot who is a martyr to his genes.

Funny, but he wasn’t very rebellious when he was a minister, with lots of EU cash to spend and lots of money to lavish on his constituency.