Now you see them, now you don't - a stand of trees, planted hours before the Tánaiste arrived to open a resource centre in Dublin yesterday, was removed immediately after she had left.
The incident caused outrage in the western suburb of Quarryvale, where local children tried to sit on the trees to prevent workmen from South Dublin County Council taking them away. Afterwards, some children completed the job by pulling up shrubs.
Although Ms Harney was unaware of what happened after she had left, it echoed another event of over 20 years years ago when Mr Ray Burke, as minister for the environment, had trees planted in a housing estate during the Dublin West by-election - and then ordered their removal after Fianna Fáil lost.
Last night the council said the 6ft tall trees had been planted "on a temporary basis". "They were brought in specially for the occasion, to make the place look nice," said Mr Tom Doherty, deputy manager of South Dublin County Council. He said the trees were supposed to have been removed today. He promised that trees would be placed permanently at a planting ceremony next month.
A spokesman for the Tánaiste said last night she would be very disappointed if shrubbery and flowers were temporarily placed just for the optics. "Anyone who knows Mary Harney knows she doesn't stand on ceremony, so that trappings aren't important."
The event marred what should have been a day of hope for Quarryvale. The resource centre, refurbished in a former shopping centre at a cost of over €500,000, houses a training centre, a creche and health facilities. There was a noisy demonstration by community employment workers protesting at the ending of their schemes.