A warm welcome for Pelosi in the Dáil
Sir, – I was present in the Dáil chamber to hear speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi on April 17th (Miriam Lord: “Nancy Pelosi and Bono induce fan mania in Dáil”, April 18th).
Most of the time I enjoy Miriam Lord’s commentaries on political happenings. But I didn’t recognise the event she described at which I was present.
I sat in the chamber with a group of strong women who were former parliamentarians. We were all there to welcome and hear this powerful woman and appreciated the invitation. The audience of current and former politicians listened with respect and attention to an important statement from the third in line to the US presidency.
Along with other former members, I frequently attend meetings in Leinster House, often in the Dáil chamber, I don’t think we are there “to plug the holes” as Miriam Lord described our presence.
The geography of the chamber is such that on a big occasion there is inevitable crowding at the exit. With my colleagues I joined the crowd as we waited to leave after the speech. Sure, we saw Bono and equally sure none of us were trying to shake his hand or get autographs. Nobody around me was behaving in the way Miriam Lord described.
Not to put too solemn a face on it, I regret when politicians as a group are derided. We frequently deplore the failure for too long of the Northern Ireland Assembly, and we express the need for democratically elected assemblies.
I hope Miriam Lord will continue to cast her critical eyes at political goings-on. But, out-and-out derision and scorn does no one any service, least of all the democratically elected institutions of the State. They are, after all, relatively new and had difficult years in their foundation. – Yours, etc,