Oliver Callan: Leo and Micheál are the stars of their own romcom, actually
The new Taoiseach and the Fianna Fáil leader nearly broke up this week
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar puts on his suit jacket as he arrives to greet Prime Minister Theresa May outside 10 Downing Street. Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
There is a scene in Love, Actually when Emma Thompson’s character finds what she believes to be a gift from her husband, only to discover later the gold necklace was for another lover. She gets a Joni Mitchell CD instead and cries her heart out. Now we know how John Deasy and other expectant backbenchers must feel. They too caught glimpses of jewellery boxes expecting that Leo would hand them seals on TDs’ Christmas (reshuffle day). Instead of a black Merc, all they got was a Big Yellow Taxi.
They should’ve known Leo doesn’t do commitment, sure wasn’t his first date-night as Taoiseach spent in Copper Face Jacks? He couldn’t take them all home. Leo has been breaking hearts all week. At one stage Fine Gael’s bit on the side, Fianna Fáil, were threatening divorce, until they remembered they weren’t actually married.
It did emerge though that Leo and Micheál were chatting on the phone on Sunday like flirty teenagers on a school night. But get this, Michael wasn’t supposed to tell they were talking on the phone, then he said what Leo said, but Leo said he said he wasn’t going to tell, and then he did and ohmyGodohmyGodlike they nearly broke up! In short, the two parties’ Confidence-tricks and Supine Agreement has been damaged, and all because the lady loves judicial appointments.
Máire Whelan got her gift in the Áras suspiciously early on a day which Leo would spend most of in London. If he was hoping to knock the row out of the headlines with his eye-rolling Hugh Grant gag, it didn’t work. There was unseemly talk that Whelan may not have been the best person for the job, which is unfair. She even looks like a judge, albeit in Amish country. Ironically Micheál Martin also looks like a judge after the Dáil bust-up, but it’s the one from Wanderly Wagon with a black eye.
When Micheál said too much about Máire and broke silence on the phonecalls in the Dáil, he panicked and upped the Cork octave so high, it sounded like he was selling the Evening Echo on Patrick Street. It wasn’t even his party’s worst moment of the week. That came when they boasted, yet again, about their nuclear options. Fianna Fáil is like North Korea, promising missile tests every weekend in a show of force but declaring by midweek that they can’t find the matches. Then everyone falls around laughing at their ridiculous leader.
Back in the Dáil the Máire Whelan row made Brendan Howlin as angry as an Alan Kelly. He railed that FF was trying to interfere in judicial appointments. Nobody is listening to the poor old Labour leader anymore though, proving the adage that “a weakling is a long time in politics”.
Micheál got a second black eye when Chief Justice Susan Denham reminded deputies about the separation of powers. Not to be confused with TDs’ separation of Powers, which is to have a double in the morning to get them going, then wait a few hours before downing a rake more in the evening after the spuds. The message from the Chief Justice was clear: criticising the judiciary in the Dáil is as risky as asking a Garda Commissioner to mind your mobile phone.
Speaking of Leo, actually, Brian O’Driscoll has been claiming he’s Leo Eric Varadkar’s voice twin. In fairness, rugby players have a lot of concussions, so there’s no telling what voice they think they hear in their head. BOD and LEV neither sound nor are alike. One is a much-loved and wealthy media darling, the other is an Irish rugby legend. Their only similarity are embarrassing episodes in their past that they’d rather we never mention again.
Like BOD’s unpopular Coca-cola ambassadorship and the time Leo was staunchly opposed to equal marriage. Dragging either up is as taboo as cracking bad jokes on your first visit to Downing Street hours after a terrorist attack and in the aftermath of a firer in a London tower block that has claimed almost 80 lives.