Thursday, June 25, 2009

Norris's brothel tales grip Seanad!

Long live the great Senator David Norris for yet again injecting colour, humour and above all, humanity into what can be an incredibly dull Seanad.

During a recent Seanad motion on human trafficking and prostitution, Senator Norris was his usual colourful, vociferous self as he regaled fellow Senators about his close encounter with a brothel.

“For a number of years, there was a brothel in the basement next to me in North Great George’s Street,” he told an eager Seanad.

“On one occasion when the woman was being beaten up, I was obliged to intervene and I protected her. I did not avail of her services but it was quite a moving experience because I encountered her as a human being and realised what was going on in that place.”

“On a Saturday evening, I often swept my step and I saw many people coming from there, some of whom were quite familiar names in Irish public life.”

“While they got a hell of a shock on seeing me, I never have disclosed a single name and never would.”

“These were professional people, some of whom were in religious professions,” he said, whetting the curiosity of many.

And he was similarly vociferous about proposals to follow the lead of Sweden, Norway and Iceland by criminalising the purchase of sex so as to target the demand for the sex exploitation industry.

“Members who have a slightly more sophisticated view of history will remember that among other things, Sweden supplied Hitler with ball bearings during the Second World War and has a serious problem with right-wing hooliganism.”

“Simply because something happens in Sweden does not mean one should automatically gollop it down uncritically,” he said.

Enda and Elvis - never the twain shall meet!

Only a few more Dail sitting days to go and holidays will be at the forefront of most TDs minds.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny was interviewed recently in a so-called ‘quality broadsheet’ about his dream holiday – if money or work were no restriction.

His dream holiday consists of riding a Harley-Davidson from New York across the US.

“I’d love to do that with the wind in my face, the sun on my back, wherever freedom takes you,” he said.

If his dreams come true, lets hope he has a better holiday than his trip to Wales with some pals 30 years ago.

“In 1979, myself and a few mates went to Wales camping. It teemed out of the heavens from the beginning to end, and in the middle of it all, Elvis died,” he said.

Eh Enda, Elvis actually went to the great burger joint in the sky in 1977!!

And the award goes to.....

The Common Sense Award of the week goes to Fianna Fail’s Limerick TD Niall Collins, who has called for a referendum to be held on the thorny issue of judges salaries.

This follows the controversy that only 19 judges have so far agreed to make voluntary contributions in lieu of the pension levy.

Our Constitution states that the remuneration of a judge cannot be reduced while they are in office. So that got Niall thinking.

“This group of elite untouchables should be subjected to the regular procedures administering the pay of higher civil servants,” he said.

“In the modern day, being protected by the Constitution is simply not good enough given that many thousands of people and their families are suffering falling incomes and job losses.”

“I feel with the forthcoming Lisbon 2 referendum, we have an early opportunity to address this issue through a vote of the people. Many of the working practices of the courts and the judiciary need modernising and this is now an opportune time for that,” he said.

Should they stay or should they go?

Green Party Deputy Ciaran Cuffe has said the Greens should walk from Government – unless there is a greater delivery of his party’s policies.

The local elections may seen like a distant memory to many but around the corridors of power of Leinster House, politicos are trying to make sense of the slaughter on June 5.

None more so than that Green Party, which has become an almost extinct breed in local Government – especially in the capital.

Deputy Cuffe has been doing a fair bit of soul searching on his blog, acknowledging that it was a ‘rough’ result for the Greens and saying how it ‘hurt’ to be hit so hard within the Pale.

“We could walk away from Government, and unless there is greater deliver of Green Party policies, particularly in areas of
responsibility that don’t fall directly under out control, I think we should,” he said.

“People were mad as hell about the wasted opportunities of the boom years and while Fianna Fail were taking the brunt of it kick, we were also a target.”

Cuffe believes that the failure to publish the Civil Unions legislation before the Local and European elections ‘definitely cost
us votes’.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Politicians take to the hills - for charity1

TDs and Senators are preparing to dig their walking shoes out of the
wardrobe and hit the beat again - all in the name of charity and not

This Sunday sees the second annual Oireachtas Hill Walk taking place
in Taoiseach Brian Cowen’s back yard - the Slieve Bloom Mountains in
Co Offaly.

This year’s charity of choice is the Irish Heart Foundation and our
energetic TDs and Senators will be hoping to top the €6,000 they
raised last year for Autism Ireland.

Ringleader-in-chief of the Oireachtas crew is none other than
multi-All-Ireland-medal-winning Jimmy Deenihan - still one of the
fittest men in Leinster House.

Jimmy has become the fitness tzar in Leinster House, organising
soccer, GAA and hurling matches among Oireachtas members.

Joining Jimmy this year on his mountain walk will be Senator Fidelma
Healy-Eames, Senator Ivana Bacik and Deputies Ciaran Cuffe, Chris
Andrews and Liz McManus.

And it won’t be an easy afternoon out for our politicians - they will
be professionally guided along a 15 km trek!

Tzar Deenihan said the money raised through this walk will be ploughed
into the Irish Heart Foundation’s CPR programme for schools.

“A walk through the Slieve Bloom mountains is relatively easy. It
wouldn’t be as hard as the MacGillycuddy Reeks. It will be an
all-party exercise - there are representatives from all parties both
in the Dail and the Seanad taking part,” he said

As the sponsored trek will take place in Brian Cowen’s backyard, he
has been asked to officiate at the starting of the walk but a busy
schedule on the day may prevent him from actually taking part in the

Speaking of his fellow politicians, Tzar Deenihan said their fitness
levels are ‘reasonably good’ but he said he would like to see more of
them using the Oireachtas gym to fine tune their fitness.

“TDs and Senators, because of their heavy schedules, find it hard to
find the time to use the gym. The gym has basic equipment but enough
for good cardio training and weight training,” he said.

It's all in a name!

Masterly Media Presence? Laugh Cry Moan? Beware Chaos Inaction? Who on
earth could I be talking about?

It has been a quiet week on the Corridors of Power but that hasn’t
stopped some keen politics watchers from using their down time to put
a smile on the face of many a gloomy Government backbencher.

Our pals over at have been using their time constructively
and have come up with some very apt - and hilarious - anagrams for our

Masterly Media Presence is a very appropriate anagram for President
Mary McAleese while Mary Coughlan might no be too chuffed with hers -
Laugh Cry Moan!

Taoiseach Brian Cowen translates into Beware Chaos Inaction and Bertie
Ahern could otherwise be known as Here I Banter.

The contributors to the website have really struck gold with their
anagram skills - Jackie Healy Rae becomes A Jar Ye Each Like while the
Green’s Dan Boyle becomes Boney Lad!

Trevor Sargent may be a bit wary of his anagram - Restart Govern -
while Noel Dempsey can chose between two anagrams - Speedy Lemon or My
Dense Pole!!!

But the gold medal goes jointly to the two geniuses who figured out
that Financial Regulator is an anagram for Ritual Loaning Farce and
the National Asset Management Agency is an anagram for Alas, Money In
A Stagnant Cement Age!!!

At last - some good news for the Greens!

It is nice to see a bit of good news in the Green camp so well done to
Green councillor Malcolm Noonan on his election as Mayor of Kilkenny

To say the local elections were rough for the Greens would be an
understatement. Yet with the handful of councillors who did manage to
escape the guillotine, it is nice to see one reach a high office.

Politics is a game of chance. It is a game of risk. You win some and
you lose some. The Greens have reached Ground Zero in terms of support
on local and city councils but - being optimistic - the only way is up
for them.

Mayor Noonan is the first Green Mayor of Kilkenny and what a year it
will be as 2009 celebrates the 400th anniversary of the granting of
city status by King James, no less.

Shinners left with a Shiner

First Christy Burke and now New Ross Cllr John Dwyer - Sinn Fein
doesn’t appear to have a lot of luck hanging on to its members.

Christy Burke was the first to jump ship just days after the June 5
local elections after being re-elected as a Sinn Fein candidate. He is
now an Independent.

And just this week, New Ross Cllr John Dwyer announced he was leaving
the ranks of Sinn Fein and re-starting his political life as an
Independent - also after winning a seat under the Sinn Fein banner.

As the great Oscar Wilde might have said if he was around today - ‘to
lose one member may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks
like carelessness’!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sean Kelly - a pole toppler!

Fine Gael’s new MEP Sean Kelly may not have topped the poll in Ireland South at the weekend - but he did topple off a pole while waiting for the votes to be counted!

The genial former GAA President Sean Kelly was at a bit of a loose end on Saturday morning - the votes had been cast but counting wasn’t due to start until the following morning.

So he decided to make good use of his spare time - by taking down his election posters in the Killarney suburbs.

So off he went, ladder in tow, and set about his work.

But an unfortunate slip put paid to his efforts early on.

Now, rule number one when you are using a ladder is - be REALLY careful what you put it up against. A pole isn’t the best or most secure place to start!

Sean may not have known that at the time, but he certainly knows it now.

No sooner had he climbed up the ladder - a lofty 15 feet - the ladder slipped and off fell Sean, head over heels, onto the ground.

Thankfully, he landed in a ditch which managed to break his fall and as a result he miraculously escaped any injury.

Shaken, but not stirred, Kelly decided to focus his attentions for the rest of his weekend on the mammoth count in Cork.

Now that he has won a seat, he can look forward to a bruising career in European politics!

Obituary Notice!

Fianna Fail(ed) Obituary Notice:

Soldiers of Disaster (nee Destiny), 1926 – 2009, savaged to death at local and European elections. Deeply regretted by builders, bankers, developers and cowboys everywhere.

Remains reposing in large tent on Galway Racecourse. Mass in Church of St Bertie the Chancer. Burial after in Golden Circle Cemetery.

No flowers please. Brown envelopes only.

The Ringmaster Strikes Again

Fine Gael’s Michael Ring is fast becoming the Michelle Obama of Leinster House!

Since becoming First Lady of the US, Michelle Obama has become renowned for her relationship with kids during school visits around the country.

She is warm and fuzzy and does not engage in formal handshakes – Michelle is all about hugs, pats on the back and fist-bumps.

And so onto Michael Ring – he certainly had shades of Mrs Obama’s warm and fuzzy style when a group of kids from Lankhill National School in Westport came to Leinster House on a day trip on Tuesday.

As the kids gathered outside the House for their school picture, Michael – their local TD – was treated like a mini-celebrity when he came down to greet them.

It started with handshakes and soon moved on to back-pats and hugs as all the kids wanted a piece of the colourful Mayo man.

The Ringmaster of Fine Gael was even being targeted for autographs by the kids of Lankhill.

Fine Gael are past masters of turning celebrities into politicians. Now it seems they are mastering the art of turning politicians in to celebrities – in the eyes of the great kids from Westport anyway!

Eamon a site for sore eyes

Poor Eamon Gilmore – his luck had to run out sometime, right?

While he is riding high on great success and gains following the local and European elections, it seems that he hasn’t been as successful as others in the looks department.

Let’s get one thing straight here – Eamon Gilmore is one of the better looking men roaming the corridors of power in Leinster House!

But how can he compare with what some have termed the ‘Labour Lovlies’ who got themselves elected last week?

My spies tell me that new Labour councillor Maria Parodi’s photo was viewed on the Labour Party website about 250 times on Monday alone.

And also chalking up high numbers was newly elected Labour councillor Rebecca Moynihan.

The equivalent numbers of hits on photos of Eamon Gilmore was just 5!