Spoilsport - that’s what I say to the boring UK politician who has tabled a motion to ban ‘crackberries’ during meetings.
Liberal Democrat John Pugh has been so driven to despair by the sight of colleagues tapping away on their Blackberries/Crackberries and iPhone smartphones that he wants them banned altogether.
He said that ‘while recognising the enormous benefits of the modern smartphone’, he regrets the ‘tendency of Honourable Members to interact with these devices during select committee meetings and short debates’.
Any visitor to the public gallery in the Dail chamber will see - from time to tome - our trusty TDs tapping away on such phones.
It may be to simply check their emails or to text staffers of their needs.
But one TD stands head and shoulders above the others when it comes to using smartphones for the public good - Green TD Ciaran Cuffe.
Ciaran has become not only a serial blogger but a serial ‘tweeter’ as well and on the odd occasion, he has been known to ‘tweet’ from the Dail chamber.
Some luddites may think that this is a thundering disgrace but we disagree.
In this age of new technology, it is refreshing to get the opinions - albeit brief with Twitter - of a TD who is actually sitting in the chamber.
And when he is not ‘tweeting’ from the Chamber, he is ‘tweeting’ from either his office or when he is out and about letting people know what he is up to.
So keep up the good work Ciaran - this column is following you as are almost 700 other twitterers!
Writing cheques they simply can’t cash - that is the view of the Government by Fine Gael’s Lucinda Creighton.
No - the Government hasn’t started it own cheque kiting racket, but its costings in relation to the new Programme for Government would keep a mathematician on their toes.
Part of the new PfG is the addition of 500 new teaching posts over the next three years.
Lucinda posed a question to Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe as to how much these 500 extra teachers would cost and was told - plainly and simply - that he didn’t know!
Naturally enough, Lucinda was left puzzled - as were the rest of us.
“Less than two months before the budget, Fianna Fail and the Greens are signing up for commitments that they haven’t even costed,” she said.
The estimated cost of the plan is in the region of €32m a year.
But as Lucinda says, ‘at a time when the Government desperately needs to cut the public sector wage bill, it is ridiculous and dishonest to be making uncosted commitments in response to unrealistic demands’.
When it comes to campaigning politics, you can’t get more campaigning that Labour’s Joe Costello.
It has been a labour of love for him but there is no sign of him giving up on his weekly protest outside the Mater Hospital to highlight the continuing A&E crisis there.
While most politicians may be enjoying a lie in on a Saturday morning or engaging in cushy clinics with their constituents, Joe heads along to the Mater EVERY Saturday morning to highlight the overcrowding at the hospital.
“The A&E crisis must be tackled but this cannot be done without adequate community care and step down facilities, so that we can be sure that acute beds are being used by those who need them most,” he said.
A lot of his political colleagues could learn a valuable and humbling lesson from Gentleman Joe.
Labour’s Joan Burton has become the latest TD to publish her own expenses on her website in the wake over the scandal over TDs expenses.
And it seems that Joan had little to worry about - her expenses for the past few years have actually being falling faster than John O’Donoghue can say ‘another champagne please’!
In 2005, Burton claimed a total of €26,114.31 on top of her salary of €88,763.21.
This €26,000 was made up of her constituency travel allowance, her miscellaneous expense allowance, travel and subsistence and her telephone allowance.
In the league table that year for politicians, Joan was at 133 out of 166 - towards the more frugal end of the class.
Her expenses rose slightly in 2006 to €29,343.78, placing her at number 126 in the league table of her peers.
But since 2006, her expenses have been falling - €27,966 in 2007; €22,697 in 2008 and €17,317 for the first six months of 2009.
Regarding her foreign travel - the cost of which was footed by the taxpayer - she took a relatively frugal approach to that as well.
A three-day trip to Edinburgh in 2007 for a Public Accounts Committee meeting with their Scottish counterparts cost us €736 for Joan’s fare and board and a three-day trip to Newcastle in 2008 for a plenary conference cost the taxpayer just €133.82.
The only lavish trip was to Washington in 2008 when Joan, along with members of the Joint Committee on Finance and Public Service went on a fact finding mission to examine financial issues including the volatility of financial markets and the sub-prime lending crisis.
Five TDs and one official went on this trip.
Joan stayed in Jury’s Hotel at a total cost of €866 for the six night stay. Her flight, however, came in at a hefty €3,279.
Ivor ‘The Engine’ Callely is certainly not backward in coming forward and now it appears he is trying to take some of the credit for the release of GOAL worker Sharon Commins!
In a press release sent from the dungeons in the Seanad, Ivor welcomed the release of the Clontarf woman - wasting no time in telling the world that he had been in regular contact with the Sudanese Ambassador on the matter.
“I spoke to the Sudanese Ambassador on a number of occasions with my concerns of Sharon’s abduction and he assured me that it was being treated very seriously and they were doing all they could,” he said.
For Ivor-watchers everywhere, this latest claim should not come as any major surprise.
It wasn’t long ago that he told his constituents that he would ‘keep a close eye on Burma’ at a time when the military junta there faced down everyone from the UN to the US.
I’m sure the military junta were cowering in fear when Ivor proclaimed: “I will continue to closely monito
Michael Healy-Rae has been kidnapped by members of ‘Ireland’s Extreme Scarehouse’and Defence Minister Willie O’Dea and Green Senator Dan Boyle are next on the list.
The Independent Cllr was kidnapped in broad daylight outside the offices of Kerry County Council in Tralee and bundled into a black hearse by some of the ugliest creatures ever seen in the Kingdom.
In what might come as some good news to the John O’Donoghue camp in South Kerry, the young Healy-Rae is being kept at an undisclosed location where his only contact with the outside world has been a brief video message from his captors.
The group claiming responsibility for the kidnapping call themselves the Nightmare Realm and their list of demands to secure his release are simple.
While tied up and with a gun to his head, the video – which can be viewed on YouTube – shows Healy-Rae pleading for his life and liberty as he discloses what the demands are.
“The Nightmare Realm has asked me to read out their list of demands and this is what they want,” the terrified Kilgarvan man said.
“Five inflatable pink rubber ducks, bring back the happy hour in all pubs, abolish student college rates, five packs of 2H pencils and a pencil sharpener, a blank cheque for expenses for every TD, three Hawaiian pizzas and three litres of Coke, a party in the Playboy Mansion and, finally, abolish all caps like the one I am wearing.”
“If this list of demands is not met by midnight, they will kidnap a politician every two hours starting next with Limerick’s Willie O’Dea and Cork’s Dan Boyle.”
“So can I plead with somebody, please help and sort out this list of demands,” he was last heard wailing.
We are sorry to break the bad news to you, but this kidnapping was merely just a very clever stunt by the Nightmare Realm to publicise their Halloween freak show in Tralee.
But they shouldn’t be putting ideas into people’s heads!!
She hasn’t gone away, you know – former Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications Maire Geoghegan-Quinn is fast climbing up in the bookies favour to become Ireland’s next EU Commissioner.
She is now 9/2 second-favourite to succeed Charlie McCreevy in Brussels.
The Galway native, who now lives in Luxembourg, had been 7/1 with Paddy Power but a sustained gamble over the weekend saw her odds slashed to 9/2.
Pat Cox remains the even-money favourite with Pat “the Cope” Gallagher sharing second favouritism with Geoghegan-Quinn.
“Some very shrewd punters filled their boots with the 7/1 on offer on Maire Geoghegan-Quinn over the weekend and have left us with a payout in excess of €5,000 should she get the nod,” Paddy Power told this blog.
It seems that not even a young fella with a few cans of Bulmers on board can stop the unflappable political oracle of RTE, David Davin Power.
The veteran Pol Corr - known to all as DDP - is a familiar face in the sitting rooms of Ireland as he analyses and dissects the news of the day from Leinster House.
But the real test of his expertise lies in how he can deal with interruptions while reporting live on TV.
First of all there was that hilarious incident at the Fianna Fail Ard Fheis earlier this year when he was surrounded by what looked like a group of zombies as he reported live on the 9pm news.
That has become an unlikely hit on YouTube with over 45,000 hits so far.
In fact, a new version of this has appeared on YouTube with a voice over by legendary Top of the Pops presenter Noel Edmonds and a cameo appearance by Status Quo!
But the latest zombie to dare to interrupt DDP was a hapless young fella laden down with cans of Bulmers live on Monday night’s news.
As DDP was reporting on the latest travails of John O’Donoghue during a questions and answers segment with news anchor Eileen Dunne, along came the young fan and raised his can of Bulmers to the nation.
“How’zt goin’?” the young fella said to a slightly bemused looking DDP.
But the oracle was not for flapping - “There you go”, he said to the young fella as he wandered off into the sunset with his arms laden with cans of booze.
“Just carry on there Eileen, sorry about that slight interruption,” he said as he continued with his report.
The incident created quite a few laughs, with Green TD Ciaran Cuffe even tweeting about it to the world.
“I had the sound on mute, but DDP appeared to play a blinder there,” Cuffe tweeted.
Well for those who didn’t see it, the RTE Political Oracle certainly did play a blinder!
For Bertie lovers everywhere, the long-awaited ‘buke’ is now on the shelves and tonight (THURS) EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy will launch it at a gathering of over 400 people in the Mansion House.
The former Taoiseach told this column that he is ‘neither an historian or an academic’ but is proud of the ‘buke’ and admitted that he did indeed get some tips from his bestselling-author daughter Cecelia.
Many in the past have accused Bertie of sitting on the fence when it comes to making decisions, so it will come as no surprise to learn that when he signed the contract to pen his autobiography - the publishers couldn’t pin him down to a deadline.
But Bertie plodded away in the background and it was only when he broke his ankle last year in a fall that he actually found himself with plenty of time to do nothing but write!
And so the ‘buke’ is here - earlier than expected - and it is a mighty entertaining read.
It may not be the political anorak’s idea of a political memoir but Bertie has made it a ‘buke’ that is accessible to all and should have a wide audience.
It seems that the talents of the daughter have been passed on to the father!
As Nancy Sinatra (or Jessica Simpson, depending on your age!) sang so well - ‘these boots are made for walking’ and in the case of Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, they certainly were.
Nobody could accuse the Fine Gael leader of being any kind of slouch in the run up to the Lisbon referendum.
In fact, Fine Gael are quick to point out that its national campaign has seen Enda embark on a 20 day countrywide tour that covered 6,000 kilometres, taking in 120 canvassing stops in a drive to secure a Yes vote.
And if that wasn’t enough, the party goes on to tell us that over 5,000 people have attended 43 Fine Gael meetings discussing the Treaty.
Over one million pieces of Lisbon literature have been distributed by Fine Gael.