Thursday, September 23, 2010

Labour - good for the soul and good for the liver!!

Garglegate, the tiddly Taoiseach controversy, the Morning Ireland debacle - call it what you like but it seems the story is refusing to go away, despite the efforts of Brian Cowen.

There is a fine line between ‘unfortunate’ and ‘stupidity’ when it comes to politicians’ behaviour. Cowen started on one side of the line and then tumbled onto the other side.

Labour Senator Dominic Hannigan is a man who likes a drink himself - he says so on his blog.

But he believes there is a time and place for everything.

“I don’t know whether the Taoiseach was hungover or not - I find his jargoned speech hard to understand at the best of times,” he wrote.

“I am more concerned that the whole gang of them were up until 3am on a work night.”

“There is a time and a place for everything. I like a drink myself, but at an event like this, in the full glare of the media, they should have been giving off the air of a Government in charge of its affairs, of a Government that is treating the country’s economic situation with the seriousness that it deserves.”

“Instead they partied. They showed themselves up and in the process have probably damaged the country,” he said.

Indeed Fianna Fail’s shin-dig was a far cry from the Labour think-in at which there was no shortage of tea and coffee.

After a very pleasant meal, there were no sing-songs in the bar (the party members were half afraid the media would do a Simon Cowell on them) and it was early to bed for everyone.

In fact, the two-day Labour beano was good for the soul and good for the liver!!

Wheely good cause for Niall

One Fianna Fail TD who is feeling pain of a different type this week is Donegal North East’s Niall Blaney.

Thanks to a charity trek on a bike, poor Niall is feeling a little saddle sore. But with over €10,000 in the kitty for charity as a
result, that is certainly easing the pain a bit.

Niall and three of his mates - Damien McCabe, Bernard Harkin and Liam McGettigan - undertook a charity cycle from Mizen Head to Malin Head.

The lads covered 100 miles a day for four days and between them have raised at least €10,000 for the Donegal Hospice and the Buddy Bear Appeal.

“We are all a bit saddle sore,” Blaney admitted to this column.

Simply Mary!

Is Mary Davis getting some celebrity help for a possible run for the Aras next year?

The Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia chief was in good company in Poland last week for the Special Olympics Europe Summer Games as she was joined by Simply Red crooner Mick Hucknall.

Hucknall performed at the Opening Ceremony of the Games, in which 38 Irish athletes took part.

Mary is certainly making her name not just in Ireland but across the world through her involvement with Special Olympics.

How long will it be for an Irish political party to select her as their nominee for the Presidential Elections next year? Time will soon

Tweety Pie

The Fianna Fail drink-in in Galway hasn’t gone away and one person who has benefitted indirectly from it is King of the Tweets Dan Boyle.

Boyle tweeted to his followers on Monday night that he has received 1,000 additional twitter followers in 16 days.

“Suppose I should thank Simon Coveney for that. Thanks Simon.”

Meanwhile, down at the more sober yet pleasant Labour Party think-in in Roscommon, one leading party member was overheard as he was heading for the bar.

“I have a fierce lip on me for a bit of congestion,” he said - a coy reference to Taoiseach Brian Cowen’s insistence that it was congestion and not drink that was the cause of his underpar performance on Morning Ireland.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What's a Taoiseach to do?

It has been described as a storm in a pint glass but for Taoiseach Brian Cowen, the hangover from the controversy will linger on as part of his legacy.

Cowen, like any other adult in Ireland, is fully entitled to the odd drink (1, 3, 5, 7, 9 etc). And like any other adult, he is entitled to burn the candle at both ends when he gets the chance.

However, the biggest mistake that Cowen made this week was not being vocally prepared for his important interview with Morning Ireland.

Instead of hearing from a man at the top of his game, a man in whose hands our country lies, a man who is normally sharper than a razor - we were left with the Nob Nation version of the Taoiseach.

One backbencher, who spoke to this column on the condition of anonymity, was less than fulsome in his support for the Taoiseach.

"It was embarrassing. I mean, Brian Cowen can hold his drink and he is used to drinking but he should have packed it in earlier."

And that is the nub of the issue - that he went through with an important radio interview with very little sleep and worn out from the night before.

But it didn't take the lads in Dublin's 98FM long to come up with their own version of Brian Cowen's party piece in a little ditty (to the tune of The Galway Girl) entitled 'Galway Drunk Song'!

Here's a little taste of what the lads have come up with:

"So we went down west for an auld think-tank, all day all day all day,
But to be honest with ye lads, we just drank, all day all day all day.
And I ask you friends, what's a Taoiseach to do,
If he can't have a pint or 22"

The full song and video can be viewed on the station's website.

Sean popular with the 'masses!

Just who has been Ireland's greatest Taoiseach? That is the question that has attracted some attention on the popular website.

And with over 500 votes in, it seems there is a clear leader at this stage - Sean Lemass with 37.91% of the vote.

Those propping up the rear include WT Cosgrave (14.89%), Garret FitzGerald (9.86%), Eamon de Valera (6.77%), John Bruton (6%), Albert Reynolds (5.22%), Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen (both on 3.87%), Jack Lynch and Charlie Haughey (both on 3.29%) and Liam Cosgrave (2.71%)

Despite his poor showing, I'm sure Brian Cowen will find some solace in the fact that he isn't the most unpopular!!

You can have your say by logging on to

The Tweetest Thing

Former Defence Minister Willie O'Dea can breathe a sigh of relief today as Green Senator Dan Boyle silences his tweets!

The twitterific Cork Senator has agreed to stop tweeting for one day in aid of charity.

Asking Dan to stop tweeting for a day is akin to asking Seanie Fitzpatrick to apologize for making a pigs ear of Anglo - nigh on impossible.

But Dan will try his damnedest in an effort to raise awareness and much needed funds for kids living with juvenile arthritis.

Fine Gael keeps the Faith with the Big Fella!

The management of the Faithlegg Hotel in Waterford were certainly thinking on their feet when the great and the good of the Fine Gael party arrived for it's annual drink-in last week.

It is tough being a politician a lot of the time but when the sun goes down, they are as entitled to a tipple as much as the rest of us are.

So to quench their thirst in Waterford, the Faithlegg made sure it was well stocked with a brand of whiskey that was new to this columnist - the aptly named Michael Collins whiskey!!

Number's up for Hanafin!

Congratulations and commiserations to Minister Mary Hanafin on her luck (or her lack of it) at the weekend's People of the Year Awards.

Always one to support a good cause, Minister Hanafin bought a ticket for the raffle which had some great prizes - five must-have iPads and five iPhones to name just some of the goodies.

The Minister is already an iPhone user and had her eye on the new iPad if her number came up.

And her number indeed came up. But instead of a shiny new iPad, the Minister got the iPhone because of the random nature of the way the prizes were being distributed.

"It's still in it's box. I wonder can I exchange it for an iPad," she said of he win.

If she does, she can get a few lessons on how to use it from her Cabinet colleague John Gormley, who is already an accomplished iPadder!