Chopping and changing in the seats of power

Chopping and changing in the seats of power

When we learned during the week that voting in Dáil Éireann had become a matter of ... is it musical chairs when you never actually sit in the chair?

I can’t remember the actual rules involved here, which is something I seem to have in common with a few of our public representatives.

Answers on a postcard.

You’re aware of this nonsense anyway, TDs voting through the intercession of others, where ‘intercession’ means ‘actual voting’, not to mention the string of apologies which followed.

In a previous existence your columnist whiled away many hours listening to our politicians speak in what one called with a straight face the cockpit of our democracy, a description which even then called out for unmerciful lampooning.

Hard now to believe that people aren’t already trotting out the old saw about enjoying sausages and respecting the law (i.e. you shouldn’t watch either being made) but it’s early yet.

I can’t be everywhere.

My reason for bringing this up here is not to bemoan the disrespect for democracy, though that is very real: if you don’t even have to be in the Dáil chamber, let alone your seat, to cast a vote on the laws which affect the population of the country, then you might as well be at home watching Peaky Blinders non-stop which I am certainly not doing but thank you for asking.

No, I wish to pose a rather obvious question.

Is this fluid approach to identity taken in other, similar settings? The GAA Congress took place the weekend before last and produced plenty of decisions.

Can we be certain about the absolute integrity of those decisions? During the week I met up with a veteran of many a Congress, who laughed when I asked about the potential for issues similar to those being experienced by our elected representatives.

“Well, there’s a lot of people going in and out to the corridor, and some people mightn’t always be in the room at the precise moment, they could be on the phone, and sure, if someone from the county is there to vote . . .”

“So it does go on?”

“Did I say that?”

I changed tack, asking if some of these decisions would need to be revisited, given this amounted to a clear violation of the democratic process.

“I’d say that’ll probably happen when the Dáil revisits all the legislation it passed while people weren’t in their seats pressing the button,” he said.

“When would you think that’ll happen?” Readers may think I’m overstating the importance of this revelation, but careful oversight of the voting process is necessary if you don’t wish to find yourself in a pickle.

Chopping and changing in the seats of power

My contact instanced the 1947 football final, which was played in the Polo Grounds in New York.

Everyone now looks back on that as an admirable gesture to the emigrants pining for home in the States, one driven by the moving oratory of Canon Michael Hamilton at the previous Congress.

However, an element of voting mismanagement was also involved at that Congress: what supposedly began as a token gesture of support for the proposal to move the game to New York snowballed due to lack of communication.

When the votes were counted, the token gesture had been made by so many delegates that the GAA was left with no alternative but to play the All-Ireland final in New York.

“Anyway,” I said to my whistleblower. “Are you suggesting that this form of personation, if unchecked, could lead to All-Ireland finals being played in New York?”

“That’s a bit of a stretch, but I suppose so.”

“I’ll vote for that.”

“You already did,” he said.

“You already did.”

Houston, we’ve got a problem with this guy

Across the water there’s a bit of a kerfuffle with the Houston Astros’ baseball team. Last week they fired an assistant manager for shouting at three female journalists that he was “f—ing glad” the team had signed a player accused of domestic assault.

This only scratches the surface of a mess that will probably be taught in sports journalism/PR classes forever as an example of what not to do in a crisis.

The Astros accused Sports Illustrated of ‘fabricating’ the story, though there was a roomful of witnesses, and then they claimed the manager was helping a player after a difficult day, though the team was celebrating a title victory.

If you have a spare 20 minutes trawl around and prepare to be amazed that a multi-million-dollar business can make such a mess of things. Don’t let your jaw hit the floor too often while you do.

Media always the Blame Game’s open goal

Ronan, Ronan, Ronan. I thought we understood each other?

I see my fellow columnist Mr O’Gara is saying now that among the issues facing Irish rugby following the exit from the Rugby World Cup quarter-final is that old fall-back, the media.

Chopping and changing in the seats of power

“Some of the journalists feed this sense that we are better than we actually are,” Ronan said last Friday.

In fairness, his column was at the usual high standard everywhere else, but the journalists?


My issue with this assertion is the now universally accepted convention that no matter what athlete you speak to, the one thing they all have in common is that they pay no attention to the media.

From the highest-paid and most professional to the slovenly Sunday-morning warrior, this is a part of the dance that everyone understands: no matter what you say to the athlete, he or she will say they pay no attention WHAT SO EVER to the noise outside the camp, they’re all about controlling the controllables and the marginal gains, we focus on what we can do ourselves because if we have our house in order we’ll bring a performance and that’s all that matters.

These sayings and sentiments are so familiar to you, gentle reader, that it’s difficult to know what to take from this revelation.

More as I recover from the shock.

Where to look inside Weinstein’s world

Am wondering which of two similar books to go for: She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey or Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow, both of which deal with the Harvey Weinstein/MeToo movement.

From a quick glance both seem to feature the kind of killer detail (‘honeytrap’ spies trailing writers, unlocked phones left on counters) you’d expect from thrillers rather than deep-dive investigative books.

Feel free to drop me a mail about your preference.


More on this topic

Second tier won't tie hands of GAA fixtures group, insists HoranSecond tier won't tie hands of GAA fixtures group, insists Horan

New GAA president Cooney outlines focus for next three years

GAA: Managers will not receive All-Ireland medals

New playing rules to be scrapped

More in this Section

PFAI welcomes suggestion to split FAIPFAI welcomes suggestion to split FAI

Early Christmas cheer for Munster GAA projects as €1.3m allocated in development grant schemeEarly Christmas cheer for Munster GAA projects as €1.3m allocated in development grant scheme

Woods leads by example before International Team go ahead at Presidents CupWoods leads by example before International Team go ahead at Presidents Cup

Football rumours from the mediaFootball rumours from the media

More by this author

Michael Moynihan: GAA has always walked fine line on amateur questionMichael Moynihan: GAA has always walked fine line on amateur question

Michael Moynihan: A shame to lose this vivid impression of sporting lifeMichael Moynihan: A shame to lose this vivid impression of sporting life

A weather warning we should all heedA weather warning we should all heed

McMahon doesn’t need a football pitch to shineMcMahon doesn’t need a football pitch to shine


Ciara McDonnell talks to four high-profile people about their festive traditions and favourite tracksHere's what has these famous faces rockin’ around the Christmas tree

More From The Irish Examiner