Cormac MacConnell: Expect titters at antics of novice ministers

Only hours in the job as the new cabinet pose for the official photo at Áras an Uachtaráin.

I will be heavily criticised by some of you for retailing this yarn, but I don’t care at all, because I enjoyed hearing it and, anyway, in Rising season, it is topical as well.

We were indirectly responsible for what happened by launching the revolution which signalled the beginning of the end for the British Empire, upon which the sun once never set — because it stretched right around the world.

That’s the pure truth, for sure.

Anyway, there was a rash of other former colonies which followed our example.

Like us, they stuck three letters of the alphabet (like IRA) on top of gallant revolutionary forces, and eventually managed to drive John Bull out of their country, and regain their independence.

Afterwards, again following the Irish lead, for some strange and illogical reason, many of them who did not become dominated by dictators established political structures modelled upon the British structures which had oppressed them and robbed them for so long.

We did that too, did we not?

And there’s this Third World country which gained its independence about 30 years after we did, which heavily depended upon the florid news reportage of The Times newspaper of London for the details of how to establish a proper parliament with a government and opposition and a speaker, and all the rest of the democratic trappings.

And they did it very well, and were proud of their achievement, and properly so.

It came to pass that a Columban Father from Co Meath was posted out to this nation, to join his order’s missionary work there and, in his first week, he was invited to go to the parliament and watch it in action.

He did so, and was highly impressed with the standard of the debates, and with the procedures generally, with only one small exception which hugely puzzled him, and even shocked him.

He was, as I say, from Co Meath, and this was 70 years ago, when the world was different to nowadays.

What shocked the young priest was that about every 30 minutes during debates on serious social and economic matters, what happened was that a strong young man crashed through the main door into the chamber, very deliberately quickly fondled the bosom area of every woman in sight ( and there were many, apparently), and then disappeared out the back door without anyone passing the slightest notice at all.

The young Irish priest, quite aghast, raised the matter quite strongly with his official guide when his tour was over.

The guide smiled reassuringly and produced an old copy of The London Times.

One sentence was underlined, and that sentence I will now quote in full.

It read: “At this stage, a titter ran around the House...”.

And that is the pure truth in this space yet again.

In all fairness I think that a fair few titters of a different variety will be running around Leinster House, soon as this new breed of a Government of ours attempts to get into action on our behalf.

I have been chuckling already, whatever about any of you, at the antics of new Ministers, even before the term properly starts, literally going out of their way along the corridors of power to land themselves in the hottest possible water.

Water is the appropriate word here, with some bills not yet having been paid at the time of writing... and we will leave that subject there for the moment. because it is a tiresome one.

Then, there is the matter of nicotine addiction as it affects at least one Minister ( with whose pain I identify totally), and you think that some of our novice leaders are actively seeking political pitfalls about every hour of the day.

No wonder that the wise and cute Enda Kenny has fled the country for a week to enjoy a bit of a rest abroad.

And he is leaving lads and lasses behind gnawing what is left of their nails, in the hope of political advancement when he returns.

At a certain level, it is all great craic.

It’s not a bit of wonder that waves of titters are running around the country these days.


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