Denis Lehane: I’m the right man in the wrong place

“How is the Department of Agriculture managing to keep afloat?” farmers might well ask, with our man Coveney locked into government talks with the likes of the Healy-Rae brothers.

Denis Lehane: I’m the right man in the wrong place

“Is the agriculture ship being steered at all?” many might be fretting.

Well, today I can reveal that while the talks have been continuing, the agriculture ship has been steered by none other than myself.

That, I’m sure, will come as a comfort to many.

Yerra, it all started about three weeks ago when I went to a Department of Agriculture office, attempting to get a replacement cattle card for one that had been terribly soiled by a lively weanling bull. “This card is disgusting,” I was told, when I presented it to a lady at the mart one day, as I was about to sell the animal.

“Get it replaced,” she demanded, “and then we will see about selling your beast.”

So with little option, it was to a Department of Agriculture office I went, seeking a shiny new card.

Anyhow, while there, waiting to be served, didn’t I notice a door to a room left ajar, from which the most awful howling and bawling could be heard.

Being a caring old soul, and still clutching my filthy card, I opened back the door only to find our minister for agriculture himself, and he stretched across a table in floods of tears.

“Coveney!” I roared “What ails you man?”

And this is what he told me. “Sure haven’t I been asked to conduct the negotiations for the formation of a new government with the Healy-Raes, and I already up to my eyeballs in work, with farming and the army.

“And while the army will cope fine, for ’tis rarely we have a war, my heart is broken entirely, for I cannot give agriculture my full and undivided attention.

“Who will look after the farmers when I’m gone?” he wailed.

“Well,” says I, “look no further than me. I’ll look after the business of agriculture, once my filthy card is sorted out. I’ll keep the show going. Now pull yourself together, Coveney,” I demanded.

Well I’m telling you, a replacement card was never secured as quickly as it was on that day.

Anyhow, with that, Coveney threw me the keys of the building, telling me to turn off the heating in the evenings as it would be wasteful to let it on overnight.

“Don’t worry at all, Coveney,” says I, “the place couldn’t be in better hands.”

And so for the past three weeks, I have been looking after the whole show.

Spending my days swinging around in his chair, looking out the window and answering the occasional phone call. “Look after the beef markets in China,” I said to some fellow only yesterday.

Yerra, ’tis really no big deal, indeed my only concern has been for the welfare of my own farm back home.

I’ve received numerous calls from my missus telling me that the place is an utter shambles since my departure. “That old half-squeezed bull,” said she this morning, “has broken into the heifers and is doing the devil of harm.”

“When will you get back?” she snapped, “for the place is coming apart at the seams.”

“Sure, aren’t I here looking after the Department of Agriculture,” says I, “and Coveney deep in conversation with the Healy-Rae brothers.”

“Well tell them to hurry up about it,” she demanded.

And so, as this week comes to a close, and the talks hopefully come to a satisfactory conclusion, there will be none more relieved than I, for once an agreement has been ironed out, I can finally get back to reality.

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