Cormac MacConnell: Shane Ross will be struck down by Jonah gene

Best wishes for Greg Broderick, Ireland’s show jumping representative at the Rio Olympics, from Minister for Tourism Transport and Sport Shane Ross.
Cormac MacConnell: Shane Ross will be struck down by Jonah gene

As the world forgets about everything but sport in these lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, I am fully aware that I am skating on very thin ice indeed, by even mentioning the name of our new Sports Minister, Shane Ross, apparently known to his friends as Rosser, and the author of many books of a financial kind, including one entitled The Untouchables.

Accordingly I want to stitch it into the record that our Sports Minister, a founder member of the Independent Alliance, and formerly of Fine Gael, journalist and author as well as politician, is formidably articulate, principled, able-minded and superbly equipped to deal with any challenges he encounters in any of the fields in which he operates.

He has criticised himself publicly and honourably in the past, for being a little less than an infallible stockbroker, in an earlier career in that zone, but otherwise, in all fairness and truth, nowadays our Sports Minister is properly seen to be a man who is always right in his statements and actions.

I suggest that is another pure truth.

Another truth since the Olympics began is that Minister Ross, quite properly, was concerned about some complex issue surrounding the sale and distribution of Irish tickets for the events in Rio.

I do not quite understand the ramifications of this except that, at time of writing, an Irishman was in jail in Brazil in connection with the issue, and Minister Ross, again quite properly and promptly, had flown to Rio to discuss the details with officials of the Olympics Council of Ireland.

What else could a good Sports Minister do, to show us that he was on top of his portfolio?

Now, it is probably only a mind as zany as mine that could possibly make any kind of connection between the fact that our very best hope for another Olympic gold medal, the mighty little boxer, Katie Taylor, crashed to a totally unexpected defeat in her first bout, within hours of Minister Ross’s arrival in Rio.

This is the lady who has brought home more gold medals from international competitions for the past decade than entire Irish teams have managed to gather.

But she lost on a split decision within hours of the Sports Minister arriving in town.

And that is another pure truth.

Can I be bold enough to venture further out across the very thin ice I am upon this minute, and mention the Jonah gene of misfortune which can often, for some unknown reason to me, attach itself to otherwise extremely able and principled politicians in modern democracies.

Just across the water at the moment, for example, the Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, immensely popular at the grass roots of his party, is deeply afflicted by this Jonah gene.

It can apparently strike any politician at any time, especially ones behaving ably and honourably according to their lights, and it is dreadfully adhesive and destructive. Do any of you today remember the talented and principled Doctor Noel Browne of our own history?

We have a different species of Government in charge of the nation today.

It has gone off on its holidays, except for a few diligent and concerned ministers like our Sports Minister Shane Ross, working away 24/7, on our behalf.

And fair play to them for that industry and commitment.

Somehow though, at the back of my mind, I suspect that this Government will fall sooner rather than later, and not on any predictable issue.

And I suspect somehow that Minister Ross, who will be totally proven to be justified and accurate in his stance on this issue, as with all others, will be centrally involved in the crash.

It is likely enough to be about something as unforeseen as the method of distribution of sporting tickets.

Or something to do with unlicensed B&Bs, in one of his other portfolios. Or a petty transport matter. Completely out of the blue.

That is the fashion in which the Jonah Gene operates, after all.

Like the Zika virus, there is as yet no known antibiotic to tackle this dreadfully lethal ailment.

I hope my suspicions are totally unfounded, and Minister Ross has not been infected by the Jonah Gene in Rio.

Time, as always, will tell. In the meantime, when he gets back home, he might apply his great skills towards the bosses of the GAA, in an attempt to get them to eliminate what Pat Spillane has properly described as the Puke Football which is destroying the appeal of the code.

Again, the pure truth.

More in this section


Keep up-to-date with all the latest developments in Farming with our weekly newsletter

Sign up

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up
News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up