New horsemen of apocalypse paint it grey at party sink-in

THE Galway tent may have been blown away in the bust but things equine still dominate Fianna Fáil gatherings in the city – only these days it is the four horsemen of the economic apocalypse racing towards them.

The Book of Revelations let loose Pestilence, Famine, War and Death – Fianna Fáil’s Book of Devastations heralds the evil steeds, Cuts, Anglo, Jobless and Deficit, trampling all beneath their hooves.

A “The End Is Nigh” feeling permeated the parliamentary party meeting at the Ardiluan Hotel, its edifice appearing to be crushed under an angry black sky that spat down torrents of rain at the TDs below.

Even the protesters had given up on this government, with just a lone demonstrator posted at the gates, exposing the security – which was as heavy as the downpours – as a Garda overtime bill our near bankrupt nation could ill afford.

But Dermot Ahern had other things on his mind when he appeared at the Ardiluan – and this was only to be expected as he’d had his hands full with a runaway Lady Gaga in his back garden at the weekend.

Mr Ahern’s children had named the cheeky chicken after the exotic, androgynous American singer, and she, along with three other escapees, had fled their coup causing the Justice Minister to be called out by his exasperated wife as she tried to retrieve them.

But Mr Ahern admitted that despite a valiant effort waving a tea towel in Lady Gaga’s general direction, she and her poultry posse resisted his authority, only to slink back to the coop later when they got hungry.

So, at least the idea of Mr Ahern and his cabinet colleagues running around on polling day manically shaking tea towels to try and entice the Fianna Fáil deserters back into the voting fold can be ruled out of the party’s recovery plan – which is a shame as it was probably the most effective option they had left.

Elsewhere in the hotel a somewhat shrivelled olive branch was being offered to the four whip-less FF TDs, but as one of them, Mattie McGrath, was told in no uncertain terms, he would not be welcome in Galway after receiving an invitation by mistake. Maybe it will not achieve its aim.

Further proof that when it comes to a charm offensive, this Government seems far more adept at being offensive than getting anywhere near the charm element.

Even more worrying is the lack of numerical skills on show. A €2bn loss on Anglo suddenly explodes to €22bn and could soon hit €32bn plus, but then numbers were never Brian Lenihan’s strong point, hence the budget cuts soaring beyond €3bn as our date with doom edges ever closer. As the Financial Times moves to cut us loose the Government’s much vaunted “jobs strategy” only provides employment for those trying to work out exactly what is new in it.

Bertie Ahern was noticeable by his absence, he always had an excellent sense of timing regarding making his excuses and leaving – like when he quit as Taoiseach just as the bubble boom was about to explode his 2007 winning election manifesto into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the four winds.

John O’Donoghue, Willie O’Dea, John McGuinness, Sean Fleming, Tom Kitt and others were also nowhere to be seen. Transport Minister Noel Dempsey had the excuse of being laid-up with a golfing injury – which at least meant the €4,200 an hour Government jet was left as untouched as his nine iron.

Say what you like about the Biblical four horsemen of the apocalypse, but at least they came in bright colours – white, red, black and pale – the tired old knackers dragging Fianna Fáil along are resolutely grey.

Think-in? It’s more like a sink-in.


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