That was the first shot fired as civil war broke out again in Cork County Council yesterday.
Labour’s Cllr John Gilroy had a Fianna Fáil victim firmly in his scope — it was Cllr Frank O’Flynn, chairman of the General Liam Lynch national commemoration committee — who must have felt as his hero did moments before he was shot dead by Free State troops on the Knockmealdowns.
It was the signal for the big artillery guns who then fired salvo after salvo into the beleaguered FF trenches as the Blueshirts rounded on their opponents with merciless bombardments.
FG’s Cllr Tim Lombard, who led calls for the Government’s immediate resignation, accused ministers of “gross mismanagement” and being incapable of telling the public the truth.
As the Soldiers of Destiny lay eerily quiet in their seats he pointed menacingly at them. “Look, they can’t see what they’ve done, they’ve been blinkered by power,” Mr Lombard shouted. His party colleague, Noel Hartington, said FF had left the country with a €95 billion bailout and “eroded the confidence of Ireland as a sovereign nation”.
Cllrs Paula Desmond and John Mulvihill (Lab) again derided FF for letting Britain (and others) bail us out. Just when the Soldiers of Destiny were about to pop their heads up to see if the firing had ceased, a devastating strike came in from an unexpected source.
Sinn Féin’s Cllr Sandra McLellan and the independents now joined in on what was looking increasingly like a total bloodbath. “We’re now being perceived abroad as lying, incompetent, disillusioned idiots. I’ve never felt so ashamed of this country,” she said.
This was followed by the mortar bomb comment from Cllr Dermot Sheehan who maintained “Cllr Willie Power in Killinascully had more credibility than anyone in Government”.
Just when FF were about to raise the white flag Cllrs Kevin O’Keeffe and Frank O’Flynn tried a rear guard defence, blaming the banks and defending Taoiseach Brian Cowen.
The FF foot soldiers trudged off licking their wounds… maybe to fight another day?