At least all sides can agree they’re happy the campaign is over

Fittingly, the lacklustre referendum campaign finally died of embarrassment in the very place it had been trapped in all along — a dead end.

Eamon Gilmore was pursued around a leafy cul-de-sac by three relentless female no protestors in a sort of sombre, slow-motion reverse of the famous Benny Hill sketch in which the British comedian chased women around a park. But instead of the jaunty speeded-up music for a soundtrack, there was just a chorus of abuse from the noisy naysayers, with the whole spectacle ending when the Labour leader disappeared through a gap in the far wall. Curious.

The other campaigns all ploughed on to the end in similarly suitable style, with Declan Ganley once more gripped by delusions of grandeur, Enda Kenny refusing to answer questions, Sinn Féin tipping up at their concrete comfort blanket of the GPO, and the lights going out on the Socialists.

With the politicians looking so weary of the whole mess, it can only be guessed at what state the electorate is in after months of monotonous minutiae on the monetary maybes of voting yes or no.

The United Left Alliance just seemed to want it all over with — and a power cut as soon as they started talking about austerity seemed to suit the mood of gloom. Rumours that a feta-gorging Micheal Noonan had been seen sneaking away from the fuse box at the time of the outage remain unconfirmed.

But there was no shortage of light (or should that be lightweight?) at the sumptuous Shelbourne Hotel across the street as self-styled saviour of the nation Declan Ganley commandeered the Constitution Room for his final rant — sorry, rousing address.

However, the volume was in marked contrast to our Trappist Taoiseach, who, despite his flunkies promising he would take questions from the assembled media, swanned past the journalists as he bolted for the door — his escape only momentarily interrupted by a heat-seeking hack. Now that’s leadership for you.

Mr Gilmore’s return to the fray was a strange affair. He turned up to canvass two plush Dublin avenues for about eight minutes as he was barr-acked into the cul-de-sac by the trio of naysayers who attempted to drown-out the Tánaiste’s door-step delights with the chorus: “He’s lied before. He’ll lie again. He’s lying now” — not the happiest of background music.

Sinn Féin announced they would be gathering on a traffic island outside the GPO — thankfully, said island was unscarred by partition and, as Gerry and co have now decommissioned their arsenal of molotov metaphors, it was left to the ULA to fire the verbal volleys by following up their talk of a “ticking timebomb of austerity being primed to blow our faces off” with horrified exclamations that a gun has also been placed to our heads.

But Dublin MEP Paul Murphy offered us hope as well as fear by announcing that the gun was as yet unloaded (so why is the EU pointing it at us, Paul?).

The grim whiff of defeat clung in the air of the stuffy room as ULA TD Richard Boyd Barrett was asked which result he would put a bet on and replied: “On a no — because the odds are better.”

It was probably the most honest thing any politician has said in the whole campaign.


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