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Soap Opera Of Washing Dirty Linen In Public

by Jimmy Rhatigan

REALITY IS that the shambolic circus that was the Vote of Confidence for Minister Simon Coveney was no more than a futile exercise of arrogance and self importance.

It had all the trappings of a soap opera; good and bad guys, girls too; passionate people, chancers, bluffers and those who would have you believe that they would build a wall of fame for their hero.

The latter would most definitely come a cropper when it came to the time for laying blocks.

The mud-slinging session had curious asides.

 There was a high profile resignation as FF’s Marc MacSharry showed that he had more balls than a street juggler.

A handful dared to miss the vote, bold defiance perhaps for FF members as courtesy of Micheál Martin those who didn’t make it had a threat of a six months suspension dangling over their heads.


John McGuinness became a local hero or villain, depending on which political party you may be aligned to or, more aptly, to which branch of the Fianna Fáil tree that you attach your garden swing to.

McGuinness has been dubbed a maverick and a rebel by party colleagues over the years as he asked the ugly questions when others may have had the inclination to dare any bull but didn’t have the stomach for a fight.

To be fair to McGuinness, the notion is that he may often have felt like abandoning the FF Tent, a Galway contraption or otherwise, but chose to fight his battles from within as opposed to peeing on the outside and perhaps peeping in.

He fought with intent within the tent.


People will have different views but fighting with City Hall can be a daunting challenge.

The belief of Kilkenny Press is that his patience wore so thin that he finally took the bull by the horns and defied what some may call bullying by FF party kingpin Martin.

So instead of queuing in the Dáil with a yes minister or yes mister banner, he took the decision not to fly to Ireland from a family holiday in France.

He put down a marker for others.

But those who often bark loudest tend to sing dumb when the devil raps on the front door.

It had to be galling for the likes of MacSharry and McGuinness to listen to those they would have felt were true blues of Fianna Fáil turning out to be just that (true blues as in Blueshirts) when they voted tá, giving the thumbs up to FG and genuflecting to the brazen edict of their great master.


There were many certainties in the Dáil’s version of Coronation Street or perhaps a first cousin of the late Frank Hall’s fascinating series, Hall’s Pictorial Weekly; Ballymagash Urban Council and all that.

Buckets of lies were told in Kildare Street last Wednesday.

 But who told them and what colour jerseys did champion fibbers, Tom and Tessie Pepper wear?

If our public representatives believed that by ironing their dirty linen in public they would impress Joe and Josephine Citizen, then their sinking ship was badly off course and heading for rocks.

It was a handbags’ at dawn face-off about everything and nothing.

Yes, there were serious accusations and counter accusations. Some leaned on the insults and reverted to the history books to re-open old sores.

But all paled into significance when one thinks of unfortunate homeless people who have died on our streets; cancer patients who may have less hope of recovery because of disgraceful waiting lists, blamed on the pandemic but there for decades.

If our politicians believed that their public show of arrogance scrambled with ignorance and temerity amounted to a crisis, then they should urgently bang their heads together.


They should ponder on the near one million of our fellow men and women who are on medical waiting lists.

Now there is a scandal, a real scandal.

A great friend of Kilkenny Press, the late Kieran ‘Kierny’ Brennan of Castlecomer summed up our modern day catastrophe with the following:

“A neighbour told me she had got an appointment to see a consultant in 18 months.

“That is not an appointment,” he said.

“That is a refusal.”

If only we had more people like Kierney.

In fairness we have but unsurprisingly, solid people of pride, passion and care tend to avoid the rat race of self-preservation that is our political stage.

Politicians of honour and dignity do exist but finding them would be akin to searching for a needle in a haystack.

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