Politics

Dramatic quiz livens up a quiet few days – The Irish Instances


Truly exceptional report from Sue Gray this week.

“The event lasted for a number of hours. There was excessive alcohol consumption by some individuals. One individual was sick. There was a minor altercation between two other individuals.

“The event broke up in stages with a few members of staff leaving from around 21.00 and the last member of staff, who stayed to tidy up, leaving at 3.15.”

Of course, we’re denying every part.

It was a really critical work occasion with journalists and politicians merely doing their jobs and interacting with each other in what was a really extremely charged ambiance. Many arduous questions had been put and answered throughout a really gruelling session.

It was a protracted night time and, as could be moderately anticipated, the drained and wired events availed of some drinks and nibbles.

Some politicians and media individuals ended up working properly into the early hours of Wednesday morning. “We are humbled,” a few of them mentioned on Wednesday afternoon after they lastly surfaced.

We want to thank Sue for her glorious report and are delighted to disregard allegations that she was “got at” or “nobbled” in any method by main politicians, revered broadcasters and senior columnists previous to publishing her findings.

Which show nothing.

It is time now to maneuver on from Tuesday night time’s desk quiz in Dublin’s five-star Marker Hotel which was attended by virtually 300 politicians, hacks, advisers and various hangers-on, elevating a powerful €25,000 for the Irish Red Cross’s Ukraine Crisis Appeal.

Caught out with cricket query

With the Taoiseach and Tánaiste away on State obligation in Davos and the chief of Sinn Féin on a media blitz throughout the pond with Michelle O’Neill, issues had been quiet sufficient round Leinster House.

The spotlight of the week was the aforementioned quiz, which resulted in excessive drama when it sensationally emerged {that a} well-known politics professor concerned within the three-way, sudden-death playoff for victory had truly set the tie-break questions.

However, the controversy was short-lived because of the fast considering of one of many occasion organisers, RTÉ’s Sharon Ní Bheolain, who alerted quizmaster Bryan Dobson within the nick of time. Bryan switched the questions on politics to posers on sport, thus sparing the blushes of DCU’s Dr Gary Murphy who had offered the tie-breakers, considering his crew wouldn’t be within the ultimate shake-up.

The first query was about worldwide rugby and the highest scorer on this 12 months’s Six Nations (Marcus Smith). This stumped the college professor, the Labour adviser and the Indo hack. Dobbo then requested them what cricket membership performs on the Oval and Murphy, who hails from the cricket bastion of Cork, appropriately answered “Surrey”.

Labour Party noses had been out of joint. “They didn’t ask any questions about working-class sports,” grumbled communications director Cathal McCann. The Indo man was too distraught to remark.

Post-quiz celebrations

It is uncommon to see representatives of just about all of the political events socialising collectively in a civilised method, in a crowded room, with drink concerned, with no cross phrase, for practically three hours. But the politicians who hot-footed it from Leinster House to Grand Canal Square all appeared completely happy to be out.

Ceann Comhairle Seán O’Fearghail, official adjudicator for the night, hoped that the TDs wouldn’t begin misbehaving the best way they normally do within the Dáil. Having simply left a near-deserted chamber to search out the lodge full of deputies and Senators, he mentioned the quiz organisers had been higher at their jobs than the occasion whips.

Seventy-one groups took half, together with “The Rigs”, a crew from the Rural Independents Group led by Mattie McGrath. Danny Healy-Rae arrived throughout the second half, having been warned to not take part or use his cellphone as this would offer an unfair benefit to The Rigs. As it turned out, they put in a decent displaying however didn’t hassle the upper rankings.

Mattie acquired fun although when Dobbo requested groups to call the day this 12 months when Micheál Martin will step down as Taoiseach and hand over to Leo Varadkar.

“Not a day too soon!” he shouted.

But the largest chortle got here in response to the query “Which jockey partnered Shergar to victory in the Epsom Derby?” As the groups cogitated, a Fianna Fáil Senator mischievously shouted out the title of a widely known Sinn Féin member who was a really lively member of the IRA in his heyday.

Sinn Féin fielded a variety of tables, with one crew heading the leader-board within the early levels earlier than falling again. But Aengus Ó Snodaigh, TD for Dublin South Central, did properly. He received two nights B&B and dinner in Kenmare’s Park Hotel within the raffle.

Many quizzers had been stumped when requested to call all six Green occasion TDs within the 2007 coalition with Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats. The following morning, a hearsay (unfaithful) that Eamon Ryan’s crew flunked the query had already gained legs in Leinster House.

Heather Humphreys was unable to defend Tánaiste Leo Varadkar’s title. He took first prize the final time this quiz occurred, largely as a result of recruitment of his companion’s good friend who’s a quiz genius.

Two units of Fianna Fáil politicians had been in sturdy competition for the best-named crew. “The Provisional Oireachtas Golf Society” members had been TD Niamh Smyth, Senators Shane Cassells and Malcolm Byrne and non-golfer Darragh Calleary, who resigned as minister for agriculture after he attended the notorious Golfgate dinner to make a speech. Senator Gerry Horkan, MEP Barry Andrews, Cork North-Central’s Pádraig O’Sullivan and Dublin Bay South’s Jim O’Callaghan cheekily referred to as themselves “Micheál’s Favourites”.

RTE’s Sharon Ní Bheolain, Joe Mag Riollaigh and Sorcha Ní Riada organised the occasion whereas Diageo, thanks to move of company relations Liam Reid (a political correspondent for this newspaper many moons in the past) sponsored the bar. Michael Davern, normal supervisor of the Marker, stored every part operating easily whereas legions of politicians and journalist mobbed the bar afterwards.

Many took the occasion, and their events, on into the night time. Some of the Social Democrats, led by TD Gary Gannon, continued being social in Dawson Street’s Bar 57 with sundry members of Fine Gael additionally on the premises whereas the Fianna Fáil crowd pitched up in The George and stayed there till foolish o’clock, with one middle-aged TD apparently wowing the regulars along with his dancefloor strikes.

One of them, in line with discuss in Leinster House on the finish of the week, was speaking just a bit an excessive amount of to journalists throughout Tuesday’s convivialities and is now being blamed because the snitch who informed Craig Hughes of the Daily Mail concerning the Irish Bookmakers’ Association wining and eating a cross-party choice of politicians not too long ago at Punchestown Races.

Grilled on stay TV

This is the kind of home carry-on which occurs when the bosses are away.

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach was carrying on with a really full schedule, advertising Ireland on the World Economic Forum in Davos. He was very a lot in demand with worldwide information organisations anxious to listen to his tackle Brexit and the Northern Ireland protocol.

But he did one interview for BBC 2′s Newsnight which actually took the biscuit.

It was performed by Faisal Islam, the company’s extremely regarded economics editor, who adopted a unusually hostile and uncharacteristically accusatory perspective in his questioning. At instances he seemed that the Brexit shambles was partly Micheál Martin’s fault (together with a scheming EU and the interfering Americans).

The economics editor sounded relatively impatient along with his visitor and with the sluggish tempo of progress on commerce agreements, as if Michéal was the unprincipled politician trying to slither out of an internationally binding settlement he boasted about signing whereas on a regular basis understanding it to be a steaming crock of Boris and who’s now blaming the messy results of his lying on the individuals who took him at his phrase and negotiated in good religion.

The man from the BBC appeared to assume he had an oven-ready Taoiseach all trussed up and match for a superb roasting. But like Johnson’s removed from oven-ready porky pies, Micheál wasn’t able to be shoved within the oven and carved up by Newsnight.

As the UK authorities whines about EU intransigence, he calmly defined why options can’t be reached if one of many negotiating events – Britain – isn’t partaking meaningfully, whereas stressing that Ireland has no “agenda” in opposition to the UK.

“I put it to you that the overall diplomatic effort and discussions that we’re having right now: threats of trade war, the Americans – at your behest – coming in also pressurising the UK; the end result of this is that you’re going to turn unionism, not just against the protocol but against the Good Friday agreement,” mentioned Faisal Islam.

“First of all again, no one is threatening anything,” replied the Taoiseach quietly. “The only unilateral move that has been made here has been by the UK government which has threatened to tear up an international deal it signed with the European Union. That’s the only threat here.”

“I see an Irish leader here who thinks perhaps ‘the EU’s got our back. We’ve got a president in the White House who’s very Ireland-friendly’ and, just perhaps, you’re overplaying your hand and risking a delicate situation in Northern Ireland,” steered the interviewer.

“We’re not overplaying any hand. We’re hardly playing the hand,” sighed Micheál, with commendable forbearance. He didn’t tear up any agreements.

But what concerning the essential commerce movement between Republic of Ireland and GB, which has been hit?

“It has been hit a bit” agreed the Taoiseach “and I get a sense the UK, perhaps, was not as well-prepared for it…”

Faisal jumped in. “So you’re blaming that on Britain?”

“Not all of it, but it’s just a fact,” he defined once more. “Brexit is going to create that.”

“There were some problems in Dublin Port,” countered the interviewer.

“No, but Brexit means a disruption of trade,” pressured a smiling Micheál, bless his endurance.

It was a most uncommon encounter. To his credit score (he doesn’t get it too usually), an assured Micheál Martin was the voice of restraint and cause, in stark distinction to his ridiculously harmful counterpart throughout the Irish Sea.

Maybe there was technique to intelligent Faisal’s combative strategy in any case.



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