Politics

Sinn Féin’s acrobatic movement mesmerises Naughten


There was greater than a contact of political circus round Wednesday night time’s vote on the National Maternity Hospital. Denis Naughten was significantly impressed by the tumbling expertise of Sinn Féin’s parliamentary contortionists.

The former Fine Gael minister turned Independent TD for Roscommon-Galway notches up 25 years of unbroken Dáil service subsequent month. (Two of his erstwhile colleagues, Paul Kehoe and Damien English, are 20 years within the Dáil this week and have been congratulated by the Tánaiste on the Fine Gael parliamentary social gathering Meeting. “What about me?” got here a plaintive cry from Fergus O’Dowd in the back of the room. Fergus additionally turned a TD in 2002, however Leo didn’t embody him as he first entered the Oireachtas 5 years earlier as a Senator.)

But again to Denis, who witnessed a profession first after 1 / 4 of a century on Wednesday night time.

“What we have seen tonight was political acrobatics at its best,” he instructed RTÉ’s Late Debate after the social gathering’s non-binding movement calling for the hospital to be constructed on public land was handed. The Government tried to stop this vote by letting it by way of unopposed, thus avoiding the embarrassing lack of two Green TDs who meant to aspect with the Opposition.

But the Rural Independents scuppered the ruse by searching for a Dáil vote to register their opposition to Sinn Féin’s movement. The six TDs simply secured the magic variety of 10 deputies required to pressure a division due to the unlikely help of Solidarity-People Before Profit.

When the time got here, the Leas-Cheann Comhairle requested “the members who are claiming the division to rise in their places”. The Roaring Independents jumped to their ft and the socialist rump duly stored their promise, backflipping briefly to Mattie McGrath’s group.

“No, no, no, no,” spluttered Denis. “No, no. No, no, no, Pauline”

And then “the Sinn Féin membership in the parliamentary party stood up in the Dáil to call a vote against their own motion. Then sat down and voted for that motion”, recalled Denis, sounding gobsmacked.

Pauline Tully, Sinn Féin TD for Cavan-Monaghan, tried to elucidate. “We stood up and agreed there should be a vote.”

“No, no, no, no,” spluttered Denis. “No, no. No, no, no, Pauline. The vote was referred to as yesterday. Mattie McGrath referred to as the vote. He had a problem with the wording in your movement – honest sufficient – and to ensure that there to be a vote on it, 10 folks needed to help the decision for a vote in opposition to the movement. And that they had greater than 10, together with the Sinn Féin social gathering, who really stood as much as oppose their very own movement after which sat down and voted for it.

“That’s political acrobatics. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen, in my political career, a situation where people who wanted a motion to go through called a vote to stop it actually going through.”

But in fact, they knew it will. With two Green scalps and authorities embarrassment as a bonus – way more worthwhile than the results of any ineffectual movement.

Peadar in a lather

Peadar Tóibín of Aontú. Photograph: Collins
Peadar Tóibín of Aontú. Photograph: Collins

That debate on the maternity hospital had some fascinating contributions. There was trace of settling outdated scores from Aontú’s Peadar Tóibín throughout his speech in favour of the Government’s proposal. He spoke concerning the thorny concern of possession of the hospital web site.

“Now I hear people say that the ground should be gifted to the State. Sinn Féin has over 100 properties in the State at the moment. I would suggest that, maybe, Sinn Féin gift some of their properties to the State. See, the thing about it is, it’s easy to be generous with other people’s property. It’s much too easy. And people shouldn’t ask others to do what they wouldn’t do themselves,” declared the Aontú chief … and former Sinn Féin TD for Meath West.

Peadar was amongst these deploring the anti-church rhetoric from many audio system who supported the movement.

“But of course, there’s an awful lot of politicians here – they can’t believe in God because they think they’re God themselves”

And within the unlikely occasion that the Sisters may need been tuned into reside proceedings that night time, Michael Healy-Rae had a particular message for them, one which was echoed by his Rural Independent colleagues and the aforementioned Tóibín.

“If there are nuns listening, I’d like to say something that they didn’t hear coming out of this chamber yet, until, perhaps, right now: thank you very much. Because nobody has yet said thank you. All everybody has done is try to pick fault and find everything possible wrong with it, all because of this anti-religion agenda that is going on in Ireland at present and I think it’s absolutely outrageous.”

The Kerry TD added: “But of course, there’s an awful lot of politicians here – they can’t believe in God because they think they’re God themselves.”

Independent TD for Galway West Catherine Connolly took him up on this.

“I don’t think I want to be God, but if I was arrogant enough I don’t think I would go down that road. I’d choose to be a goddess maybe and do it completely differently.”

His correct title

Micheál Martin doesn’t strike us as a Bishop Brennan sort, however somebody on excessive in Government Buildings just isn’t pleased with the way in which some individuals are taking part in quick and free with the Taoiseach’s exalted title.

The Government Information Service has simply despatched a memo about this to the numerous and numerous handlers employed to dicky up the coalition and proclaim its nice works to the folks.

“For your guidance, a note on the correct use of the title ‘Taoiseach’ in written material,” it begins. “In written form always use ‘the Taoiseach’ in English, and only use ‘An Taoiseach’ in Irish.”

Examples have been included.

“Speech by Taoiseach ____, TD” however not “Speech by an Taoiseach ____, TD”

“In press releases, “Taoiseach Micheál Martin congratulates…”

“Statement of the Taoiseach” not “Statement of an Taoiseach”.

The employed assist has been instructed to “ensure that press releases and other materials, including speeches and publications, use the correct title.”

Standards have to be maintained to keep away from the slippery slope or earlier than we all know it they’ll be referring to the Taoiseach as plain “Micheál”. Bishop Brennan from Fr Ted had the precise thought when Fr Dougal took liberties along with his identify.

“Did he call me Len again? You address me by my proper title, you little bollocks!”

You can take the múinteoir out of faculty

Unquestionably hard to question: Minister for Education Norma Foley. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Unquestionably laborious to query: Minister for Education Norma Foley. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Congressman Richard Neal had higher thoughts his Ps and Qs when he has dinner in Dingle on Sunday with Norma Foley. Because when Norma is requested a query, she offers her one reply and that’s that. Any follow-up requests for clarification or elucidation won’t be entertained.

Because the Minister for Education has her reply and she’s going to hold repeating it till her questioner is múinteoired into submission.

Norma, a secondary faculty trainer in her former life, was earlier than the Oireachtas Committee on Gender Equality this week, the place she was requested about intercourse training in colleges. A blast of Arctic air whistled by way of Committee Room 2 when the Minister exchanged icy phrases with Fine Gael spokesperson for equality Jennifer Carroll MacNeill.

This got here after People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith accused her of not answering a query about non secular ethos influencing the instructing of intercourse training in sure colleges. Jennifer Carroll MacNeill then requested if “every child will receive an identical education with no opt-out for parents or schools” in accordance with the curriculum.

“The curriculum will be followed, as laid down, in our schools,” she replied.

But what does that imply? Jennifer mentioned all she wanted was a sure or no reply however wasn’t getting one, and never for the primary time on this concern, from the Minister.

Norma repeated the curriculum can be adopted as laid down in our colleges.

Jennifer sighed closely as her Coalition colleague talked at size round a straight reply and indicated she didn’t wish to hear any extra.

It was probably the most viciously well mannered scuffle ever seen in Leinster House

“No, and I want to be clear,” insisted Norma, holding up her hand like a visitors cop on match-day responsibility. “If I could say to you, Deputy,” she smiled with livid serenity. “If the answer is correct the first time and if the information I give you is correct the first time, it will be correct the second and the third time when you ask me as well, irrespective of how you frame it. So.”

“Oh my goodness,” gasped Jennifer. “Oh my goodness!”

It was probably the most viciously well mannered scuffle ever seen in Leinster House.

It’s again to Kerry on Sunday for Norma, the place she’s going to host Congressman Neal, who chairs the highly effective Ways and Means Committee on Capitol Hill, and a bipartisan congressional delegation presently doing Belgium, Britain and Ireland.

After they arrive at Farranfore, the visiting US politicians shall be shipped over the Blaskets, the place Norma shall be internet hosting a reception on the Great Blasket Centre. Richard Neal’s folks on his mom’s aspect hail from Ventry within the west Kerry Gaeltacht, so he ought to benefit from the journey. The Minister would possibly even give him an aul blasht of Peig Sayers, simply to underline that the struggling endured down by way of the a long time by college students pressured to review the stout-hearted widow’s account of island life in bygone days.

However, he shall be immensely cheered by the presence of Senator Mark Daly, freshly returned from a visit to Kyiv with Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl, the place their presence gave nice consolation to the folks of war-torn Ukraine.

Apparently the Minister has a eager curiosity in Northern Irish politics and shall be setting out the Government’s place in relation to the NI protocol and the Belfast Agreement, presumably from the inglenook in Peig’s cottage. There could also be turf.

That night time, Norma will host a personal dinner in dingle with Neal and the eight members of his delegation, together with “a select number of guests”. We don’t know if Jennifer Carroll MacNeill is on the invitation record. There could also be surf and turf.

Then it’s on to Dublin on Monday morning for the delegation and from there to Belfast.




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