Simon hugs a pig while Kenny cops an eyeful
Ministers ploughing their own furrow as they deal with the Ratheniska festival
Published 24/09/2015 | 02:30
It was still half-dark, the cocks were only mulling over having a crow, but the Agriculture Minister was impressively bright of eye and bushy of tail. "I've been down looking at the pigs," he chirped.
No. Go 'way. He was having a laugh, surely? No politician on the planet would place himself anywhere in the vicinity of a pig this weather, in the light of David Cameron's porcine pickle. Sure the TDs were even avoiding the morning fry in the Dáil.
"I posted a photo on Twitter," he offered helpfully - in fairness Simon Coveney is an obliging sort of chap. And sure enough he had. A lovely pic of him cradling a dotey wee pig. And all the while the penny was hanging suspended in mid-air, having failed to drop. The minister looked as innocent as a newborn ba...oh, never mind.
But Simon was having a mighty time, and intended to spend the whole day whizzing between over 60 stands within what could be termed the sprawling rural metropolis that is the Ploughing. With 800 acres of tractors and ploughs and diggers and saws and livestock, it's exhausting, exhilarating or - for anyone who thinks Husqvarna is the new fragrance from Chanel - utterly bewildering.
The Taoiseach loves the Ploughing. For the last few years, Enda has more or less refused to go home until he's toured the stands and also clambered up into the cabins of a variety of large pieces of farm machinery.
But he seemed a bit subdued this time when he arrived on the site at 8am. Enda and several ministers were announcing a €30m investment programme for rural towns and villages, which sounds like a lot but isn't really, given the acute decline in the quality of life in many of them.
"€30m is a recognition of potential," Enda explained, leaving all and sundry none the wiser.
Maybe the Taoiseach was downcast because he was on a strict timetable - he had to be back in Leinster House to take Leaders' Questions at noon, then he was scheduled to meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and then fly to Brussels for an emergency EU Council pow-wow on the refugee crisis. And all before dinner.