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Saturday 10 December 2016

Notes from a scandal: How Bruton hit a bum note

Published 10/02/2010 | 05:00

Richard Bruton pictured reading his notes outside Leinster House
Richard Bruton pictured reading his notes outside Leinster House
Prominent among Bruton's notes a story with the headline: "Harriet Harman in the running for 'Rear of the Year' award."
Richard Bruton's notes also contained the agenda for yesterday's Fine Gael frontbench meeting
Scribbled onto the page was keynote phrases including: "Acted honour-ably"; "FG has a problem to manage" and "FG has a robust policy platform"
Harriet Harman

Fine Gael's Richard Bruton took centre-stage outside Leinster House yesterday amid the continuing fallout from George Lee's shock departure-- but unbeknownst to the deputy leader, so did his handful of documents.

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It turns out that Fine Gael's finance spokesman also has an interest in figures that aren't of the numerical kind. For prominent among his visible notes was a print-out of a story with the headline: "Harriet Harman in the running for 'Rear of the Year' Award."

The story explained how Britain's Labour Party Deputy Leader -- a staunch feminist, "who wants pictures of Page 3 girls banned from the workplace to protect the sensitivity of some staff" -- is an unlikely candidate for the honour.

Fine Gael staffers were at a loss as to how this page came to be there, and Mr Bruton was unreachable for an explanation -- although one insider suggested: "I think it's one of the policy papers that George submitted to Richard."

Also among the papers was a second document, entitled Fine Gael Front Bench Meeting.

Richard had obviously taken notes during the hasty party think-in about how to handle the George Lee debacle, with keynote phrases scribbled onto the page including: "Acted honour-ably"; "FG has a problem to manage" and "FG has a robust policy platform".

All of these phrases popped up in the course of Richard's interview on the plinth -- although one word scribbled on the paper did not: 'Saipan'.

Perhaps Richard decided that comparing Enda to Mick McCarthy, while George got to be Roy Keane, would be an own-goal too far.

Irish Independent

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