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Saturday 27 May 2017

One day we'll look back and it will all have been a nightmare

But for now there are lessons to be drawn from this presidential election, says Brendan O'Connor

BEFORE we manage to wipe the events of the last couple of months from our minds, we should perhaps reflect briefly on what, if anything, we learned. And then we should all agree to forget it ever happened and get behind Michaeldy, our glorious leader.

Lesson 1: Gay is always right. I mean Gay Byrne, obviously. A long, long time ago, in that other country that is the past, in a more innocent time, it was thought briefly that Gay Byrne should be the President. And Gay agreed to think about it. It took him about a week and some 'analysis' by The Irish Times to realise you'd want to be some mug to subject yourself to this carry-on.

And so, tempted as he was, Gay knew better than to get involved. How many of the other candidates wish they had taken their lead from Gay? We will never know. But probably at least six of them.

Lesson 2: We need to talk about Enda. While Fine Gaelers have been trying to explain away their dismal performance by saying "People were looking for different qualities in a President than the many great qualities that Gay had" and while they have been trying to portray their dismal performance in the by-election by claiming "It's a great victory for the Government", there is no doubt that Enda and his party need to take a long, hard look at themselves.

The most neutral opinion about them these days is that they're just doing the same as the last crowd; a more hostile one is that they stole our pensions, among other things.

And people are starting to wonder why Enda Kenny seems to kind of float above it all and refuses to get his hands dirty.

Lesson 3: We are apparently behind on the journey. In an extraordinary post-election interview with Miriam O'Callaghan, Martin McGuinness chided us all down here that we needed to move on.

Martin seemed surprised that he couldn't just draw a line under his past and that we wouldn't all get with the programme. He actually seemed to feel sorry for us. His main ire was reserved for his critics, who really need to move on.

Presumably, he was talking about his most vociferous critics during the campaign, the families of the people Martin's colleagues murdered, who still haven't got justice. But 'murder' is such a harsh word to use, isn't it, Martin?

Lesson 4: We need to talk about Sean. If a guy can come out of nowhere and still get half-a-million first preferences, despite the pounding he got over the last week of the campaign, we need to examine what is going on.

What is this constituency? Can we afford to ignore it? Can the media afford to poo poo it? Nearly one in three people gave their first preference to a man the media portrayed as a bagman and a pariah. Somebody is out of touch with something here.

Lesson 5: Michaeldy will be a great President and is the man for the job. All of the other candidates were falling over themselves to say this on Friday. Pity for them it took them until now to realise it.

Okay. Reflection done. Now, when I snap my fingers you will forget everything that happened for the last two months.

And ... you're back in the room.

Sunday Independent

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