Lise Hand: Snapping, scowling and sarcasm abound as fraught times are had by all in Seanad
By golly but the revolting members in the Upper House are feeling the displeasure of the Government in no small measure in these fraught times.
Junior Minister Brian Hayes is a scrappy sort of chap, and clearly was in no mood to suffer fools – or anybody else for that matter – gladly when it came to his turn to do penance in the Seanad during the debate on its own abolition on Wednesday.
Firstly, he began by cutting Senator John Crown off in mid-grumble, snapping somewhat startlingly: "You lick yourself every night before you go to bed." The unimpressed Prof retorted: "The word prat suggests itself sometimes."
Brian elaborated: "I am saying in this House that you are talking to yourselves most of the time."
Inevitably, David Norris mounted his high horse (a beast that must be well knackered by now) and demanded the minister retract his observation. But no dice. "Sanctimonious crap," sniffed Brian. "You insulted me. I have no regard for you," he informed the irate senator.
He clearly hadn't received the memo that dictated that all ministers must sit straight-faced (with no eye-rolling or scowling) when in the Seanad no matter what the provocation.
And Belligerent Brian was all the more entertaining for it.
Also on Wednesday, Chief Whip Paul Kehoe transmogrified into the Postman from Hell for the two FG rebels in the Seanad. The evening before, to the surprise of nobody at all, Fidelma Healy Eames and Paul Bradford voted against the Coalition in the first vote on the abortion bill.
Though the Government won the vote by 41-15, retribution for defying the party whip was remarkably swift.
For, 24 hours later – just minutes after the same intrepid duo had also voted against the Government on a Seanad abolition motion – Postman Paul materialised in the chamber and presented them with their P45s – letters of expulsion from the FG parliamentary party.
Both were gobsmacked. "Thanks very much, Paul," roared a sarcastic Fidelma. But Paul Bradford managed a bit of mordant humour: "If the Chief Whip had known about our abolition vote he probably would've brought us a second letter."
Attila 'the Hun' Kenny is on the warpath – make no mistake.
Lightning Lucinda moves on almost as quickly as Enda
The breathtaking speed at which Lucinda Creighton was replaced as European Affairs Minister spoke volumes about just how dim a view her boss had taken of her stance on the abortion legislation – her successor Paschal Donohoe was given the gig about a nanosecond after she had said sayonara to the Taoiseach.
Nor did the Dublin Bay South deputy hang about herself when it came to adjusting her official website to her new circumstances.
The description 'Minister of State for European Affairs' has vanished from the banner, and the words 'Fine Gael' are a more modest size, given that she's now an Independent Fine Gael TD.
By contrast, Paschal's website remains unchanged with no update on his new elevated status. Perhaps he still can't believe his luck. . .
Andrea gets lucky with two million video hits
One of the genuine feelgood videos of the summer is the impromptu dance routine on a Temple Bar street featuring Dublin cabbie Wayne Karney and EU presidency press officer Andrea Pappin.
The footage showing the pair busting some impressive moves to 'Get Lucky' by Daft Punk has notched up an incredible two million hits on YouTube, and has done the affable Andrea, pictured, no harm at all.
Granted, she's had to put up with a bit of slagging from various denizens of Leinster House. This week at a government press conference, naughty Ruairi Quinn sailed past her. "When is the taxi coming?" he asked the morto Andrea.
However, it turns out that she's no stranger to this particular song.
Somehow, in between the non-stop events around the presidency, Andrea found the time to get hitched to her fiance Colin, marrying on Ibiza on May 31 (no time for a honeymoon, though).
And what was the couple's first dance? 'Get Lucky', of course ...
Fine Gael's 'five-a-side' gang pick a winner
There was shock and awe in the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting this week after the group of rapscallions dubbed the 'five-a-side' gang launched a blitz on the members over the vote to replace the departed Lucinda on the party's national executive.
The party poobahs had lined up Kilkenny's finest, John Paul Phelan (above), to take her place and naively assumed that the job was oxo and everyone was on board.
Not quite. For the five-a-side lads – a bunch of FG's younger bucks who fulminate (quietly) about the party leadership – had their own candidate in mind, Cavan-Monaghan deputy Sean Conlan. The lads, who include Eoghan Murphy (Dublin Bay South), Brendan Griffin (Kerry South) and Paul Connaughton Jnr (Galway East) persuaded the members Sean was the man for the job.
And the group – who have been lying dormant of late – mustered sufficient votes to get their man over the line, to the astonishment of the party brass.
"We didn't see that one coming," said one bemused member. "The five-a-side haven't gone away, you know."