There's a Dublin vs Mayo rumble in town - but it's not in Croker
Published 01/09/2015 | 02:30
Mary Lou's eyes narrowed and an expression of disdain settled on her visage. "Did she? Hmm," she inquired with a distinctly unimpressed air.
Goodness. What could have irked her so? Had Mary Lou's regular sparring partner, the Tánaiste, been winding her up again?
Actually, no she hadn't. Never mind the torrid carry-on on the battlefield of Croker on Sunday, for in the political arena too, it looks as if a Mayo-Dublin inter-county clash is bubbling up just in the nick of time for the new season - which may develop into quite a contest, with (metaphorical) digs flying in all directions.
So far in the lifetime of this Dáil, one of the absorbing fixtures has been the weekly Thursday high noon rumble between the Labour leader and the Sinn Féin second-in-command.
It's become increasingly evident that there is little love lost between Joan Burton and Mary Lou McDonald (inset), a pair of doughty Dubs unafraid to go toe-to-toe for a bit of a Dáil shemozzle.
But now it appears that Mary Lou is quite content to open up another skirmish on a second front - this time with another feisty parliamentarian, Lucinda Creighton.
Lucinda may reside in the genteel constituency of Dublin Bay South, but the Claremorris native rarely backs down from a scrap. And let's face it, with a brand new political party to promote, the Renua leader knows darn well that headlines aren't generated on the back of policy launches alone.
And so last week Lucinda sent a Scud flying in the direction of Gerry Adams - whose party is dodging quite a number of incoming missiles both north and south of the border at present in the wake of the controversy over the murder of Kevin McGuigan in east Belfast last month.
In a statement unleashed last week, Lucinda suggested the bearded head of Gerry should roll if he fails to comprehensively prove there is "no involvement by Sinn Féin or its Provisional wing in crime", adding "in a functioning democracy there can be no association between political parties and organised crime".
So what did Gerry's loyal lieutenant make of that? Fresh from her holidays, Mary Lou was ready for the fray when she strolled onto the Leinster House plinth to discuss the weekend's water protest march, and was asked about Lucinda's Grizzly-baiting.
Mary Lou begged to differ. "I would suggest to Lucinda and to her Renua party that in fact, of all the political parties in Ireland, we are the most scrutinised and we have the most oversight," she asserted.
But she was only warming up. "I don't know if Lucinda is suggesting that I for instance have a link to criminality, she might like to come out and say that, if that's her belief," she stated.
"I can assure you that's not the case, and I can assure you that's not the case in terms of my colleagues," she insisted.
But that wasn't the end of it. Mary Lou was motoring now, and launched a final robust tackle worthy of Croker. "And as a party that is called Renua, I would've expected something Nua and something a bit different than a rehash of the same tired, abusive slurs that I'm listening to since I first ran for election," she sniped.
Golly. And as fate would have it, as Mary Lou departed the plinth, Lucinda arrived on it to discuss Renua's new plan to support SMEs.
Luckily, a big black Jeep was conveniently parked by the plinth, allowing Dublin to skirt one side of it, while Mayo circumnavigated the other side.
Lucinda, unaware of the ferocity of the verbal kicking which had just taken place, contented herself with a few general skelps at Sinn Féin, scoffing at the party's assertion that the IRA are RIP, declaring the gardaí have stated otherwise.
"And when it comes to the simple question of who do you trust, who do you believe, is it the gardaí or Sinn Féin, I have to say that I certainly would side with An Garda Siochána," she concluded calmly (at least for now).
Uh-oh. Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett's gonna be one busy ref.