Monday 22 December 2014

Matching suits mark the start of Gilmore and Clegg show

Published 10/11/2012 | 17:00

EAMON Gilmore and Nick Clegg stood side-by-side after their tete-a-tete in the Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday evening.

Maybe it's a deputy prime minister thing, but the two chaps were dressed almost identically in dark suits, blue shirts and red ties.

However, the duo has more in common than similar sartorial tastes.

Both of them lead junior coalition parties, and both Eamon's Labour Party and Nick's Liberal Democrats have been given a bit of a spanking in recent opinion polls.

But Eamon and Nick were both cheerful enough when they emerged from their meeting, and were eager to underline the harmony between Ireland and Britain -- although the Tanaiste and Britain's deputy prime minister were quick to condemn last week's murder of Northern Ireland prison officer, David Black.

Nick Clegg emphasised the good vibrations between the two countries, especially when it comes to doing business, and pointed to the amount of British goods which head across the Irish Sea.

And he joined the snaking queue of EU big wheels lining up to hand out praise/gongs/whatever to the Irish.

"It seems to me that Ireland has been an absolute model of a country which has painstakingly and uncomplainingly stuck to the strictures which have been asked of it in very difficult circumstances. I'm full of admiration for the Tanaiste and the Taoiseach and the coalition government here," he declared.

Aha -- speaking of coalition governments, surely Eamon and Nick had indulged in a mutual moaning session over the tough gig of trying to hold one's own against the big boys of Fine Gael and the Tories respectively?

In fairness, the Tanaiste took the question with good grace.

"The deputy prime minister and I, we keep in touch and we discuss lots of issues, including the joys and shared experiences that we have of leading our parties in coalition governments," he grinned.

But beside him, Nick didn't crack a smile.

"Exactly," he agreed crisply.

Oh dear, perhaps the Tanaiste should lend him The Small Party Survival Handbook -- after all, the Lib Dems' leader is new to this whole coalition lark.

Irish Independent

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