Friday 28 October 2016

As Enda jockeys to stay in front he should beware the galloping Corkman

Published 07/04/2014 | 02:30

Comparisons can be drawn between the current political jockeying for position and the recent racing at the Grand National meeting at Aintree. Photos: REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Comparisons can be drawn between the current political jockeying for position and the recent racing at the Grand National meeting at Aintree. Photos: REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

We watched the Grand National in The Bucket. The pub was packed. Maybe the word went out that Sky had just bought the rights to 'Dail Report' and the deadly excited fans just couldn't wait to see the slow-motion replays of Alan Shatter taking his seat for another grilling.

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Out came tasty sandwiches and meaty sausages with 103pc pork. I often ate sausages and the only porky part was the skin but we are not here to write about sausages. There are more chefs writing columns now than there are in kitchens. We have weightier matters to write about. Such as the future of the administration of justice in our country, in the context of the Aintree Grand National.

There he was galloping away, out in front, with his tail flying behind him like a girl with long hair in a convertible. With the roof down. That goes without saying. That the roof would be down. How could the hair fly unless she had a hairdryer plugged into the connection for the cigarette lighter? There are times when we get distracted by issues that have no bearing on the subject matter we intended to write about.

The leader's ears were pricked and he was jumping the giant Aintree fences as if they were no higher than a clump of fellistrims or the garden gate of a Wendy house. Across The Bay was a happy horse. This is what he was bred for and trained to do, but then disaster struck when a loose nag carried Across The Bay across the track. It was cruel and unexpected. Punters crumpled up beaten dockets and flicked the paper ball towards dustbins.

I promised band manager David Fitzmaurice we would quote a line or two from Brian Burke's new song 'The Bucket', which was being launched after the big race. Sometimes – but not very often – promises made in pubs are actually kept.

'Martin's handing out sausages and black pud,

And when you're sinking pints they do you good.'

Martin O'Dea is the owner of this lovely pub, built in between a humpback whale of a bridge and the River Maigue. But we're not paid to be writing about songs about sausages.

We'll go back to the Grand National and the chance of an unexpected intervention that can ruin a winning gallop with particular application to the Irish political system in the spring of 2014.

Enda Kenny will know what I'm on about. There he was out in front, still the largest party in the State, even after all the cuts and hardships. The feeling was he was going to win the next election. The foreign invaders who came in when Fianna Fail fell, left for the next bankrupt republic. Our pride was restored and Michael Noonan was hailed as the smartest Finance Minister ever.

Then came the garda whistleblowers and FG go sliding down the polls faster than a fireman who hears his missus has a lover. FF are the beneficiaries. They have come from the back of the field, having been remounted after that terrible fall from grace. Their jockey was a cute one. Micheal Martin waited patiently until his chance came. He couldn't really take the Government on over their handling of the economy because all it had to say was the mess was FF's fault to begin with and that was the end of that gallop. The Corkman is shrewd and when the bit is between his teeth, there is no one better than Micheal to kick on. FF are now neck and neck with FG in the polls.

If the managers of a business you owned broke the company due to gross incompetence, would you hire the same people to run the same business three years later? And would you sack the management team who subsequently took over the business and recently celebrated the receivers leaving the company? Well, FF seem to have managed that feat. We Irish have excellent short-term memories and very good long-term memories. But go anywhere in between 1916 and yesterday and we are most forgetful.

The loose horse is still on the track and, believe me, there is more trouble ahead. Our information is the Bailey case is explosive. The fact that Enda wasn't even Taoiseach when it was being investigated doesn't seem to matter. He will have to be very careful from now on. There are some big fences ahead. He may need to take over the reins for this one. The investigation of crime by its very nature is fraught with difficulties for the gardai. Our rules on gathering evidence are the strictest in the world. Every day new stories emerge and we can only guess at where the next loose horse will come from.

There was only one seer at The Bucket counter who was cheering like mad for 25/1 winner Pineau De Re. Only one out of about 80 got it right and most of those present had a bet. You never know what's round the next turn, in racing or in politics.

Irish Independent

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