News John Drennan

Saturday 22 October 2016

On your bike -- 'cycle craft' is still mum and dad's job

Published 28/10/2007 | 00:00

ONE of the most entertaining sights in Leinster House is that moment where the Examiner's lean, green political stenographer Harry McGee disrobes himself of all his cycling gear.

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In simpler times the heaviest of equipment a cyclist carried was an old pair of bicycle clips to tuck in the old trousers.

However, recently, as Harry divested himself of helmets, rain gear, knee pads arm pads (and, for all we knew, shoulder pads), the process took so long that one grizzled old soul was heard to wail: "My God, the troops embedded in Iraq have less safety equipment than that fellow".

Happily, when it comes to the great new national culture of 'safety first' in all things, Harry has finally secured himself a soul-mate.

The Vlad the Impaler wing of Fine Gael may be at war with the new 'elf 'n' safety culture where school-children fishing for minnows must wear life buoys and young boys cannot engage in conker fights without going on a safety training course.

However, in a query that will warm the hearts of our growing meddlesome legions of safety advocates last week, Fine Gael's shiny new TD Terence Flanagan wanted to know if Noel Dempsey had any plans to appoint a "national cycling and walking officer to his department".

Before any of you right-wing cynics start to snicker and sneer, it should of course be noted that the FG equivalent of a young Daniel O'Donnell believes such an officer would be engaged in great and serious tasks.

Flanagan, who bears an un-nerving resemblance to the sort of first-year clerical students who used to be so common in Maynooth in the 1980s believes the "national cycling and walking officers" are needed to "co-ordinate all bike commuting issues such as the provision of [wait for this] cycle craft training free to all primary and secondary students".

Fifth Column thought that was Mum and Dad's job.

Sadly, this was also the case with Dempsey, who essentially told poor Terence to 'get on your bike, son'.

Still, this correspondent can hardly wait for Terence's next exciting idea. Training granny to suck eggs? Perhaps.

The sky is the limit for this ambitious young politician -- who is an even more perfect candidate than John Perry for Fine Gael's last frontbench gig as the Spokesperson for Silly Walks.

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