Wednesday 26 July 2017

How the absence of a government means we miss out on the best Dáil put-downs

'What I really miss, after nearly 60 days of deadlock, is the cajoling, chicanery and codology we get in daily doses from Leinster House. It’s our very own emerald reality soap – complete with 158 play actors, each on a yearly mimimum of almost €90,000' Photo: Maxwells
'What I really miss, after nearly 60 days of deadlock, is the cajoling, chicanery and codology we get in daily doses from Leinster House. It’s our very own emerald reality soap – complete with 158 play actors, each on a yearly mimimum of almost €90,000' Photo: Maxwells

John Daly

Now don't freak when I tell you this, but I miss the Dáil. Not, you understand, because of its ability to solve complex social problems or create housing for the thousands of homeless - we're all well aware those kind of fantasy aspirations are far beyond the capabilities of our elected officials.

No, what I really miss, after nearly 60 days of deadlock, is the cajoling, chicanery and codology we get in daily doses from Leinster House. It's our very own emerald reality soap - complete with 158 play actors, each on a yearly mimimum of almost €90,000. Only last week, one of the great Gielguds of the chamber emerged briefly from retirement to remind us of the acute verbal dexterity we no longer enjoy.

Bertie-isms such as "We're not going to hang anyone on the guillotine" have long since passed into legend. And his observation that "At present, I have my hand in a whole lot of dykes, trying to keep them in and keep people together" will surely be used as a referendum slogan somewhere in the world some day. But for sagacity and judiciousness, could anything beat this multiple negative in response to a question during the Mahon Tribunal: "It is not correct, if I said so I wasn't correct, so I can't recall if I did say, but I did not say it, and if I did say it I didn't mean to say it."

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