Sunday 25 September 2016

My Week: Shane Ross*

Ellis O'Hanlon

Published 21/08/2016 | 02:30

'Don’t mind these random stops in the middle of. Sentences. It’s what I. Do..' Pic: Tom Burke
'Don’t mind these random stops in the middle of. Sentences. It’s what I. Do..' Pic: Tom Burke

Sunday: Flying down to Rio. Though there'll be no dancing on the wings of the airplane with Ginger Rogers for me. I am here to do. A serious job. Of work. Don't mind these random stops in the middle of. Sentences.

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It's what I. Do.

I'm told that some rum coves have been selling tickets for the Olympics at. Vastly. Inflated. Prices. That is, of course, totally wrong. If they wanted to make lots of easy money, they should have just legally sold their land to developers, like I did during the Celtic Tiger.

What a shame I won't be able to fit in any sightseeing while I'm here, though. Rio's a fabulous place. Friendly people. Lovely weather. You should see the Olympic stadium. It's almost as big as my house. As for the beaches, let me tell you, it's like the Rose of Tralee every day down there on Copacabana.

The moment I land, I call the people from the Olympic Council of Ireland and ask for a meeting. Unfortunately, each time I get through I hear a voice saying, "please hold, your call is important to us". I know it's them, because I can hear them. Giggling. In the background.

That is no way to treat a minister in the Irish Government. I tell them I'm coming over. Right away. Don't try to stop me. I will not be foiled or forestalled. Rosser is the "bosser nova" now.

MONDAY: Yesterday's meeting didn't go as well as I hoped. The chaps flatly turned down my request to have independent members on any OCI commission of inquiry into ticket touts.

"But everyone needs independents. Just think what the Independent Alliance has done for the Government," I point out.

"We are thinking about it," they reply. "That's why we're saying no."

Consequently, my diary's a trifle thin. I check the programme to see what events I can show my, if I may say so, not unpleasing face at. I don't need tickets. An Irish minister and his lanyard are welcome everywhere.

Some of the sports look ridiculous, but that doesn't bother me. I was the longest ever member of the Seanad, so I know what it's like to devote your life to something utterly silly and pointless.

I notice that some Irish girl will be competing later in the 100 metres freestyle bantamweight or some such ballyhoo. It all looks like good clean fun anyway, so I resolve to go and see this Tracey Naylor for myself. You go, Tracey! Erin go bragh, and whatnot.

What's that? Her name's Katie Taylor? Fancy that. I'm told she's from Bray, not really my usual social circle, but it takes all sorts to make a world. I send a tweet wishing her well. It takes five hours to appear on Twitter, by which time she's already out of. The. Competition.

What can I say? Must be a slow internet connection. Everyone back home thinks I made a fool of myself, but this is not the time to talk about me. Let's think about poor Stacey being denied one of those gold medal things.

WEDNESDAY: I still haven't heard back from Pat Hickey, I know it's early but, blast it, I have the right to answers. I call him to demand another meeting, but he tells me there are some burly Brazilian police men at the door waiting to manhandle him.

"I didn't know you were into that sort of thing, but live and let live, that's what I say."

"No," he shouts, "they're arresting me on suspicion of ticket touting!"

I'm sure it's all a mistake. I quizzed him about that on Sunday and he assured me he knew nothing.

Back home, Labour leader Brendan Howlin accuses me of having "little understanding of the job". What's the frightful little hobbit on about? I thought I was being made minister for sport, I didn't think I'd need a flak jacket. Leo said it was a doddle and you didn't even need to like sport. Sounded ideal.

THURSDAY: Am met by reporters at Dublin Airport asking for a quote, which is quite annoying, as I clearly went through the "Nothing To Declare" channel.

I say I'll be meeting with the Taoiseach and other ministers. Because, between the lot of us, we should be able to figure out who to blame for this mess. Then I congratulate Thomas Barry on his run in the 500m high jump relay. I'm told later his name is actually Barr.

I knew that.

FRIDAY: I meet with the Attorney General. Yes, the same one whose advice on abortion we totally ignored. Awkward. I announce the setting up of. An inquiry. Some call it toothless, but who cares as long as it buys me time to get my head around this blasted job? 

*As imagined by Eilis O'Hanlon

Sunday Independent

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