Byrne saga a lesson for Martin
BEWARE of leprechauns guarding pots of gold! Micheal Martin ignored that age-old advice when he offered Gay Byrne a nomination to contest the presidential election. Now, with the broadcaster's withdrawal from the race, the Fianna Fail leader is left to contemplate the dead leaves at the rainbow's end.
Mr Martin is by no means the only member of his party lamenting this dismal vision. Many others welcomed the prospect of Mr Byrne's candidacy with enthusiasm, seeing it as a major coup (the name of Charles J Haughey was whispered in some quarters) and, wonder of wonders, free of risk.
They have had a sharp reminder that nothing in politics is risk-free. Mr Byrne's rapid exit has left them looking foolish and exposed. In every respect, they are in a worse position than before. And the person in the weakest position of all is the party leader.