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Friday 30 September 2016

Tiger Ring quits when he's at the top of his game

Published 25/01/2014 | 02:30

Padraig Harrington and Michael Ring, Minister of State of Tourism and Sport.
Padraig Harrington and Michael Ring, Minister of State of Tourism and Sport.
Michael Ring and Padraig Harrington at Stackstown Golf Club. Photo: Peter Houlihan / Fennells

AS a general rule, if a politician is requested to do something with some class of a ball for the benefit of a posse of eager photographers, the result is inevitably Snappers 1: Politician 0.

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And so it was with a bit of trepidation that Junior Sports Minister Michael Ring found himself on the 18th green at Stackstown Golf Club this week in the presence of golf champ Padraig Harrington, some publicity-hungry folk from Failte Ireland and – natch – photographers.

Michael was launching the Irish Open which takes place at the Fota Island Resort in Cork in June, and was asked if he wouldn't mind putting a few balls for the benefit of the cameras. The Mayo minister – unlike his constituency and party colleague the Taoiseach, who is a useful enough golfer – the Ringer was on unfamiliar turf.

"I'm more of a pitch-and-putt man," he confessed. He was obliged to try his hand at a dauntingly long putt, prompting a bit of advice from the Padraig. "He told me that everything falls to the sea on this green," explained Michael.

And much to everyone's (including the minister's) astonishment, he holed the ball. "There was a big cheer," he said. But predictably the photographers were unhappy and demanded he did it again.

"Padraig said to me: 'Don't try it a second time – walk away while you're winning.' But sure I took another shot at it, and didn't it go in again," he laughed.

There was an even bigger cheer at this remarkable feat. And then the snappers begged for one more go from Michael – but the Ringer is no fool.

"You have to know when to quit, so I left at the top of my game," he declared.

Smart move. Now go and spread the wisdom among your compadres in the Dail. You tell 'em, Tiger.

There's a storm a-brewing as councillor breaks golden rule

It's a cautionary tale to chill everyone's heart – but particularly politicians, for whom the golden rule of survival is to never have a bad word to say about anyone within the boundaries of one's constituency. (Except for rivals, of course).

Yesterday, junior minister Brian Hayes took a trip to the Clare coastline with a gaggle of other politicians from the county to inspect the recent storm damage. And it was evident that election fever was taking hold, with manoeuvring by politicians to get into photos with the minister.

However, when the entourage arrived in one town, a couple of unfortunate local lads found a tempest waiting for them. Fine Gael senator Martin Conway and Fine Gael councillor Bill Slattery brought the minister to meet a resident affected by the storms. But the woman was irate.

"Is there something wrong with your phone?" she asked Bill, before going on to explain that when she had ended a call with him a few days earlier, his mobile hadn't cut the connection, and so she was able to listen to his subsequent conversation with the person in his company, who happened to be Mr Conway. And she was unamused to overhear what she thought were a few unflattering opinions of herself being aired. It had been "outrageous", she told the aghast senator and councillor, as Mr Hayes wisely sidled away from the storm.

Far more amused were Fianna Fail's Timmy Dooley and Fine Gael's Pat Breen and Joe Carey, who were spotted quite clearly enjoying the duo's predicament – from a safe distance, of course.

Is Alan doing justice to bonkbuster genre?

The Dail may now sit every second Friday, but the debates so far have proved to be moribund affairs.

But some of the Dail denizens were able to have a giggle yesterday at the expense of the Justice Minister during a debate on the Censorship of Publications Repeal Bill.

Fianna Fail's Niall Collins reckoned the board was "an outdated relic", and it was pointed out that only one publication had been referred to the censors in the last five years – Alan Shatter's 'Laura'. His colleague Billy Kelleher had his sarcasm dial turned up. "I'm hopeful, even though I never read it, that this book will be allowed to be on the shelves forever and a day, as a testament to the great literary giant Mr Shatter is," he said as sniggers rose.

Mind, there seems to be a split in Fianna Fail over Alan's attempts at portraying steamy shenanigans. Up popped a tweet from senator Averil Power, who snorted: "I've read more racy text on the back of a cereal box!"


Irish Independent

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