Saturday 23 March 2019

Pain in the Áras – did Miggeldy’s stalling cost us Miriam?

Pain in the Áras: Miriam faces a barrage of questions about a run for the presidency at the launch of the annual LauraLynn Heroes Ball. Photo: Frank McGrath
Pain in the Áras: Miriam faces a barrage of questions about a run for the presidency at the launch of the annual LauraLynn Heroes Ball. Photo: Frank McGrath
Holy show: Pope John Paul's damaged head
Twin Geeps named This and That belonging to Angela Bermingham at her home in Murneen, Claremorris, Co. Mayo. Photo : Keith Heneghan
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

How much longer must we wait before President ‘Miggledy’ summons the Irish media, and with great fanfare, pomp, and (hopefully) his two fabulous Bernese mountain dogs (Bród and Shadow) by his side, announces he’s up for a second presidential term?

First, he indicated that we’d know by spring. Now it’s bumped back to July.

By that stage we will be so blindsided by the imminent arrival of Pope Francis, we won’t think twice about what’s happening in the Áras.

Tactically, his stalling makes perfect sense — from his point of view.

He gets to keep ticking along doing presidential things — pressing the flesh, laying wreaths, inviting people for tea and scones in the Áras, and inspecting lines of sharply dressed military men.

It’s subliminal, sleeper canvassing; low-grade yet effective.

Similar to the way supermarkets play slowed-down Ed Sheeran muzak so you’ll dawdle down aisles and fill your trolley with items you don’t need, like indestructible wundermops, or 17 boxes of cut-price pre-made mini canapé vol-au-vents.

It’s a technique he learned from his predecessor Mary McAleese, who did much the same thing in 2004. (The presidential postponing, not the use of Ed Sheeran muzak).

And it worked well. The less time opponents have to launch a successful bid, the more likely you come out on top.

This may explain why some have been reluctant to throw their hat in the ring.

And why others have openly admitted they’re putting any presidential dreams on hold until President Higgins reaches his 87th year.

This week, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern ruled out participating in this year’s election before adding: “If he (President Higgins) turned around and said he wasn’t running, that’d be a different thing.”

And last night, after months of refusing to admit if she was in, out, or shaking it all about, Miriam O’Callaghan finally ruled herself out.

Miriam said she was “touched and a little embarrassed” by people suggesting she should go for it. 

Personally I’m devastated - Miriam would have mounted a great campaign. And I think she’s a far better public speaker than President Higgins, genuinely.

While I get why El Presidente wants to hold fire till July — it saddens me a little. Not on moralistic grounds, but because it dilutes down the entertainment value of the presidential race.

Admittedly, it was probably never going to be as action-packed as the 2011 one.

What a year! We had 1970 Eurovision winner Dana Rosemary Scanlon, Senator and Celebrity Home of the Year winner David Norris, the late Martin McGuinness, and Mary Davis, who channelled Legally Blonde’s Elle Woods in her campaign posters.

And that’s before we even get to the drama of Seán Gallagher and the Frontline debacle.

There were a healthy dollop of celebrity names in the mix; Winning Streak’s Marty Whelan and Old Uncle Gaybo added a little, well, not sparkle exactly, but some showbiz buzz.

This year, there has been less intrigue.

So far the biggest names officially nailing their colours to the mast are Senator Gerard Craughwell, and outsider Kevin Sharkey.

So, I urge the Prez to stop the dithering. And to think of us, the spectators.

We need big names to come forward and liven things up, to pack it full of spectacle so we can justify how exorbitantly expensive it will be for the taxpayer.

Delay it anymore and it could just be President Higgins and Gerard Craughwell battling it out. Who wants to watch that?

Show your mettle Miggledy, mix it up and give the others at the very least a fighting chance.


Will Pope John Paul be fixed in time in time for papal visit?

Holy show: Pope John Paul's damaged head

Ever since I heard Pope Francis was coming to our shores, I've been filled with contemplative and confusing questions. 

How much novelty delft will be manufactured? What's the 2018 Popemobile going to look like? And are Protestants allowed into the Phoenix Park Mass to have a gawk and shout #NotMyPope?

But, inevitably, my thoughts always drift to the good people at the National Wax Museum.

As I am sure you will remember, last year the wax museum ran into a spot of bother when someone decapitated Pope John Paul II during a rather boisterous August Bank Holiday weekend.

One of the museum staff members found the head tossed carelessly on the far side of the display room, with some chewing gum stuck to his temple. The eye had been knocked clean out of the socket, and the body laid strewn in a chair. Poor old Pope-y.

The museum are unsure what exactly happened - they presume someone tripped and knocked the statue over.

I like to think that in a moment of pure madness, a visitor ran into the museum and karate-chopped Pope John Paul II's head off in one swift movement.

Sadly, we'll never know the truth, as the security camera was focused on a statue of Father Ted at the time.

The museum stressed it was definitely "none of our staff" and to suggest otherwise would open yourself up to a legal case. So take my advice and keep schtum.

I spoke with the proprietors, who said there was no point in "crying over a split Pope" - whatever that means.

They also confirmed they are very close to fixing Pope John Paul II's noggin, and hope that it will be ready by the time Francis visits.

Just in case he feels like popping into the wax museum after Mass.



Twin Geeps named This and That belonging to Angela Bermingham at her home in Murneen, Claremorris, Co. Mayo. Photo : Keith Heneghan

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