Friday 20 April 2018

Great weather for duckies - but it's all down to God, says Danny

Danny Healy-Rae: 'God above is in charge of the weather and we here can't do anything about it' Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Danny Healy-Rae: 'God above is in charge of the weather and we here can't do anything about it' Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

On the 10th week of political talks, Gerry Adams gave to us any number of 'idiosyncratic' tweets, 'hundreds' of rubber duckies, two teddy bears in a same-sex relationship and one big old rumpus that Sinn Féin insisted was merely a storm in a teacup.

As the bubble of suspended disbelief continued to envelop Leinster House, the Republican leader's solution was to run himself another nice comforting bubble bath with his favourite regressive toys.

With the election up North taking place today, Adams had apparently abandoned one jurisdiction for another and there was no sign of him yesterday - although the "I'm not a racist" message still managed to trickle continuously through, thanks to his laboured retweet of a photograph of the Huli Wigmen of the Tari Highlands in Papua New Guinea, who had obligingly posed with an Éirí Amach na Cásca tricolour.

Of perhaps even greater concern is a galloping dose of anthropomorphism that Gerry has managed to acquire, generously bestowing life on inanimate objects as he earnestly told Ryan Tubridy that his two teddy bears were "hugely uplifted" by the same-sex marriage legislation, adding that they "certainly are engaged".

Whether he meant politically as responsible citizens or as a loved-up couple it was not quite clear.

"They're making their own way in the world," declared Gerry. Dear oh dear, they grow up so fast.

He did explain that this had been "a little sub-plot" about two years before the marriage equality referendum to get the issue across "in a funny sort of a way".

And although Gerry didn't say it, his 'hundreds' of rubber duckies, too, are equally buoyantly happy, no doubt. Sent out to the plinth to try and explain away all this odd creepiness was Mary Lou - looking simultaneously like she would dearly love to throttle her dear leader as well as trying to keep a straight face.

For a split second we thought she was going to speak her mind as she began: "It's idio . . ." but "idiosyncratic" was the description thoughtfully chosen by Mary Lou instead.

"His stuff is idiosyncratic, it's different. And it gives an insight into him as a person and his sense of humour. I don't actually see any harm in that," she said.

Asked if she thought these types of interviews made it difficult for people to take Mr Adams seriously, the Sinn Féin deputy leader replied: "Only if you think political leaders should be solely and exclusively talking hard politics and policy all of the time. If that's your view, fair enough."

The interview with Ryan Tubridy had been "conversational", she said, explaining: "Obviously, if he was dealing with issues around public services and health it would not be appropriate to reference teddies and rubber ducks," she said.

Asked if she ever gets tired "mopping up" Mr Adams's indiscretions, she turned a little snappy.

"No, no I don't," she said, before adding she wasn't acknowledging he has indiscretions. "If we were doing the business we're supposed to be doing in there [Leinster House], I would very much hope that we wouldn't be talking about rubber ducks and teddy bears."

Asked if it was not embarrassing for the party overseas, she said the country has "sent some pretty idiosyncratic characters overseas to represent us in the office of Taoiseach".

Across the spectrum, our elected representatives' half-touching, half-alarming suspension of disbelief continued into the afternoon, with Danny Healy Rae dismissing all talk of climate change.

'God above is in charge of the weather and we here can't do anything about it," he stated with a dazzling confidence that should prove a national comfort once flooding season rolls around again.

Alan Kelly, meanwhile, was marvelling how it had taken 70 days to write up the mythical document for the Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil deal, which had included "absolutely no global focus, no environmental focus" or anything about climate change.

"That's 10 days per page," said an incredulous Alan.

And all the while the negotiations continued in the foreground, with "real progress" allegedly under way. If the 32nd Dáil is truly in place by the end of the week like they say it will, we might all be persuaded to believe in fairies and talking teddies.

Irish Independent

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