Wednesday 22 November 2017

Lucinda is all sister act until she meets Greek bearing gifts

LUCINDA is a True Believer. She isn't one of these wishy-washy, namby-pamby Yes voters who will be putting their X in the Tá box next week with a heavy heart after concluding that it's the lesser of two evils and may free up a few quid if we need to dust off the begging bowl once more.

Not so with the Junior Minister for European Affairs. Lucinda Creighton embraces the fiscal compact treaty referendum with the same ardour that a young wan lavishes on the One Direction boys.

She was preaching her gospel to a roomful of the converted yesterday at yet another Women Say Yes event. This blessed campaign appears to have turned a swathe of the sisterhood into Molly Bloom -- yes I will yes I said yes. And so on.

This was a cross-party gathering, and a gang of TDs and senators had strolled in the sunshine from Leinster House over to the Mansion House for a photo-op, a few speeches and a cup of tay.

Ministers Joan Burton, Jan O'Sullivan and Frances Fitzgerald were there, along with deputies including Fine Gael's Mary Mitchell O'Connor who was resplendent in head-to-toe fuschia, Michelle Mulherin, Catherine Byrne, and Labour's Ciara Conway, and a few former ministers such as Gemma Hussey and Nora Owen.

Labour Senator Susan O'Keeffe (wo)manned the microphone, and invited Joan Burton to say a few words.

The Social Protection Minister warned the roomful of women from politics, from business and from NGOs that there was to be no slacking off just because summer had finally arrived. "It looks like we're going to have fine weather for the next week -- I want to ask all of you not to let up, but get out and campaign," she urged them.

"Europe has always been extremely positive for Irish women -- it's opened up for Irish women opportunities for equality and participation," she said.

Lucinda spoke after Joan, and was she brimming with l'esprit de corps.

"The great thing about this campaign is the laying-down of the weapons of war that we use in the Dail and the Seanad on a daily basis in order to put the country first," she declared. "We know that women are the most thoughtful voters in the State, we take time to make up our minds," she added, as the tiny handful of men in the hall probably silently mouthed how we like to change our minds, too.

But Lucinda has no niggles of doubt about whether this treaty could be a poverty-making pig in a poke. "For me it's a no-brainer. I'm actually very enthusiastic about this treaty and we need to be fired up so we can convey our enthusiasm," she told the audience.

But not all women are so gung-ho. Shortly afterwards, Greek-Irish businesswoman Patricia Tsouros who has been campaigning for a No vote alongside Libertas founder Declan Ganley, fetched up outside the Department of Finance.

Patricia had a present for Michael 'Feta Compli' Noonan -- an airline ticket to Athens so he can go and look at the state o'chassis for himself. She had also brought posters depicting the minister with two fingers hoisted aloft and a strap-line that read: 'Are you thinking what we're thinking?'

Patricia, whose father is a Greek diplomat, has lived in Ireland for years. "My message to Michael Noonan is that he needs to consider what's happening in Europe and take this seriously because his jovial remark about Greece is not a laughing matter," she explained.

So she had brought him a plane ticket. "I give it to him with lots of love," she smiled as she obligingly held up the ticket for the photographers.

And suddenly Lucinda materialised -- she had nipped out to buy a sandwich for her lunch and ended up shaking hands bemusedly with a departing Patricia.

So what did Lucinda think of this No stunt? "Not a lot. Gimmicks and stunts don't impress people, but facts do," she sniffed.

Hmm. It's clear that the weapons of war can be snatched up again pronto any time a No head pops out of the trenches.

Irish Independent

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