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Sunday 25 February 2018

Peace breaks out -- then Joan kicks off

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

OF CONFLICT, constituency and the 'Financial Times' ... the epic story of Brian and Joan. Him, with his movie-star, jet-black hair and slick-barrister demeanour -- her with the husky and passionate voice.

Two politicians sharing the same Dublin West constituency -- with Brian running the Department of Finance and Joan, as Labour's finance spokesperson, opposing his every move.

It looked as if peace had broken out in the long-running battle yesterday, as the pair fluttered pink paper at each other across a finance-committee room in Leinster House.

But no -- it was the 'Financial Times', which had unkind things to say about the Government's banking policy, being waved about.

But Brian insisted that the country would be okay, "provided that we stay the course". After that, it all kicked off.

The bank guarantee, said Joan, was a mistake of "historic proportions". Anglo Irish Bank was a "swamp" and a "pit".

At one stage, she implored Brian to "cut the shh ... " People expected her to add an 'I' and a 'T', but Joan has more manners than that and told Brian simply to "cut the shilly-shallying".

"Chaos," tutted Fianna Fail's Chris Andrews, as the government members of the committee tried to get a question in. "We're allowed to ask a question on this as well," he said. But it didn't stop Joan, who was back haranguing Brian about figures she said she hadn't been given but FF said she had.

"These figures are in the public domain," protested FF's Thomas Byrne. "She was briefed on all of this a few weeks ago by Anglo. This is outrageous."

Meanwhile, the poor Finance Minister described the onslaught as a "diatribe".

Tough luck, minister. The Dail starts back next week -- and Joan is going nowhere.

Irish Independent

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