Tuesday 20 February 2018

My week - Alan Kelly*

*As imagined by Eilis O'Hanlon

Alan Kelly
Alan Kelly

Eilis O’Hanlon

Eilis O'Hanlon imagines what it's like to be the minister

Infamy, infamy, they've all got it in for me. The phone hasn't stopped ringing with people asking if it was me who leaked that internal analysis showing the Labour Party is set to lose 20 seats at the next election. Only 20? We should be so lucky.

I keep telling them- if I wanted to stab my colleagues in the back, I'd do it the traditional Labour way by waiting till I was out of office and then publishing a book, like Eamon Gilmore did.

My fellow TDs and Senators are even demanding an independent inquiry into the whole thing. Apparently they've narrowed the field down to around 40 suspects, which is the total number of members of the parliamentary party. Where's Miss Marple when she's needed?


Still the only thing anyone wants to talk about is that bloody memo. It's like they don't even care about the Marine Strategy Framework Directive Public Consultation document I published at the weekend.

I call up my brother Declan, who once worked as an adviser for Hillary Clinton. "I had a feeling you'd be in touch," he says to me. "You probably want the benefit of my advice, based on a long experience of high level politics, am I right?"

"No," I tell him, "I was just wondering if Hillary would give me a job too. Hello? Declan? Where'd he go?"

Must've been a faulty line.


At last my chance comes to set the record straight at the weekly parliamentary party meeting. I slip quietly into the room in the hope of avoiding more jokes about the minister in charge of Irish Water being responsible for so many leaks.

I've been getting the same gags all week. Ha very ha. This must be how Alan Sugar feels when everyone shouts at him: "You're fired!"

I get to my feet and tell my colleagues that all this in fighting is just helping Fine Gael and that we should really be concentrating on promoting our own policies.

"Have we got any?" pipes up a wag at the back.

I tell him I like a joke as much as the next Tipperary man, but this isn't the time for levity. He says he wasn't joking; he genuinely wants to know.

We've now set up a sub-committee to see if we can track any down.

"Will you be leaking the results of that too?" someone mutters. (I'll have the last laugh. I know where he lives).

At this stage, I realise that a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, and promptly start welling up. Well, it worked for Bertie.

Unfortunately this leads to more jokes about dodgy waterworks. Worse still, a team from Irish Water immediately appears to hook me up to a water meter. I've now been slapped with a bill for €500. Expenses'll cover that, right?


I can't believe the newspapers are laughing at me for showing my sensitive side last night. If you prick me, do I not bleed?

Speaking of pricks, I must track down some of my so-called colleagues to warn them to stop briefing against me. They seem to forget that I'm the man who once told Mattie McGrath to "f*** off" in the Dail - and I didn't even use asterisks.

Oh yeah, they don't call me AK47 for nothing.

As for the media, I pull no punches: what happens at Labour party meetings, stays at Labour party meetings. Mainly because no one else gives a damn. Ba dum tish.

I then spend the day fielding calls from journalists who still think I was the one behind the leak, wanting to know if I have any other juicy titbits for Sunday's headlines.

Our dear leader Joan has denied this memo even exists, so how can you leak something that doesn't exist? I try fobbing them off by admitting that there are tensions in the Government over wind turbines.

Weirdly, it doesn't seem to work.

Later I attend an event on climate change, trying not to be cross that I wasn't invited over to Paris for that conference with the Taoiseach. I could've done with a break.


Phew. Tyson Fury has just made a video saying a woman's place is "in the kitchen". That should take the heat off me for a day or two.

Meanwhile, a group of Irish businesses announce that more needs to be done about global warming, giving me the chance to come over all statesmanlike. I talk about "priorities", hoping everyone belatedly takes the hint.

Taking a well-earned breather, I sit down and turn on the news, only to hear that another storm is on its way. Great. More effing water. I'm just glad I wasn't on board the Titanic or I'd probably have got the blame for that leak too.

Sunday Independent

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