Wednesday 22 May 2019

Nancy who? Bono gets stuck in a moment that makes letter to Kylie seem restrained

Flying visit: US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with President Michael D Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin, Dublin, as part of her four-day visit. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Flying visit: US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with President Michael D Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin, Dublin, as part of her four-day visit. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

It turns out Kylie was the lucky one. The Aussie pop star only had to deal with a letter from Leo, whereas our home-grown rock star Bono got cornered into a moment he couldn't get out of.

Squashed into the Dáil's distinguished visitors' gallery at the top of the room along with his wife Ali Hewson, the multi-multi millionaire literally stole the show.

It was supposed to be Nancy's day. Pelosi must already have been on a high, as moments before her historic speech, it was revealed she had made 'Time' magazine's list of the 100 most influential people.

The third most powerful politician in the United States absolutely got a proper welcome. Leinster House was festooned with flowers and the canteen staff prepared a special chocolate dessert.

There was even some unparliamentary cheering in the chamber - but the Speaker of the US House of Representatives' invited guest was the one they all wanted to talk to.

On his way into the Dáil chamber, Bono scribbled his signature in the visitors' book, adding the comment: "Madam Speaker, Wow!"

By the time he left, it was a case of "Nancy who?".

Wily Fianna Fáil senator Terry Leyden was the first to spot the star's arrival. He landed straight over with a business card. The subsequent selfie breeched Dáil protocol that bans photographs inside the chamber.

The Attorney General, Séamus Woulfe, was unwittingly caught sitting in the background looked unimpressed - but all the rules were about to go out the window.

Once Terry finished giving his confession, we saw a rare sight. Up popped former Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who now only appears on the Dáil equivalents of holy days.

After a good chin-wag, Enda went to look for a seat, leaving space for another ghost of the past to step in.

Mysteriously, Gerry Adams, who now sports a mullet, handed Bono a large envelope.

Eventually, when the time came for Pelosi's grand entrance, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar slipped down the stairs without so much as a glance towards the rocker.

Pelosi pressed all the important buttons. She described the Good Friday Agreement as a "treasure" and a "beacon to the world". "We must ensure that nothing happens in the Brexit discussions that imperils the Good Friday Accord, including but not limited to, the seamless Border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland," she said.

Significantly, she backed Ireland's bid to win a seat on the UN Security Council and she urged politicians to be leaders on climate change.

Whether by accident or design, Senator Rónán Mullen walked out as she praised the "modern Ireland" that had "blossomed" into a country which backed marriage equality and repealed the Eighth.

Such was his haste, Mullen walked into a wall before finding the door.

Nancy got on to extolling the virtues of our Irish culture.

She asked whether anybody had read Seamus Heaney's translation of 'Beowulf'. Leo scrunched his face like a kid trying to think of an excuse for not finishing his homework.

His blushes were saved as Pelosi gave in to the majority and herself started to fangirl Bono. After all, he "stirs the spirits of the world".

Everybody clapped, except a cohort of Sinn Féin TDs who clearly didn't get the memo from Gerry.

Eventually, Pelosi finished up and was escorted from the chamber so they could go risking vertigo on the stairs leading to the local celeb.

Near the top of the disorderly queue was Fianna Fáil senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee, one of those who claimed to be "scarlet" for Varadkar over his letter to Kylie. Junior minister Finian McGrath jostled in for a handshake. Across the chamber, the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Seán Fleming was being taunted by colleagues. "Go on, bring him into the PAC now to talk about his taxes," half-joked Timmy Dooley.

Meanwhile, a once bitten, twice shy Taoiseach gave it all a wide berth and made for the furthest possible exit, almost banging his head off the door as he craned his neck back in amusement.

Irish Independent

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