Monday 14 October 2019

Democracy has been served - it's a different story for the country

Gavin Duffy, Senator Joan Freeman, Peter Casey, Liadh Ní Riada MEP and Sean Gallagher pictured alongside Matt Cooper and Ivan Yates on The Tonight Show: Presidential Election Special. Picture: Brian McEvoy
Gavin Duffy, Senator Joan Freeman, Peter Casey, Liadh Ní Riada MEP and Sean Gallagher pictured alongside Matt Cooper and Ivan Yates on The Tonight Show: Presidential Election Special. Picture: Brian McEvoy
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

How many personalities can you fit in one small TV studio?

Far too many, as it turns out.

With Matt Cooper and Ivan Yates at the helm at this final presidential debate on Virgin Media Television, it was always going to be a struggle to get a word in edgeways.

And so it turned out.

We could picture Michael D Higgins chuckling until tears streamed down his face, as he watched it all unfold from wherever he happened to be.

Within the first five minutes, it had descended into one hot mess, compo sed of bizarre one liners, unsatisfactory nit-picking and high farce.

Mercifully for us all, it ended 45 minutes after it started, leaving us feeling more like we had checked into a hotel looking for a conference but had stumbled right into the centre of a party in which everybody was taking dubious substances.

A bit of a joke? It was undoubtedly that. But it was also an exhausting shambles with everybody tripping over everybody else's sentences.

As the debate began, Ivan stormed straight in, blasting all the candidates, saying there was a very real risk none of them would get their expenses back.

"It's been bland, it's been boring," he said, dismissing the lot of them.

They turned next to Casey.

"It's been a waste of our time," accused Cooper.

Casey gave an incredulous laugh.

"You don't think your dog-whistle politics has dragged this campaign into the gutter?" asked Yates.

"Absolutely not," huffed Casey.

Ní Riada was asked about her expenses, which were allegedly unvouched. "They were vouched, they had to be," she insisted.

Peter Casey huffed and puffed as it emerged that he did not have a breeze what the jobseeker's allowance was.

Casey talked later about the 'eight million dollars' in the strategic investment fund.

He would give "free fees to students from this eight million dollars", he said.

Yates had misheard. "How would you pick the three students?" he wondered.

"Free, not three," Casey corrected him.

Gavin admitted that having three of them from the same TV programme was "bizarre".

"All ego maniacs," Yates dismissed.

Ní Riada had had enough of all this rampant testosterone.

This was becoming "a bit of a boys' club", she warned.

We weren't quite sure of how the conversation had segued, but all of a sudden Seán Gallagher was declaring that he liked Peter.

Anybody wish they had done their campaign differently, Cooper wondered at a later point.

"I would have got a big, big bus," mused Casey.

But they all gave themselves a big pat on the back for stepping up and running.

"We're all very brave," said Freeman.

"In the interests of democracy," agreed Gallagher.

We could only whimper.

Irish Independent

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