Monday 20 November 2017

TDs in charity 'Late Late' date -- but it's more Aaargh factor than 'X Factor'

There were about 200 chilly young ones lined up outside RTE's TV centre last night to greet the hottest singing sensation in town.

"Who are they all waiting for?" asked Fine Gael's Frank Feighan, a member of the Dail's new political pop pickers as he arrived to join his 15 colleagues who were due to make their debut on 'The Late Late Show'. "One Direction," explained Independent TD Finian McGrath.

"From One Direction to No Direction," muttered a passing wag.

"Where's the Green Room?" groaned a visibly nervous Frank. In fact, all the politicians were rattling were nerves, even the leather-lunged junior Minister Michael Ring who is probably the only one of them who could manage without a microphone.

The group had been put together by Fine Gael's Dublin Mid-West TD, Derek Keating and David Kearney of Noel Recruitment as a fundraiser for suicide intervention centre, Pieta House, and he rounded up two choirs - the Dublin Choir and the Lucan Choir, plus 17 deputies and senators to record a cover of 'Bridge Over Troubled Water', including Ministers Joan Burton, Lucinda Creighton and Simon Coveney, deputies Micheal Kitt, Mick Wallace, Regina Doherty, Stephen Wallace, Robert Troy, Padraig MacLoughlainn and former Artane Band drummer, Terence Flanagan, and senators Lorraine Higgins and Averil Power.

They recorded the song and filmed a video in four hours last weekend, but that was a doddle compared to having to sing live on the 'Late Late'.

A couple of hours before the show, they all assembled in the green room for their first run-through.

Their musical director, RTE's Jim Sheridan, didn't help soothe jangled nerves. "Now, you're singing live in front of about 650,000 or 700,000 people - it's a one-shot thing.

"We've a lovely video, but if you mess this up, this is the video everyone will be watching," he told them.

And suddenly the spectre of Boyzone's famous 'Late Late' debut flew over the room.

But it turns out that while some of our politicians won't be bothering Louis Walsh anytime soon, a couple of our public representatives have decent voices, particularly Derek Keating who has a bit of form with a folk group. And goodness, when Fine Gael's Peter Mathews rumbled "When darkness comes," he made Barry White sound like Kylie. Who knew?

Peter also has form -- he's been singing in a choir for a couple of years. He's not really hip to the pop thing.

"I was on the phone to my wife and told her there were loads of kids outside when I arrived, so I turned to ask some lads beside me who were One Direction. It turned out that they were One Direction," he confessed.

Unlike Fianna Fail's Robert Troy who was lurking in the vicinity of One Direction with a camera. "One of them is from Mullingar," explained the Longford-Westmeath TD.

It's all in a very, very good cause anyway. Derek Keating who's a director of Pieta House, explained: "It's our aim to have an intervention centre within 100km of every Irish citizen. And the thing was, that while we're singing this song, there are people out there who are or will at some stage contemplate suicide."

In the end it was more Aaargh-Factor than 'X-Factor', but fair play to them for singing live on the 'Late Late'. "We don't mind if we get slagged, it's worth it," said Finian bravely as he headed into the big scary studio.

'Bridge Over Troubled Water' is available to downloads on iTunes for€1.29. All proceeds go to Pieta House.

Irish Independent

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