Yet another Technical Hitch as 'Boomerang' Mick returns
It was clear from the beginning of Dail business yesterday that there had been yet another Technical Hitch. The group formerly known as Finian's Rainbow -- comprising as it does Lefties and I'm-Always--Righties -- were in disarray again, and not for the first time in the history of the world it was a blond who was causing all the trouble.
Finian McGrath wasn't sitting in his usual eyrie, but was slumped in his official seat a couple of rows down, his back firmly towards Mick 'Boomerang' Wallace -- they keep chucking him out, but he just keeps coming back.
It had all gone wrong just before lunch-time when Finian, the chairman of the Dail's Technical Group got quite a shock when their banished member Mick Wallace strolled uninvited into their weekly meeting in a conference room in Agriculture House.
Finian took the serious hump at the Wexfordman's unexpected appearance at the meeting -- particularly given that three weeks earlier, the black sheep of the Group had given Finian a commitment that he would not seek to return to the fold.
"I told him I was unhappy with him turning up, and that it wasn't personal. But I was appalled at his attitude and the lack of respect he had shown for his colleagues in the Group," explained Finian afterwards.
And the Dublin North-Central TD promptly resigned as chairman. Some of the eight or nine deputies at the meeting -- Clare Daly wasn't in the room -- tried to dissuade him from quitting. But he stuck to his guns.
But as they aren't a political party but simply a loose band of deputies who hang out together in order to be eligible for speaking rights in the Dáil, the Technical Group has no power to bar any TD from joining, or to sling any member out on his or her ear.
This fact was gloomily acknowledged by the Group's whip, Independent deputy Catherine Murphy as she crossed the Leinster House plinth after Leader's Questions.
"I'm very unhappy with the notion that someone who has evaded tax, there is no sanction. The reality is that the Technical Group has no control over that," she added. "If Genghis Khan arrived in here tomorrow on a by-election, we would have to admit him".
Judging by the cheesed-off expressions of Mick's reluctant colleagues, the Mongolian marauder would be made as welcome as the flowers in May. For in among the PbP (People before Profit) and the ULA (United Left Alliance) members, there's now a new gang in the group these day -- the ABM.
Anyone But Mick.