John Downing: Barrett deserves a break from the hostilities of Dail battleground
CASUAL viewers of politics might know Sean Barrett as the stressed-looking man dressed in a formal robe, glimpsed occasionally on the television news, unsuccessfully calling for 'order' before then ordering some other politician out.
Mr Barrett has better grounds than many Leinster House inmates to look forward to this Dail 'Christmas ceasefire', which started last night. It has been a hard-fought few months in the national parliament and the veteran Dun Laoghaire Fine Gael TD, who has been the Ceann Comhairle or Dail chairman for the past 21 months, has been very much in the firing line.
Some of the opposition TDs appear to be enjoying their often successful efforts to rouse Mr Barrett's anger – some of the lucky ones have even earned the notoriety attached to being thrown out. The Ceann Comhairle's job is not as easy as many detractors have, on occasions, tried to bill it.