Lise Hand: Politics showing more splits than the Bolshoi Ballet
Eamon Ryan and Enda Kenny reckoned they both had important subjects to address when they turned up at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties yesterday to give their tuppence-worth on their respective Visions on How To Fix Banjaxed Ireland (or some such title). They'd probably put a bit of work into their speeches (Enda in particular as it was all about finances and stuff).
But no such luck. For the inability of certain members of their respective parties to keep their traps shut, ensured that their plans were up in a heap.
Enda's happy plan to put yet another boot into the Government over the dreadful farrago that is Anglo during his speech last night were spectacularly blown out of the water by Loose-Lips Lucy, who hurled a handful of ninja stars at her unsuspecting leader when she turned up at MacGill on Tuesday with fighting talk of "cute-hoor politics" and "Fianna Fail Lite".
And so the Donegal hills were alive with the burning question of 'How To Solve A Problem Like Lucinda' by the time Enda turned up yesterday evening. And once again there was a glimpse of his now-fabled Man of Steel persona.
"These are internal matters for the Fine Gael party, I'm disappointed that they were raised at a public forum and from that point of view I would've preferred if they'd been brought to my attention either through the parliamentary party or directly," he stated in a steely way.
God love him. He's been throwing digs for years at Brian Cowen and Fianna Fail over their chumminess with property developers, and then along comes one of his own and knifes him in the back (and the front and the side, for that matter), accusing him and the party of the very same shenanigans. Enda had his cross face on.
"Let me be very clear on this. The Fine Gael party have no truck with rogue builders, with hooky characters, shady characters. We have no dealing with brown envelopes, influence-buying or dig-outs. The Fine Gael party is absolutely above board in all its financial dealings," he said.
And then he returned to the sore subject of the Dublin South East deputy who has a habit of nibbling at her leader's bum.
"I'm disappointed, it's a disservice to our own supporters all over the country that something like this would happen," he insisted.
And Lucinda would need to be careful, as hanging over her traditionally volatile constituency is the constant threat of the return of Michael McDowell. Though Enda was a bit vague on the subject of his return, too, perhaps relishing the thought of Mighty Mac lurking in the long grass for Lucinda.
"There are some interesting characters in this constituency obviously, if Michael McDowell decides to apply for membership of Fine Gael I can't prevent that. I'm sure there'll be a lively discussion at the constituency if an application comes in," he shrugged.
Likewise Eamon Ryan wanted to talk about his financial speech and also the return of Colm McCarthy and a board to look at the sale of state assets (surely to be dubbed An Bord Strip).
But the Greens' parade was rained on by comments from the ever-colourful Paul Gogarty, who issued threats that the party would "walk" if legislation on corporate donations wasn't put through in the next term.
"I didn't hear Paul's comments so I don't know specifically what he said, but in general, yeah, we want to see change in politics," hedged Eamon.
But he was anxious to put some distance between himself and Paul's war-cries. Were Go-Go's threats just another example of the Green Party crying wolf?
"Michael McDowell was here yesterday and Michael was the past-master of that thing," said Eamon. "I think actually we learned a lesson from that -- you don't just go out every day and say you're walking over this that and the other," he explained a little wearily.
Golly. On this evidence, Irish politics is more full of splits than the Bolshoi Ballet. The summer break hasn't come a moment too soon for Eamon and Enda -- and Brian.