Cowboy-shaped bombshell has Dail singing the reshuffle blues
Throughout her long slog upwards through the ranks of the Labour Party, it's safe to surmise that never in her most fevered reveries did Joan Burton imagine that her first crisis as deputy head of Government would involve a somewhat podgy American in a tall hat.
A smiling brand-new Tanaiste had slipped into her seat next to the Taoiseach for the afternoon's Order of Business – the new companeros were taking a mini-break from their prolonged haggling over the divvy-up of jobs for the coalition boys and girls.
Earlier, Leaders' Questions had plodded along like a weary dray-horse heading for home, followed by an equally soporific session of questions to the Taoiseach. Everyone on the government side seemed a bit distracted, especially the line of ministers arrayed along the front bench: Leo (cheerful), Simon (thoughtful), Pat (doleful), Richard (soulful) and Jimmy Deenihan (fretful).