Lise Hand: Taking the minister to task in the most polite way possible
It was the noisiest outbreak of mass adulation since One Direction hit town. There was a cornucopia of cheers, oodles of ovations and an avalanche of applause. The audience were up and down out of their seats so often for a string of standing acclamation, that surely someone did their back in.
But the approval wasn't for the Education Minister, no sirree. All Jan O'Sullivan could do was sit on the podium and wonder what it must be like for a politician to be on the receiving end of such rapture from his or her troops of faithful comrades.
One would have to trek back in time to witness such scenes, back to the shiny-suited heyday of Fianna Fáil ard fheiseanna when the party thought they ruled the country, rather than simply ran it on behalf of the electorate.