Hopelessly bogged down on travel and unable to move anywhere off the topic, a trapped Government was poked with sticks by the Opposition today.
Self-isolated on his sticky wicket, Micheál Martin had to stand there and take it, as Mary Lou accused him of being cack-handed and his Government, in delicious irony, of operating “on a wing and a prayer”.
Then she switched her transport of oratory and said ordinary people, who had booked holidays but will lose all their money if they heed the Government’s advice not to travel, had been “thrown under the bus”.
She might have been enjoying herself too much when she raised the prospect of a list of lists, asking why there wasn’t a ‘red list’ of bold zones and territories, before thankfully switching into the thorny question of travel into Ireland, allowing the conjured kaleidoscope of countries and colours to fade from view.
The Taoiseach may have become beached on the issue, not least by his Tánaiste, but he had an irritated flick of his towel at herself for Sinn Fein’s sanctioning of 59 countries safe for travel from Northern Ireland.
Then he bigged up what he claimed was a major piece of travel.
The locator form for incoming passengers is now located online. So there.
His confidence suggested that gardaí will no longer have to chase fluttering bits of paper but will now be able to use computers to see where exactly Mr Donald Duck is proposing to quarantine, and will further be able to visit and check up on him at the Mickey Mouse Motel in Toytown any time they choose over the following 14 days.
Michael McNamara, the Clare Independent, would later clank up in Bunratty armour to ask about devastated Shannon heritage, but also to point out that there were no laws forcing any of our foreign visitors to stay put and quarantine.
The Taoiseach tried to fling sand in his eyes — complex legal issues...sought advice from WHO... some quarantine complexes actually becoming hothouses of Covid in other countries, defeating the whole purpose.
Mr McNamara, almost unwillingly, found he had to stick a pudgy finger in the Taoiseach’s ice cream of optimism.
There was growing hostility to visitors who were not actually flouting any laws in Ireland of the Welcomes, he said, while planes were taking off from Dublin and his own dear Shannon to places not on the green list — meaning Irish people booked outward, but following State advice, had no recourse to refunds.
By now Micheál was enduring the equivalent of a soggy fortnight in a ramshackle seaside chalet or mobile home — a fate that has actually befallen another Fianna Fáil Taoiseach in a time of crisis.
But the only thing to do is to shiver and bear it, as all who have survived an Irish childhood will know.
The entire chamber, of course, has crossed the Liffey, in what many TDs now consider non-essential travel.
Intended to offer every TD a vote on the election of Taoiseach, the move to the Convention Centre has outlived its purpose.
It is a gigantically hollow exercise in all senses — like an empty show-piece theatre on a cruise ship hit by the coronavirus.
And outside the cold waves of an unheeding Liffey roll ceaselessly by.