Monday 14 October 2019

Seven years to tweak the Áras 'X-Factor'...


Presidential candidates Peter Casey, Gavin Duffy, Joan Freeman, Seán Gallagher, President Michael D Higgins and Liadh Ní Riada appearing on RTÉ's Prime Time. Photo: Eamonn Farrell/
Presidential candidates Peter Casey, Gavin Duffy, Joan Freeman, Seán Gallagher, President Michael D Higgins and Liadh Ní Riada appearing on RTÉ's Prime Time. Photo: Eamonn Farrell/
Sinead Ryan

Sinead Ryan

Only one more sleep until the moratorium. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. In the absence of a nuclear explosion (metaphorical or by tweet) or the emergence of a remotely interesting challenger, it looks like Michael D will be returned to the Áras.

Will the whole thing, as I predicted, have simply been a monumental waste of time and money? Actually, no.

I found I've changed my mind and was quite happy to see this demonstration of democracy in action in the end.

If anything, it showed us how, next time round, the seven-year 'X-Factor' event would be enormously aided by requiring prospective candidates to undergo a short test on the Constitution, specifically Articles 12, 13 and 14 - those which enable and limit presidential powers.

Even a cursory reading indicates no ability to house the homeless, bring Netflix to the boonies or make entrepreneurs feel better about investing in Ireland. In fact, even "influencer in chief" doesn't get a nod, thankfully.

The very first clause (12.2.1) states the President "shall be elected by a direct vote of the people".

But the provision for the pre-election election ( - or the bit of 'X-Factor' that the producers do before acts get in front of Simon - should be reviewed, as local authorities did such a poor job of it this time around.

Anyway - it's nearly over. None of this will even be mentioned again until 2025.

Brits should consult us for our referendum expertise

If only we could say the same thing about Brexit. Theresa May might be right in bragging that 95pc of the deal is done. But, of course, the undone 5pc is the bit that enables the other 95pc.

So, with discussions at an impasse, the smart people in the room are muttering about moving the conversation elsewhere.

There's talk of a backstop to the backstop, for instance, or even an exit to the Brexit.

Of course, we're used to having referenda regularly (as often as we have a month in the year it can seem), so undoubtedly the Brits will acknowledge our expertise on this sort of thing and want advice on how to proceed.

The trick, I think, is to not let the electorate believe they got the wrong answer first time, but couch it in terms of Nigel Farage being a pillock (and David Cameron, if this helps) and that now they've unearthed the seven circles of hell that Brexit will entail, the great British public must ride to the rescue.

Shredded nerves? Help is at hand (in US)

Even as a small child, my daughter was an artist. Now working abroad in internet-something-graphic-thingy, when she was three she decided to draw a picture of Barney the Dinosaur as a gift - on the side of our car, with a stone. It was met with mixed acclaim.

So I pity Ben and Jackee Belnap from Utah. They cobbled together $1,060 in cash to buy football season tickets. Jackee had been enlisting the help of son Leo, aged two, to shred waste paper as he was having fun pressing the button while she fed in rubbish... yep - you're ahead of me.

Realising it would take "decades" to stick all the shreds back together again, she learned of the Mutilated Currency Division of the US Federal Reserve which offers, for free, to redeem "burned, waterlogged, rodent-chewed or deteriorated" money. It has 30,000 claims a year worth $30m in cash - a great service.

Unless, of course, you're the owner of the Banksy picture which suffered the same fate, but is worth even more now than the €1m she paid for it.

Irish Independent

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