Large attendance figures can be expected on the last day ‘at the office’ before they all float free
And so we have lift-off.
The surly bonds of a mutinous atmosphere were dramatically broken… and a teeming, wriggling world left receding in rear view.
On the day Nasa launched a mission to Mars, another multi-million-euro venture – involving, as many believe, life on another planet – was green for go.
Rocketing away. Burning fuel to get probably 57million miles away from the place.
The day had arrived to finally drop work and head straight for rest and play.
Our expensive Oireachtas rovers are now projected to make parachute descents into far-flung constituencies, including remote zones of sterile emptiness that few of us can possibly imagine.
The House is going into recess.
Lifted off are the burdens on the backs of our poor TDs.
The punishing G-forces are easing off… and so is the Opposition.
The Cape Canaveral of the Convention Centre – that great outer space from the Dáil, where suited-and-booted Deputies have had to be almost swung by crane into their towering, isolated seats – will shut.
It may even be deep-cleaned, after its month-long showering with radioactive star material.
There’ll be no Perseverance here. That’s something to do with Nasa… although the self-same Neasa was not persevering in voting with her own recently-formed Government.
Elected a Green TD for Dublin Central, Neasa Hourigan resigned the whip and voted in favour of a Labour Party amendment on a housing Bill.
The ordinary inhabitants of Earth won’t pay the slightest notice, but political scientists were beside themselves with interest, trying to see if it had caused any wobble in the constellation o’ Ryan.
We suspect that Neasa and some of the other newbies would be happy to keep going with their astral adventures. But no, the boffins have prevailed, and they will be fixed in the courses.
The order is out to everyone: Do nothing for six weeks, keep the head down, and hope for safe re-entry in mid-September. Sure it’s a whole world away.
Closure means, of course, the occlusion of the recently-discovered heavenly body that is the Fine Gael party chairman, Richard Bruton.
Who is not to be confused with actor Richard Burton, a burnt-out star long since collapsed on itself.
But we’ll also miss such streaking comets of the Dáil firmament as Danny Healy-Rae.
The Kerry booster must fall back to earth like the rest of them, no longer “up above in Dublin” and orbiting the Ceann Comhairle.
But he blazed as fiercely as ever on his final outing, while thundering about the closure of BorgWarner in Tralee.
“This bombshell occurred a couple of days ago and took the workers and the town of Tralee by surprise,” he said. The loss of livelihoods is always a horrible blow.
But Danny went further. “It was akin to the bombing of Pearl Harbour.”
Nobody is allowed to smile when Danny is talking, especially on an unhappy topic like job losses, but it is probably technically true that nobody actually died in the bombshell at BorgWarner.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar kept his eyes from looking up at the heavens, for once. He robotically replied, crunching over the dusty terrain: “I thank the Deputy for raising the issue of job losses in Kerry,” but mentioning that it had happened across the economy due to the pandemic, before lauding Government moves to sustain jobs and stimulate the economy.
The politicians strapped in and accelerated to the very edge of midnight, sitting all the hours on their last day so they could not be accused of a lack of application. It was truly a time-space continuum.
Until they broke through into Friday… and were suddenly floating free.