Michael O'Doherty: Week that summed us up. Coke, bank bonuses and yes, dodgy politics

Michael O'Doherty

THE, em, rotund figure of Jackie Healy-Rae arrived in Leinster House for the vote on the EU bailout package.

Jackie's looking for a bypass for Tralee (bring it on asap), and a hospital for Kenmare (yes, I can see why, Jackie!).

Jackie loves playing the buffoon and he's one man who can take criticism in his stride.

But it's his success as a local politician which puts his national record in the spollight.


We all talk about low standards in life, people who are looking after no one but themselves and cause a ripple effect of misery in so doing.

Last week, banker John Foy was public enemy number one, courtesy of his legal action against AIB over an unpaid bonus of €161,000, which has seemingly opened the floodgates for colleagues to extract more money from our penniless banks. This week, it's cocaine.

A couple of weeks ago, I was queueing outside a bathroom in a Dublin night club for an inordinately long time. Finally, the door opened and two well-known, 30-something Irish women shuffled out, with the bug-eyed, half-embarrassed, half-cocky look which only said one thing. Cocaine.


Some months previously, I'd been likewise pacing outside the disabled toilet of a different club. This time, it wasn't two women but three men who strolled out, all of them well-known in Dublin society, and all in their 50s. The picture they painted wasn't pretty.

I have, more than once, asked people why they take coke, and the most common justification is that it's simply a personal vice, with no wider implications.

There's a belief "they're harming no-one but themselves". Which, of course, is blindingly untrue. Celebrities and wealthy socialities never associate the drug with its seedy source, because they often get their drugs from equally glamorous friends.

And so we get on our hobby horses... Shouldn't Foy give up his entitlement, or give it to charity? Shouldn't socialites stop taking cocaine, because it puts money in the pockets of drug dealers, and causes untold hardship to communities throughout Ireland?

But what will the people who rage about taking personal responsibility, about how the country is overrun with drug dealers, and been run into the ground by political ineptitude, do come election time?


They'll vote for Jackie Healy-Rae, or tax dodger Michael Lowry.

Or the bumblingly inept ministers Pat Carey and John Moloney, because he used to teach them History in secondary school, or pull them a nice pint.

Not because they have an ounce of ability to deal with the big issues. But because they'll get a new bypass built around their town, or get a proposed halting site moved.

There is no such thing as limited, personal sin. Try to remember this at the next General Election.

At last, Joe makes a song and dance about cocaine

Joe Duffy finally got around to talking about cocaine yesterday, but it wasn't in relation to Gerry Ryan.

Instead, he was dealing with The Rubberbandits' hit single, Horse Outside, with listeners being treated to the surreal scene of Willie O'Dea TD defending the band's jokey take on popular perceptions of Limerick, with outraged callers complaining about the video's foul language and use of stereotypes.

The main complaint was that the image it portrayed of Limerick was 'unhelpful', the word always used by people to describe something that is deeply embarrassing but true. When it was revealed that some of the band's more offensive lyrics were censored for radio, Joe was compelled to read one of the fruitier passages, in which the lead singer described his horse: "He looks like Billie Piper, after half an ounce of coke."

According to listeners, it trivialised the serious problems of drug abuse in the city. And maybe it did, but do you know what? It at least got Joe talking about the subject.

And don't worry, Joe -- after all, whatever harm the Rubberbandits' single has done, they were harming no one but themselves...

Apprentice Steve to wed in Bill's hotel

STEVE Rayner, winner of last year's Apprentice, is getting married this weekend, and will be celebrating with his old pals from the show, including Bill Cullen and Jackie Lavin.

And the venue for his festivities -- the Muckross Park Hotel in Kerry, is owned by...

Bill and Jackie.

I wonder is this is a way of clawing back some of the €100,000 salary they've paid him in the past year?

Surely not...