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The night of the long jibes – and a grim new dawn


6/2/13 Joe Higgins TD pictured at the Dail. Picture:Arthur Carron/Collins

6/2/13 Joe Higgins TD pictured at the Dail. Picture:Arthur Carron/Collins

6/2/13 Joe Higgins TD pictured at the Dail. Picture:Arthur Carron/Collins

PROM nights are stressful. There is the panic over what to wear, will the date show up on time and will the tie match the dress. Chocolates and flowers to flatter the mother. A firm handshake to impress the dad.

It takes planning and nerves to pull it off but no matter what, they usually end with high heels slung over the shoulder and white shirts wet from those last dribbles of wine. In other words: a messy affair.

So it was little surprise when Prom King Michael Noonan spread the word of a last minute all-nighter that panic struck.

There wasn't a child in Leinster House washed and there wasn't time to do anything.

Our politicians are used to nights of long knives, late bar sessions and even early morning call-outs to stare into potholes – but all night in the Dail can only mean one thing: We're looking into a black hole. Last time it happened in September 2008, when principal Biffo told us that the party was over.

We were banned from having fun and the superintendents from the Troika would be making sure we stayed in line.



This time around Noonan wanted to play the role of triumphant class head who had negotiated a new, better behaved, shindig. One fuelled by German fingerfood rather than favourite beers.

Of course the Dail bar did stay open late. Where else would the backbenchers convene to scratch their heads?

As the clock approached 2am, Shane Ross argued that the situation was "close to a fiasco".

Richard Boyd Barrett said it was a "chaotic and grotesque way to run a State".

By the time the conveniently named Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Act 2013 was passed in the Seanad at 5.55am today, Michael Noonan looked like a man who wanted his bed.

Can you blame him? It was 12.02am when he took to his feet in the Dail to explain what was going on. He spoke of how the end of Anglo would come "as quite a shock" but promised it was the right thing to do.

Opposition spokesmen – it was all men doing the talking – were not happy. A few civil servants had given them a 10-minute briefing and the late hour made them grouchy.

During his time in power, Bertie Ahern used to keep union representatives up all night in the hope that they'd cave under the weight of tiredness.

It seems our TDs are made of stronger stuff. As Sinn Fein's Pearse Doherty tried to get his point across he was jeered from the backbenches. "Ah go back to the bar," he shouted at them, before the bouncer otherwise known as the Ceann Comhairle warned the hecklers "you'll go out that door or that door, whichever you prefer".

All the while the Government jet was being cranked up to fetch poor Michael D Higgins back from Rome. It's okay, as one of the PIIGS, I'm sure the Italians understand.

Shortly before 7am he put pen to paper and a knife to Anglo – another historic moment in Irish story.

And so like most prom nights it all came to an end as the sun rose over Dublin.

Of course, it's not really the end. The hangover was continuing today in Frankfurt where the ECB boys were assessing the damage. And we'll be paying for the prom for quite a while.

But rightly or wrongly, most people will probably take some pleasure today in knowing that the bank that ruined a country is no more.

Sinead Ryan Page 14