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Colette Fitzpatrick: What was that you said about the poor, Joan?

In this week's winners and losers competition, please welcome Darren Clarke and Joan Burton to the stage.

Who was it that said that all election promises should be declared null and void after an election? A Labour party politician? Poor Joan.

She got elected as a left wing, people's politician, railing against a Government which, she said, was making the poorest of the poor pay for the sins of the richest of the rich. Then, when she got into bed with Fine Gael, tucked up under the blankets of the recession, Ajai Chopra peeked out from under the duvet.

And Ajai and his IMF crew don't give a fiddlers about what Joan promised she'd do and who she said she'd protect. Bailouts don't come wrapped up in a social conscience. They come with a clause that says cut, cut, cut or you don't get the cash. Now Joan has to work out who is the least vulnerable of the most vulnerable in our society, to get Ajai to back off and give herself and Fine Gael a bit of space. There's an old Irish saying "Is minic a bhris beal duine a shron." It means often your mouth gets your nose broken. In other words watch what you say, it can hurt you.

Catholic Enda's attack on the Vatican was by far the most Christian thing he could do

He gets it. Enda gets it. Finally a Taoiseach who gets it.

And in the end, it wasn't that difficult or complicated at all. The words "historical" and "unprecedented" are thrown around by journalists and politicians at the drop of a carefully rehearsed soundbite. But Enda's speech on Wednesday will have its place in history as perhaps the most important ever delivered by a Taoiseach.

One of the consistent themes from victims and survivors of sexual abuse is that politicians, the Church, their friends and families don't really understand, don't really listen, don't really want to know, don't really want to face up to what happened.

For years they have been begging for this country to bear witness, to accept what happened to them, to understand, to get it.


And this week, through the words he used, the Taoiseach made sure those victims know he and the State finally, finally did get it. Enda used stark, blunt language and conjured up images we don't want to see, that we don't want to imagine.

"The rape and torture of children." There's something a little more palatable about the words "sexual abuse".

They're not quite as graphic, stomach churning and repulsive as saying the "rape and torture of children". But that's what happened. Little boys and girls were raped and terrorised and had their lives ruined by men in collars and cassocks. And that's what's been lacking in all the discussions of this by politicians and the media. That sort of hardcore reality of what was done. Children were raped. They were physically and mentally tortured and destroyed and made pregnant.

Many of them weren't around to hear the speech yesterday. The shame and the reality of the rapes, too much to bear in this life. Suicide was the only option they could see.

Why did Enda decide to go in so hard against the Vatican?

He wasn't just born a Catholic. He practises his faith. And he must be well aware that despite revulsion that the vast majority of people feel on this issue, there are still a few hardcore, fundamentalist Catholics who don't want to believe what happened, who feel sorry for people such as Bishop Magee.

I suppose Enda realised that they were in the minority, that decent people were desperate for this to happen.

When examining his own conscience and faith, he would have realised that making that speech this week was by far the most Christian thing he could do.

The Beckhams are not role models, the Obamas are...

Population experts say the Beckhams are bad role models for having four children, as the world's population has more than trebled in a couple of generations.

Who in their right mind would think the Beckhams are role models?

A wife and mother who's too skinny and a hubby with a less than squeaky clean report card when it comes to cheating?

Come on. It's the Obamas we all want to be.