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Kevin Doyle: No sympathy for Minister for Snow whingeing inside cosy Dail while the rest of us freeze

THE Minister for Snow is in a strait jacket.

It's not a joke. As the capital ground to a slippery halt yesterday, John Gormley was pontificating about life inside the warm Leinster House asylum.

He told a worried public at its wits' end with IMF bailouts and acts of God that he had been "placed in a strait jacket" and was suffering from sleepless nights.

Well wake up and smell the coffee, minister.

Ordinary workers have just watched as they were signed up to an €85bn bailout, are only days away from the harshest Budget in Irish history, and to top it all off, we are getting the second once-in-a-lifetime Big Freeze in 10 months.


Of course, when the snow stalled everything last February the Environment Minister was keen to stress: "I'm not the boss."

Now he's at it again. Yesterday he told Eamon Gilmore about the dangers of entering Government.

Having already sold out our sovereignty, he has now downgraded our national parliament to "an asylum".

"You will have to endure the sleepless nights, you will have to endure the no-win situation; you will have to endure the non-stop criticism," he said.

Remember that Mr Gormley, a man notoriously keen on an early bed, was the minister who was asleep in bed on the famous September night in 2008 that the bank guarantee was rushed through.

He couldn't be reached by phone and eventually a desperate Brian Cowen ordered a garda to bang on the door of his Ringsend home.

So when John Gormley whinges about the lack of sleep, he is unlikely to get much sympathy from the people struggling to keep a roof over their head.

The latest weather crisis is a distraction for everybody from the bailout talk that has dominated the headlines in recent weeks, but the two incidents do have a common trend -- the inept response of our political leaders.

Admittedly the reaction time has been much better this time around and at least he actually knows where Transport Minister Noel Dempsey is.

But his bizarre performance in the Dail beggars belief.

With temperatures of minus-10 on the way tonight the last thing people need to hear is the Environment Minister looking for personal sympathy.

"You will have to endure the non-stop criticism," noted the minister.

But that's not necessarily true Mr Gormley. You endure the "non-stop criticism" because tens of thousands of people feel let down and cheated by you and your party.


Your colleague in Government Barry Andrews preached about humility earlier this week but perhaps that modesty needs to begin inside the confines of Leinster House.

Remember that those lucky enough to have a job to go to today probably trudged their way through dangerous, sometimes ungritted roads, faced delays on public transport and risked ice-covered footpaths.

Ministers and TDs strolling into Leinster House had their path cleared by a miniature digger.

Humility indeed.