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Michael O'Doherty: Joan Burton is one of the best in the Dail but she had a Vincent Browne moment

I've shared a radio studio with Labour's Joan Burton on a few occasions, and have always found her to be a friendly, sincere person with strongly held views.

The fact is, I like Joan Burton.

Which is why I've had a hard time trying to get my head around the absurd, though hilarious, caricature of her by the Apres Match team, which portrays her as mad of eye and droning of voice, spouting an endless stream of political clichés.


But with this week's real-life appearance on Vincent Browne's show, Joan played into the hands of her critics.

She almost turned into the caricature of herself.

Much as I hate to say it, her performance was considerably less than glorious and didn't seem at all like the Joan I know.

What was she thinking?

Long after the conversation had moved on she was constantly interrupting.

One point on which she harangued both Vincent Browne and Joe Higgins was whether or not her leader Eamon Gilmore had said he would leave alone any cuts included in the Finance Bill.

She repeatedly insisted that Gilmore had not said this, and dared Browne to play back the Late Late Show tape to show that he hadn't, but a review of the tape online shows that her claims were wrong.

The fact is that Joan is bright, articulate and one of the smartest in Leinster House.

She may have to fight it out with Ruairi Quinn and Pat Rabbitte to be our next Finance Minister but she is perfectly capable of the job.

It just seems that TDs are capable of meltdowns on narky Vincent Browne's show. Take Conor Lenihan's angry performance last week.

I'd say Joan thought she was showing some pre-election fighting spirit, but while Pat Rabbite's savaging of Pat Carey on Prime Time was a masterclass in political passion, this was a lesson in tv turnoff.

Of course my biggest worry is that some might think she made Joe Higgins look sensible, as he sat looking a little stunned.

On second thoughts, nah.

No chance.

Students emigrating? Good riddance

There are those who believe the Ross O'Carroll Kelly character to be a work of fiction, with only the most minor basis in south Co Dublin, rugger-bugger reality.

Anyone who thinks this, however, should take note of the behaviour of some Irish students on a skiing trip to France last week.

Four males broke into a woman's room and masturbated in front of her. Others sprayed swastikas on chalet walls.

Two others competed to see who could waste the most money -- they did this by burning €50 notes, paying people to tie up their ski boots, and throwing phones into a river.


Inevitably, one of these duelling cretins allowed himself to be captured on a video phone, and on the evidence is this clip, the future for this country is even more bleak than we imagined.

One drunken student was captured for posterity, bragging how "I got my phone and I said 'f**k off', and threw my phone down the river. I was trying to impress my friends, and they were impressed".

If you wonder how Ireland ends up with morons like Sean FitzPatrick, David Drumm and Michael Fingleton in positions of power, it's because they start out as obnoxious little weeds like this one.

Elsewhere, a report by the National Youth Council of Ireland has predicted that up to 70pc of graduates are planning to emigrate this year.


Most would consider that to be bad news, but it does hold one attraction -- at least moronic dickheads like this charmed lot will no longer be our problem.

Looks like Trap hasn't had his chips just yet

Giovanni TrapatToni posed with Fade Street's Vogue Williams in a photocall to mark the first birthday of the Irish Traditional Italian Chippers Association.

In looking quite chipper himself, the Irish manager finally laid to rest rumours of his ill health.

For if his close encounter with the Amazonian Vogue, along with a plate of artery-clogging chips, didn't give the 71-year-old a stroke, then nothing will.

Gray shows he's more than just an ugly face

You get the face you deserve, and Sky football pundit Andy Gray's neanderthal looks should have alerted us to what kind of a character he is.

A serial offender in making offensive, sexist remarks, and apparently thoroughly unpopular behind the scenes at Sky, Gray's sacking will be applauded by many as long overdue.

And his comments about the female linesman are a bit rich coming from a serial cheater on women, who seems to have spent much of his own private life 'going offside'.