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Miriam, our secret weapon in a world of waffle

Mention the word 'waffle' to someone from America and they'll more than likely lick their lips at the thought of a small, crisp batter cake (mmmmh . . . waffles . . . with syrup), whereas here the likely response is an elongated groan as horrible visions are conjured up of politicians spouting on at great length about nothing in particular.

Disgraced former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was a master of the art, with even the most harmless enquiry seeing him erect an obstacle course of obfuscation and leading his inquisitor into a maze of misdirection; all the while mangling the English language to throw listeners even further off the scent.

Anyway, there was more than enough waffle going on in Wednesday's presidential debate to keep us waffle-watchers in work for months.

There are only so many times you can hear variations on the notion of someone wanting to be 'a president for the people' before you start screaming at the screen and demanding who'll step up to the plate and be a president for all the cats, dogs and budgerigars in the country.


Likewise, something inside me died very slowly at every use of the word 'inclusion', causing the mind to wander and fantasise that one of the candidates would go off-message and say something bizarrely offensive along the lines of 'The theme of my presidency, if elected, would be one of inclusion . . . except for the travellers and the blacks'.

Still, at least there was some wonderful entertainment to be had watching Martin McGuinness lose his cool at some pointed questioning from Miriam O'Callaghan and revealing himself to be a typical terrorist thug. It must have been galling for the Sinn Fein/IRA candidate to have to resist the temptation to shout 'I could have you killed!' as his blood-soaked past was dredged up again before his beady little eyes.

It's one thing for McGuinness to slime his way around the streets of our country with his goon squad keeping dissident voters away from him, although they seriously slipped up in Athlone on that count, but when confronted with a serious interrogator he couldn't even resort to waffle and showed his true colours. Well done, Miriam O'Callaghan, for a great job all round.