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MOD on Monday: Why is Alan Shatter serving food? And by the way, the '70s want their recipes back

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Alan Shatter

Alan Shatter

Wetherspoon

Wetherspoon

Alan Shatter.

Alan Shatter.

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Alan Shatter

The fate of our former political leaders has always been a subject of interest, particularly compared to what becomes of their counterparts abroad.

There is a tradition in the UK and US of departed figures using their political influence in an ambassadorial role, with Tony Blair and Bill Clinton's efforts to broker or maintain peace in the Middle East and Northern Ireland respectively being prime examples.

In Ireland, however, we seem to have less lofty ambitions.

Bertie Ahern is a classic example, having taken cash from a newspaper to write a sports column, and appear in a stupendously tacky TV advertisement, just as the full details of Ireland's financial meltdown were emerging.

wisdom

Since then, he has cashed in on the guest speaker circuit worldwide, imparting wisdom at upwards of €20k a shot.

Which brings us nicely to former Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter. Is he, you may ask, going to use his impressive legal knowledge in support of a worthy cause?

Is he going to call upon his impressive list of contacts, built up from his 30 years in Dail Eireann, to help fix some social injustice?

Nope, Alan is going to don an apron and ridiculous hat, and cook a three-course meal for about 50 guests, and three critics, in an Athlone hotel, with said critics then being tasked with the crucial job of trying to guess who was in the kitchen that evening.

Shatter, you see, has been signed up as the first guest chef on TV3's The Restaurant, the series formerly produced by RTE.

I am aware of how The Restaurant used to operate because, as RTE scraped the bottom of the celebrity barrel for one final, ninth series back in 2011, I was asked to take part.

I did it for two reasons.

Firstly, I enjoy cooking, and wanted to challenge myself; secondly, and more importantly, I also felt it might be good publicity for my magazine company.

Like most guest chefs, I either had a convincing PR reason to take part, or I was employed by RTE, and had my arm twisted to do so.

Alan Shatter, however, has no such excuses.

All of which begs the question: why is Shatter doing it, especially when, as he is currently embroiled in legal action over the Guerin Report, which criticised his handling of complaints made by a garda whistleblower, he would seem to have better things to do than try and boost his celebrity profile through reality TV?

While we don't now the answer to this, what has already been revealed is his menu for the night.

It's perhaps not surprising that Shatter who, with his sallow skin, carefully-coiffed bouffant and bushy sideburns, bears a remarkable resemblance to 70s crooner Englebert Humperdink, should come up with a meal of Duck a L'Orange and Trifle.

Because if, during the closing scenes of Alan's episode, you hear the distant sound of psychadelic guitars, and the russle of corduroy over glitter-strewn, platform boots, you'll know what it is.

It's the 1970s calling. And they want their recipes back.

 

Beer chain's cheap booze just falls flat

Is it just me, or is the latest announcement by JD Wetherspoon, the UK pub chain currently spreading their own particular brand of cut price cheer in Ireland, stupendously tacky?

The social ills brought by drinking are well known and, one would think that the emphasis should be on making it more expensive, not cheaper.

Also younger drinkers tend to gravitate towards those places where they can drink themselves into a stupor for the smallest cash outlay.

Having already opened premises in Dublin's suburbs, Wetherspoon have now announced plans for their first city centre hostelry on Camden Street.

CRASS

At a time when homelessness is a burning topic, they seem blind to the crass tone of their announcement, which sees them taking over what was formerly a hostel for the homeless, and turning it into a pub and hotel.

"We are pleased to have acquired this excellent building in the heart of Dublin. Our aim is to build a pub and hotel...we believe both will be assets to the city."

Only in the grubby world of Wetherspoon, where cash registers chiming to the sound of people getting hammered on cut-prize booze is their only concern, could turning a former shelter for the homeless into another pub be considered an "asset".

The IFTAs were always a turn off 

It comes as no surprise to find out that RTE have ditched the IFTAs from next year's TV schedule, following the shambles that was last year's event.      

One felt sorry for presenters Laura Whitmore and Simon Delaney, who had to contend with appalling sound, drunken guests and shambolic organisation.

The fact that it will not be televised surely puts the whole event in doubt, the blame for which lies at the door of the Irish Film and Television Academy. And guess what? When contacted for a comment yesterday, the Academy claimed not to know RTE had pulled out.

Even at the very end, the people behind the IFTAs are clueless.


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