White lies and Dail weddings

Lucille Redmond

Wonder what the Greeks are saying now, when they go out to riot: "We're not the Irish. We're not like that. We don't use democracy."

Democracy in Ireland, though, is different. The politicians stalked the streets like exiled princes in the days before the poll. On the day, white-faced -- or unbelieving and delighted -- they stood in the count centres while the radio journalists feasted on them.

High points on the day the cleamhnas was set up were Newstalk's breathless early reporting. "Envision the picture: Taoiseach Enda Kenny, and in the seat directly opposite him (pause) Arise, Baron Gerry Adams", said Ivan Yates with a chuckle in his voice at 10am.

I don't know who said it, but I choked on my tea, at home in the Dublin South Central Soviet, at: "The blue bloods of Dun Laoghaire have turned blue for Fine Gael, while working-class Dublin South Central is red for Labour."

By mid-morning Radio 1 was as avid as a cat looking at a bird. The noon news reported: "Every Fianna Fail seat in Dublin is in danger . . . the Greens are in a fight for their political lives".

The most unconsciously telling statement for the fallen princes was from Sinn Fein's Dessie Ellis. Revealing how Fianna Fail's fortunes have changed, he said: "We're not going to be like the three main parties -- and I include Fianna Fail in that."

Radio 1's was a master feat of reporting, going on through the day, relentlessly circling from constituency to constituency, and Rachael English and Sean O'Rourke finally staggered off to bed at 4am, leaving those last few centres still counting.

> Labour and Fine Gael will have to have the same careful trust that goes into any marriage. They may get help from the book Little White Whys about why men lie. Brian O'Connell gave David Harvey the skinny on it, having talked to author Dr Ish Major.

Brian gave some helpful questions to ask a man if you're interviewing: Have you any legal problems? If you hear "Not that I care to discuss" or "Nothing that affects me now", run a mile.

The texters were speaking tough love. "Little white lies will lead to big black eyes," texted Dave.

Listener Marie said bitterly: "Men are animals but some make better pets."

And her ideal match, Noel: "Women's place is in the kitchen cooking -- and they shouldn't be allowed on the road."

Election coverage, Newstalk, Saturday; Election coverage, Radio 1, Saturday; David Harvey, 4fm, weekdays