Tuesday 23 January 2018

Politics is best left to the politicians

Eamonn Sweeney

The other evening I was cooking a spot of polpettone alla toscana for the dinner when I realised I couldn't quite remember the recipe. Not to worry, I said to myself, I'll ring Henry Shefflin, he'll surely know what it is.

And when I noticed that the guinea pig was off his grub and not looking too healthy, I didn't hesitate. Brian O'Driscoll was the only man to contact in a situation like this. Because it stands to reason that if a man is good at sport he'll know all about everything else in life.

At least that appears to be the reasoning behind the government's decision to enlist leading Irish sportsmen in their campaign for a yes vote in the forthcoming austerity referendum. Brian Cody, Pat Gilroy, Ken Doherty, Barry Geraghty and some retired folk have all appealed for a yes vote. And why not. If you're able to ride a winner at Cheltenham, manage a team to win the All-Ireland or make a hundred-plus break on the green baize you're surely better able to work out the pros and cons of a political question than the man or woman in the street. And you're also entitled to tell them which way to vote.

I don't know which is more depressing, the cynicism of the politicians who use sportsmen in this way or the arrogance of sportsmen who think their political opinions are so important they should be announced at a press conference in the Aviva Stadium.

The conference, incidentally, was organised by Senator Eamonn Coghlan who in entering the world of politics is doing something he used to do on the track.

He's following in the footsteps of Sebastian Coe.

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