Posted by: whatkindofweekhasitbeen | July 1, 2010

1st July, 2010

Back after a week away where the only writing I was involved in was my name on the credits of Top Gear (plug, yes; shameless, you bet ya), it’s good to know you can always depend on certain things being constant: The English will always crash out of international sporting tournaments in a blaze of recrimination, Tony Hayward will always look as if he shouldn’t have got beyond BP’s work experience programme, and Irish parliament will always, always, be stupid. 1976 in Ireland was the year of the “Coup d’etat of the yahoos”, when the bolshy Minister for Defence Paddy Donegan, who was often three sheets to the wind, called President Cearbhaill O’Dalaigh a thundering disgrace and created a constitutional storm, and an upsurge in the use of weather metaphors. O’Dalaigh, far and away our most effete Head of State, used his Presidential prerogative to examine whether proposed anti-terror legislation was, you know, legal. This wouldn’t do for the Drogheda Gene Hunt, who had his eventual offer of resignation refused by Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave, himself hardly a man who would’ve fit in on the cast of Mad Men.

Since then the yahoos of the Dáil have been a relatively quiet but ever-present force, a sort of mostly silent majority whose contributions only ever figure in Dennis Norden’s popular clip show, Legislators Say The Funniest Things and such like. Until now, that is. The newly passed Wildlife Bill ought to have accounted for a moment of jubilee for John Gormley: not only does it ban stag hunting, but it’s probably the first time in three years he hasn’t felt like a complete whore. But then the yahoos waded into the argument, wellington boots first.

The bill puts rural life under risk, they whooped and hollered. They have a point there. As someone who has lived most of my life in the country, one of the few pleasures we have out here is shooting deer. Lord knows we have no other facilities to speak of. And if we can’t shoot deer anymore and they feel they can do whatever they like, what’s to stop them from breaking into our houses at night or jumping in front of our cars and claiming for compensation? The Pa Cartwright in this mini-episode of Bonanza is Mattie McGrath, a man who gained notoriety recently for defending the rights of drink drivers, is also squarely in the hunters camp and accusing the Green Minister of bullying, crying foul as he defends those who shoot it. The Martin Luther King of shitty causes even went as far as to vote against the government and losing the whip, a move that’s guaranteed to get him re-elected by the unthinking dolts he so ably represents.

Apart from the countryman’s inalienable right to kill whatever quadruped he so wishes, the main argument espoused by McGrath and his cohorts, the incomprehensible Jackie Healy-Rae and the one man smarm factory Michael Lowry, is that with Ireland in such difficult times Dáil time shouldn’t be wasted on piddling matters like animal cruelty. Which would be fair enough, except that: a) None of the rebels involved could do a numbers game on Countdown let alone contribute any cogent points to economic reform and b) They think this is such a minor concern that they’re willing to potentially bring down the government over it, prompting a general election that would take a great deal of focus from the pressing problems they’re apparently so intent on focusing on.

The bill passed nevertheless, though with no help from Labour, who save for Tommy Broughan should hang their heads in shame for voting against the ban, but the whole debacle only brings to the fore the fact that Ireland’s parliament and supposed apotheosis of national oratory is inhabited predominantly by souped-up county councillors with the political vision of pipistrelles who couldn’t make an impression on national or international politics with a scalding hot branding iron. The sooner the numbers in the Dáil is cut, the better.

Whenever that happens, TD’s may count their blessings that Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has nothing to do with the decisions, as his treatment of the Nigerian football team following their early World Cup exit has been ever so slightly rash, namely banning the squad from international competition for two years. On the plus side, it’ll surely account for a 24-month unbeaten streak. That’s a feat the Irish government will be no doubt hoping to replicate.



  1. You shoot deer!!! Shocked Paddy, shocked. Poor little Bambi being shot. I will never look at you the same way! 😮

  2. It was self defence, don’t judge me! 😀

  3. From Bambi? I am shocked. I just hope you didn’t eat her!

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