It’s no time for acting the clown

This is not the right time to be acting the clown

Comment and Opinion – By Jimmy Rhatigan

THE CIRCUS is in town.

No, it’s not Duffys, Fossetts or Courtneys, three of our great circus families.

It is, with respect, a Presidential Circus, otherwise known as a Presidential Election.

We are not setting out today to demean the office of the President as, in fairness, there are those who would be much better at that without even trying, if you get our drift.

The vanguard of the circus came before the official campaign got underway.

That was the crazy countrywide quiz where a motley crew of councillors of all hues and persuasions put presidential wannabes under the spotlight.

That wasn’t funny.

It was farcical.

The real clowns of the piece were now enjoying their day in the sun as they showed who was boss by behaving at times with the kind of arrogance that, in fairness, we most certainly have not experienced from any of our more recent occupants of our Phoenix Park Mansion.

To put it mildly, far too many of our county councillors made a mess of themselves, or more bluntly, they let themselves down badly.

We need not travel outside our own local councillors to highlight a disgrace.

The way said councillors, or more accurately a good lump of them, treated Gemma Doherty was nothing short of embarrassing.

The investigative journalist wasn’t looking for a loan of a fiver off of any of them nor was she hoping to get a house in Kilkenny but the sheer arrogance that some showed towards here was dreadful.

Those who abstained were perhaps the most guilty as they sat in the middle of the see saw, not having the bottle to vote a yay or nay for the good woman.

Gemma was simply asking them for their goodwill to allow her to have a stab at public office, albeit perhaps the highest in the land.

In denying her that opportunity, mainly through the cowardly abstain route, they denied any us who may have wanted to vote for her of our democratic right.

So in giving Gemma a bloody nose, some councillors delivered a kick in the arse to the rest of us.

We owe ye one, lads and lassies could well be the retort.

Anyway, back to the presidency.

Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour, the one-time party of the people opted out of the race for obvious reasons.

Apologies, delete Labour from the latter list as, we sometimes fail to acknowledge, Michael D is a member of said party.

FF and FG’s given reason as to why they didn’t put forward candidates was as lame as Delaney’s Donkey.

They said they were supporting Michael D because he had done such a good job over the last seven years.

Even Ripley would not have bought that one.

They didn’t tog out because they wanted to keep their cash for any General Election and FG in particular would remember how their candidate fared the last time.

Kudos afforded to Michael D we will not argue with.

Yes he did represent us well, very well, particularly at international level but on the minus side he did sign some bills into legislation that would certainly not benefit the people who may over the years have been staunch supporters of the Labour Party.

And, let’s be up front. If any of us got the rumuneration that Michael D pocketed every week or month or whatever, along with liberal expenses and an entertainment fund we would more than likely do a good job too.

If we didn’t it would certainly not be for want of trying. A new suit from Billy Walsh in the Monster House, a shirt and tie in Frank Walls and good pair of brogues in Padmore & Barnes and Bob’s your uncle Harry.

A good script writer, a spattering of an teanga Gaeilge, a bunch of feathers wherever you want to stick them and off you go, up, up and away to whatever corner of the world tickles your fancy.

Let’s try to be serious, if that is possible at this time.

A good president is important to our country, a good ambassador, a man or woman who will endear us to others and represent us well is important at any time.

But to be sending a fortune on an office that certainly deserves funding, but not a King or Queen’s Ransom, is hardly appropriate particularly at this time.

We need to remind ourselves that people are sleeping on our streets, families are locked in temporary hotel accommodation, unfortunates are being evicted from their homes and ill and aged are lying on hospital trolleys.

Need we say any more?

The sooner the circus leaves town the better.

Yes we should elect who we consider to be the best man or woman for the job.

And pay him or her accordingly.

But not the kind of money that allows him or her to laugh all the way to the bank.

By all means let us re-elect Michael D, if that is the will of the people.

We know he is willing and he has shown he is able.

On the other hand should our people elect someone else, then so be it.

That we would remind some of our councillors is real democracy.

Thank God we have the privilege of voting for whoever we want.

We know there were some, we don’t know how many, who wanted the opportunity to vote for Gemma O’Doherty.

That they were, sadly, denied.