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22 March 2007 Edition

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Fifth Column

‘Paddy the Plasterer’ answers Bertie’s call

The Taoiseach has got the famous ‘Paddy the Plasterer’ in to shore up Fianna Fáil’s general election bid in Bertie’s backyard to stop Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald getting in.
Paddy the Plasterer (millionaire builder Paddy Reilly) hit the headlines when he was named as one of the Bertie’s buddies who had a €50,000 whip-round for him when he was having cash-flow problems during his marriage break-up in 1993. Not only did the then Minister for Finance admit he didn’t have a bank account but the man trusted by Fianna Fáil to run the state’s finances confesses he couldn’t even manage his own money! It seems a bit like putting George W Bush in charge of the Oxford English Dictionary.
Unlike most builders, who turn up late, Paddy the Plasterer and the boys with the green stuff arrived in the nick of time and helped Bertie out by passing the hat round. Fifty grand did the job. Spit on the hand and shake.
Now the wealthy B&B chain owner has climbed up Bertie’s ladder and he’s been given the job of ‘Fianna Fáil Director of Organisation’ in Dublin Central.
One of Paddy’s first jobs will be to plaster over the cracks in the Fianna Fáil front where Senator Cyprian Brady (brother of the hapless Royston) and Councillor Mary Fitzpatrick will be fighting like cat and dog over who gets the most votes to try and win that coveted second seat for the Mount Street mandarins.
Will Paddy the Plasterer be able to bail Bertie out again?

Missing the SDLP

Having given the SDLP time to get over the ‘shock’ of another electoral drubbing at the hands of Sinn Féin, I checked out the SDLP website on Tuesday to see what words of wisdom there are about the people’s choice from what the Google search engine calls “the principal party of the nationalist (Catholic) community in Norther Ireland”. (Note to self: call Google and Trades Descriptions Agency.)
So, what news from the SDLP since the election on 7 March? Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Diddly squat.
If anyone sees an SDLP press release wandering lost, please approach it with care and contact the Society for the Protection of the SDLP, c/o Fianna Fáil & Fine Gael/Labour, Dublin 4.

Wet and windy

One of the pre-poll front-page pieces that SDLP addicts could fix on was a little homily from South Belfast MP Alasdair McDonnell.
Dr McDonnell’s casebook opens with the following:
“Friends, a winter election brings many challenges.
“Whether in the back streets of Belfast and Derry or the country lanes in Fermanagh and Tyrone, we know it will be hard.
“It may be cold, it may be wet, it may be windy, but the SDLP has never backed off from a challenge yet, and we are ready for this one.”
They just weren’t ready for the result.
Magic politics
Britain’s leftish Young Fabian Society held a new members’ event in London last week “including entertainment by socialist magician Ian Saville”.
Even Ian’s rope tricks have a tongue-in-cheek political line.
“The three pieces of rope are different lengths. I developed it to be an illustration of the three different classes in society. They change and become the same length, and the audience applauds at that point. But I stop them because there are still classes. The process has to continue until eventually I get one piece of rope, which is a classless society.”
A political magician might come in handy here. Maybe he could saw Michael McDowell in half or even make him vanish. Or perhaps the voters could do that.

Who guards the Garda sources?

Ten thousand gardaí and their families have been asked by their union to think about boycotting the Irish Independent, the Sunday Independent and the Mail on Sunday.
The Garda Representative Association says it is sending a directive to more than 700 stations requesting that all members of the GRA and their families “consider the integrity of recent articles” in the three rags about the death of Garda Sergeant Tania Corcoran and a son during the birth of twins.
Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy has called stories by the Indo and the Mail about the sergeant and her Garda husband as “disgusting, insensitive and hurtful”.
But – not that this excuses the Indo and the Mail – what about the extra pain and grief caused to ordinary families by information that is leaked by the guards to the media?
The fact that people like Sunday Independent Security Editor Jim Cusack was the main culprit in this case, one that has caused disgust amongst gardaí throughout the force, and that Cusack and his ilk rely on gardaí for many of their stories might give officers with access to privileged personal information on others cause to think. Now they have first-hand experience of how some security/crime journalists will use anyone and anything if it gets them a headline.
Maybe it will make police officers of all ranks (and the Minister for Justice) think twice about the hurt that information they give to people like Cusack almost daily has on people who are not guards.

Playing for time

Take That may have re-formed. Even The Police have got their act back together (that’s Sting’s lot, not the other ones yet). One band of that is still on its way out is the band of the Royal Irish Regiment, who played the Ulster Hall for the last time last week.
The Ulster Hall is being closed for renovations but the RIR band will play out the rest of the year until the regiment’s local militia element (“Home Service Battalions”) is disbanded in the autumn. Then they will be absorbed into the “North Irish Territorial Army Band” and the Band of the RIR will have tootled its last pip.
There won’t be a dry eye in the house.

An Phoblacht Magazine

AN PHOBLACHT MAGAZINE:

  • The first edition of this new magazine will feature a 10 page special on the life and legacy of our leader Martin McGuinness to mark the first anniversary of his untimely passing.
  • It will include a personal reminiscence by Gerry Adams and contributions from the McGuinness family.
  • There will also be an exclusive interview with our new Uachtarán Mary Lou McDonald.

Buy An Phoblacht magazine here

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