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28 June 2007 Edition

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Fifth Column

Bev finds some change

Surprise, surprise. No sooner had Bertie Ahern told the nation that he’s anxious to get Beverley Cooper Flynn back into Fianna Fáil as a fine junior minister when she’d sorted out her looming bankruptcy than she found €1.3 million in the bottom of her handbag to pay off RTÉ’s costs from her failed court action for defamation.
The settlement, remember, is less than half the €2.85 million that Fianna Fáil’s prodigal daughter actually owes the station, which is funded by the taxpayer. Would public servant Bev have been so generous and declined to take public money if she had won her case against RTÉ? I wouldn’t bet €1.5 million on it.
So who decided to let Bev off a cool million and a half on my behalf? I don’t recall getting a phone call from RTÉ’s legal department or the director general asking me as a licence payer if it would be alright to wipe a million-plus out of what’s owed to the public purse.
Maybe the new Communications Minister, Eamon ‘Ethical’ Ryan, would like to write and let us know.

In the footsteps of Pee Flynn
I’m sure that Beverley Cooper Flynn has some hidden qualities but humility sure ain’t one of them and I don’t think I’m being too uncharitable when I say I think she’s not one of the sharpest in the extended Fianna Fáil tool box.
So then why, given all the faithful Fianna Fáil soldiers who have given loyal service to the party, is Bertie so keen to have Bev not just back in the ranks but with a foot on the rungs of government?
Maybe it owes a lot to her daddy, Pee Flynn, the wheeler dealer and lynchpin of the Haughey/Ahern era whose wealth of experience inside the party must count for something to ease the mind of a Taoiseach troubled by tribunals.

It couldn’t happen here
A prime minister has been ordered by police to return home to face charges of concealing ownership of millions of euro of shares.
No, it’s not Bertie or Blairie but Thailand’s exiled former premier, Mr Thaksin Shinawatra. Mr T is living in London and is in talks to buy Premiership soccer club Manchester City. Maybe he’ll apply to join the Fianna Fáil/Green Party cabinet too.

Paddy’s put-down
Lord Paddy Ashdown, the former High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, has somehow managed to resist the temptation from new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to replace Peter Hain as Westminster’s man in the Six Counties.
Paddy was the leader of the Liberal Democrats before Charles Kennedy took over and was once an officer in the Royal Marine Commandos. Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Handon to be was brought up in Tyrone. But even that wasn’t enough to tempt him to take up a position seen by Downing Street mandarins as desirable as a kissogram with halitosis.
With his in-depth knowledge of the North, his military service as an officer in the Royal Marines Commando and claims that he worked for MI6 (denied, of course), Paddy was probably fearing an ambush by the mural writers of West Belfast waiting to remind him of his affair with his personal secretary which gave led to The Sun dubbing him ‘Paddy Pantsdown’.

Hot fuzz
“Ugandan affairs” is the euphemism adopted by the satirical magazine, Private Eye, for illicit sexual affairs on duty, but the Uganda police are having none of it.
Apparently, 900 women in the capital phone the 999 line every night begging police officers for sex, the weekly media briefing at Kampala police HQ was told.
“Only 10 per cent of emergency calls are genuine,” police spokesman Simeo Nsubuga said to reporters. “We warn desperate women who call our officers at night, asking them to make love.”
I’m sure dozen of Peelers and guards are at this very moment texting Interpol, offering to help relieve their African brothers and sisters.

Out of Africa
The term “Ugandan affairs” actually has an Irish origin.
According to Brewster’s Dictionary of Modern Phrase and Fable, it arose out of a luvvies party at which journalist Mary Kenny had a “meaningful confrontation” with a former minister in Milton Obote’s government. After a noted absence from the jollities, Ms Kenny rejoined other guests with the explanation that she and her new friend had been “upstairs discussing Uganda”.

Paradise Hotel
There’s now the perfect place for the Workers’ Party to hold its summer camp or a reunion with Pat Rabbitte, Liz McManus, Eamon Gilmore and Eoghan Harris: a hotel themed during the era of communist East Germany.
The Ostel, near Berlin’s East Side Gallery, has portraits of communist leaders along the walls and almost all the furnishings are genuine articles, pre-1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
For €38 you can rent a replica of a typical apartment in the German Democratic Republic. If you’re on a budget (or an ‘Official IRA’ training camp) then for €9 you can bunk down in the Pioneer Camp dormitory dressed in the style of the Free German Youth, East Germany’s answer to the Fianna or the Ógra.
And if any old Sticks are seeking a hideaway in a workers’ paradise, if they don’t have American Express I’m sure mein hosts will take American super dollars.

Sinking jobs off-shore
According to Saturday’s Irish News, accountancy firm Deloitte has reported glowingly on the British financial services sector and how “off-shoring staff saves £1.5 billion a year”.
I suppose “Betraying loyal staff in favour of cheap labour saves already-wealthy bosses £1.5 billion” might be just a little too honest for the captains of industry.
If Deloitte had been around during Viking times they probably would have spoken of a vigorous drive in asset management by Scandinavian entrepreneurs, or what the natives called rape and pillage.

An Phoblacht Magazine

AN PHOBLACHT MAGAZINE:

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