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1 July 2004 Edition

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The 5th Column

Carry on, O'Connor

BRENDAN O'CONNOR gave up trying to make a living as a stand-up comedian as too much like hard work and he turned his unremarkable talents to scribbling anti-republican diatribes every week. And lest anyone doubt his journalistic skills, Brendan came up with a scoop last week.

Laying into the Progressive Democrats and Michael McDowell for their "foaming-at-the-mouth attacks on Sinn Féin during the recent election campaigns" (isn't that what the Sindo does, week in, week out), Comical Brendy told Sinn Féin's opponents to instead attack its social and economic policies, which Brendy's boss, Indo owner and Bean Baron Sir Anthony O'Reilly, doesn't like one little bit.

Republican policies will change the less than incredibly smart ways things are run now, to Comical Brendy's horror. He thus argued:

"If its rivals had stopped for a moment and pointed this out, they just might have stopped Sinn Féin. Never mind the fact that Sinn Féin voters were voting for a united Ireland, Gerry choosing to mention the whole Brits Out thing for the first time in years, just after Peggy Sue got elected."

A scoop! An exposé of Woodward and Bernstein proportions! A Brendan O'Connor exclusive! Sinn Féin voters didn't know that Sinn Féin wants a united Ireland. Keep plugging away, Brendy, you're more comical off the stage than on it.

A matter of fact

THIS WEEK'S Media supplement in the London-based Guardian will send even more shivers up the well-insulated spine of Comical Brendy and his cohorts in the Indo lie factory.

The Economist magazine's Edward Lucas has proposed that newspapers and magazines should be given star ratings based on their accuracy on facts, references, and so on. This could be done by an independent body, he suggests, perhaps under the umbrella of one of the respected journalism faculties.

"Once ratings for accuracy were well established, someone might venture into broader questions, like fairness."

You can see Comical Brendy going all 'Father Jack' at the mere thought of it.

Dubya Bush story all pants

SO TV pictures of George Dubya Bush strutting around his Dromoland Castle boudoir in his jocks, socks and suspenders were not taken by a renegade camera crew that could have been an undercover Al Qaeda cell but by a fully vetted Irish Government film crew.

Sunday newspaper headlines that Harcourt Square Harriers chiefs were summoned from wheel clamping duties in Dublin and whizzed down to Dromoland to be carpeted by the CIA's Men in Black were said to have been nonsense. Bertie Ahern shrugged the whole thing off, remarking of the revealing footage:

"In actual fact, the President looks a very fit man, probably far fitter than me." Just so long as he can manage not to fall off his bike and stay away from those pesky low-flying pretzels.

Democracy for Georgia (and Florida)

AHEAD of Dubya's visit to Fortress Shannon, we were taken aback to read that the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin has announced "€1 million support for democratisation in Georgia".

The DFA said; "This funding will assist projects to promote human rights and promote good governance in Georgia."

Quite right. We are confident that the DFA is not referring to the former Soviet republic but the US state of Georgia. We don't want any repeat of that dodgy ballot rigging we saw in neighbouring Jeb Bush's Florida.

Jimmy dodgers

KERRY TD Jimmy Deenihan wants Bertie Ahern to lean on George Dubya Bush to 'regularise' the 50,000 Irish nationals (ie non-nationals) currently living illegally and dodging the immigration authorities in the United States.

This wouldn't be the Jimmy Deenihan whose Fine Gael party backed Michael McDowell's racist referendum here but who wants preferential treatment for our non-nationals in the USA, would it?

Drop us a line and let us know your logic, Jimmy.

Pistol-packing Peeler

PSNI Peeler James Derek Maginn has been convicted of being drunk in charge of a police-issue gun.

Maginn was said by arresting colleagues to have been leaving a Portaferry pub with his Glock pistol tucked into the waistband of his trousers and clearly intoxicated — over twice the legal limit, in fact, even though he was about to drive off in his car.

Maginn was fined £500 for being drunk in charge of a loaded weapon when he appeared at Ards Magistrates' Court last week. He was also fined £300 and handed down ten penalty points for being drunk in charge of a car. He is appealing the convictions.

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