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4 May 2006 Edition

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Fifth Column

In the pink

Sinn Féin comrades (and I use the term 'comrades' loosely) in Dún Laoghaire have nominated Dáithí Ó Riain as 'Shinner of the Month' at the Easter Monday commemoration in Deansgrange Cemetery for, in their words, "selflessly protecting party Vice-President Pat Doherty MP from the rain with a small but bright pink umbrella while he himself braved the horrible weather".

Dáithí's 'comrades' were no doubt hiding under theirs.

Hobbs's choice

Eddie Hobbs, The Sunday Times and the Progressive Democrats want to smuggle Elizabeth Windsor into Ireland in the back of a Rolls Royce to dole out the prizes at something like a dog show at the RDS so that she's not bothered by revolting Irish peasants raking up the past during the first visit by a reigning British monarch since partition.

The unholy trinity came together on Sam Smyth's Sunday Supplement show at the weekend to insist that we shouldn't let little things like the Famine, partition, Bloody Sunday, the Dublin/Monaghan bombs and the British Army's running of UDA and UVF death squads get in the way just because the anti-democratic British queen is head of all the British armed forces: SAS, Military Intelligence, Paras, FRU, etc, etc.

But Eddie Hobbs doesn't want his head bothered with "all that rubbish".

Sunday Times scribe Brenda Power came up with the wizard wheeze of giving Queenie a plastic Tricolour to wave at next year's St Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin.

"Tourism is still one of this country's most important industries, so posting out St Patrick's Day invitations to international dignitaries would be an excellent way to encourage that trend... The first name on the list should be the biggest shot of all, the Queen."

The biggest shot of all?

Careful, Brenda, that could be classified as incitement.

Joe Duffy's eggs-elent adventure

Fresh after one-time radical Joe Duffy used his RTÉ Liveline radio show to lecture the young rebels of Ógra Shinn Féin for daring to disrupt a conference promoting a two-tier health service with stink bombs, Slane Castle's Lord Henry Mount Charles has accused Joe Stuffy of being part of a student gang that pelted him with a rotten egg during a Trinity College debate... in protest at health cuts!

Lord Odd Socks was so taken aback with the young fogey's haughty reprimand of the Ógras that he actually rang RTÉ to remind Stuffy of his record in the 1980s. Amazingly, the good lord wasn't put on air.

"I thought Joe was being a bit po-faced and decided to ring in and give him a bit of a ribbing but the researcher wouldn't put me through."

Mount Charles thinks the then Fine Gael/Labour Taoiseach, Garret FitzGerald, was the real target.

"I will always remember the incident because I was wearing a midnight blue smoking jacket, which was ruined."

Duffy insists that he didn't actually fire the fatal shot but he was one of the gang that did and he went on radio the following day to answer Mount Charles.

"He was on The Gay Byrne Show the next morning complaining about being pelted with an egg," Joe Stuffy said. "He kept going on about the egg, the egg, the egg.

"I came on the show and told him to lighten up."

Yes, Joe. Lighten up.

Nelson's blind eye

The new 'Grand Secretary' of the Orange Order has some catching up to do on his secretarial work.

Solicitor Drew Nelson told The Belfast Telegraph:

"I want to say and put this on the record: that loyalist paramilitary activity is incompatible with membership of the Orange institution."

But what about the Orangemen sitting on the North and West Belfast Parades Forum alongside UDA and UVF representatives?

Drew says he doesn't know about that!

"I should know about it, but I don't. That's the one that comes up all the time."

Rangers striker's UVF number

Glasgow Rangers legend Colin Stein has been caught on video playing a UVF anthem with a flute band.

The former Scotland star was filmed banging a Lambeg drum during a performance of Here Lies A Soldier.

The song includes the line: "Don't bury me in Erin's Fenian valleys."

Stein's tub-thumping show came days before UEFA cleared Rangers fans of "discriminatory chanting" during their Champions League ties against Spanish side Villarreal. They ruled that the song, The Billy Boys, related to "a social problem in Scotland".

Stein (59), who played for Rangers and Hibernian, was caught on camera at Airdrie Town Hall at a do for hundreds of Rangers fans hosted by the 177 Masonic Club of Coatbridge on Friday, 7 April.

The striker admitted being at the function but was less forward about his performance on film. "I've nothing to say."

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