Monday 24 August 2020

Taking a Mashie-Niblick to Golfgate

 For any reader outside of The Republic, the most recent political teacup-storm is Golfgate. Last week, 81 members of the Great and the Good, 

  • a) members or guests of the Oireachtas Golf Society
  • b) accepted an invitation to a memorial round of golf in honour of a recently dead golfing colleague, Mark Killelea MEP for Fianna Fáil FF 
  • c) drove to the Far West Coast, 
    • very likely skirting the edge of Kildare despite that county's lockdown status 
  • d) had "a good walk spoiled" on Clifden Links 
  • e) stopped for celebratory dinner.
Unexceptional in normal circumstances: another junket for the pols which could probably be covered by "expenses". But it was the day after the government published new guidelines to restrict social interactions to flatten the surge of a recent uptick in Covid cases - nationwide but particularly dense in Direct Provision centres and meat-packing plants in Kildare. By the following day Alison Moore of  the Irish Examiner marshalled the facts and reported the event noting the discrepancy between a guideline limit of 50 people at 6 per table for indoor social events and  the actual 81 people at tables set for 10 in the Stationhouse Hotel Clifden.

Big Story because we-the-people have been dutifully obeying the rules for nearly 6 months: cancelling weddings, holidays, TGIFs, funerals and doctor's appointment. Now it seemed that there was a different set of rules for those making the rules. The commentary ranged from echoing Tom Macaulay's We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality to a great many sardonic, ironic and devastatingly witty take-downs.

But to me it was ooooo data, and so I set off looking for a complete list of attendees. What I found was a lot of sloppy plagiarism of Aoife Moore's original story down to repeating her selection, in the same order, of a subset of attendees to "name and shame" in the cliché of the day. I still don't have a complete list. 
  • Did someone mention cliché in the context of Irish political commentary?
    • They did
  • And will anyone cite Myles na gCopaleen's Catechism of Cliché?
    • They will
  • Is there an example of such an interchange?
    • There is:
    • What does it behove us to proclaim?
      • Our faith.
    • In what does it behove us to proclaim our faith?
      • Democracy.
    • From what vertiginous eyrie does it behove us to proclaim our faith in democracy?
      • From the house-tops.
    • At what time should we proclaim our faith in democracy from the house-tops?
      • Now, more than ever.
    • What action must be taken in relation to our energies?
      • They must be directed.
    • In what unique manner?
      • Wholeheartedly.
Myles was a Dublin Insider who could skewer the pretensions of Irish society and roast them until they crackled. At the moment, Das Commentariat are limiting their demands for contrition to a top-drawer dozen of The Clifden 81.
  • And how must they apologise?
    • Unreservedly
Whoo-har. These Dublin Insiders have clearly read their Myles na gCop; or more likely their use of language is as tired and unimaginative as the sincerity of their sorrow. 
  • And how did they apologise?
  • Dara Calleary FF Min Ag
    • unreservedly
  • Seamus Woulfe Supreme Court Judge FG Attorney General
    • unreservedly
  • Noel Grealish Independent TD [Host]
    • unreservedly
  • Jerry Buttimer FG Senator 
    • unreservedly
  • Paddy Burke FG Senator 
    • "an error of judgement on my behalf and I apologise "
  • John Cummins FG senator 
    • unreservedly
  • Paul Daly FF Senator
    • unreservedly
  • Aidan Davitt FF Senator 
    • unreservedly
  • Niall Blaney FF Senator 
    • unreservedly
  • Donie Cassidy former FF TD Senator [Host]
    • unreservedly
I also liked Seamus Woulfe's comment "I was not aware that a dinner was involved". We know what he means but at what stage did he become aware that a dinner was involved? The sight of round tables all crocked and cutlered up?  When the soup arrived? At the third course? After a second glass of hotel plonk? At least his reputational damage will be less than that of the former Attorney General Patrick "GUBU" Connelly who, in 1982, was found giving shelter to a murderer on the run.

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