Craic & Codology

The Wesht Wing

Scene 1: The political correspondents room, Leinster House. A lone hack lingers on the telephone, as a shadowy Government spin doctor enters.
Spin doctor: Special delivery!
Hack (putting down phone): What? Nobody ordered pizza.
Spin doctor: It’s even better than pizza. (He takes something from a box) Here’s your copy.
Hack (reading): The interim report of the Cregan Commission? You’ve gotta be joking… it’s 9pm on the Friday before the bank holiday. Tomorrow’s papers are all written.
Spin doctor (with mock disappointment): Ah no! And we were so looking forward to pages and pages of embarrassing coverage about Denis O’Brien.
Hack (leafing through report, despondently): Feckers.
Spin doctor: Gosh… I’m beginning to think we picked a bad night to release this.
Hack: Yeah, and you were sitting on it for the past two weeks.
Spin doctor: Hey, look on the bright side. (He gestures around room). It looks like you have the story to yourself. And there’s some good stuff in there, if you take the two hours to read it.
Hack (Moving towards door and getting coat): Do me a favour, will you? Don’t let on you saw me here either.
Spin doctor: Ha, ha – wise decision. Enjoy the weekend.
Hack (exiting furtively): Yeah. You too.

Scene 2: The Acting Taoiseach’s Office. Enda Kenny studies the draft agreement with Fianna Fáil, while the portrait of Michael Collins looks on.

Collins: So the deal’s done? You’re getting another term?
Kenny: Well we still have to work out something with the Independent Alliance. But yeah, the Soldiers of Destiny are on board. That’s the hardest bit done.
Collins: Congratulations. First Fine Gael Taoiseach ever reelected.
Kenny: Well, there was WT Cosgrave. But it wasn’t Fine Gael then. And he wasn’t Taoiseach. What was he, remind me?
Collins: President of the Executive Council. Yeah, still, it’s a record of sorts. How long are they giving you before Leo takes over?
Kenny: It’s not up to them, Mick. I’ll choose my own time to go. And on a suitably high note too, I hope – maybe after Mayo finally win the All-Ireland.
Collins: Jayzus – is that in the agreement? It would want to be negotiated in advance, with lawyers. There’s no way it could happen otherwise.
Kenny: Seriously, though. Fourteen months would take me past John A Costello as the longest-serving Fine Gael Taoiseach. That’d be a bit of history. And I’d get another St Patrick’s Day in the White House to say my farewells. With Hillary, probably.
Collins: Or even better, President Chump. No offence, but alongside him, you’d look statesmanlike.
Kenny: Thanks Mick. But by the way, you should be grateful – you’re getting a new lease of life too?
Collins: How?
Kenny: When I’m finished, you’ll probably be packed away as well. It’ll be like Obama moving Churchill’s bust out of the Oval Office to make way for Martin Luther King.
Collins: Who will Leo have instead of me, do you think? Mahatma Gandhi?
Kenny: I don’t know. Maybe he’ll put me up there. Fine Gael’s greatest ever leader. The man who made him possible.

Scene 3: Micheál Martin’s living room, Cork. He receives a visit from Michael McGrath and other Fianna Fáil henchmen.

Martin: Congratulations again on the negotiations, Michael. I hear you ran rings around them with your attention to detail.
McGrath: Only doing my job, party leader.
Martin: Well, you’ll be rewarded in due course. When we’re swept back into power after the next election, a very senior ministry will be yours.
Henchman 1: Are we really supporting the Blueshirts for three budgets? I mean, that’ll give the bastards a chance to buy a majority.
McGrath: The record suggests it’ll also give them a chance to remind the electorate why it never votes them in twice, except – as happened this time – by default.
Martin: Exactly. Anyway, we’ll see about the three budgets. Just because we promised to support them doesn’t mean they won’t screw up spectacularly.
Henchman 2: Hopefully that occurs while Enda’s still in charge.
Henchman 1: Yes, a lame duck, still grappling with Irish Water.
Henchman 2: In the meantime, Meehawl, you’ll have all the power – with plenty of favours to dispense – and none of the responsibility.
Martin: Wow. I feel a bit like Michael Corleone.
Henchman 1 (jokingly kissing his hand): Congratulations, Godfather.
Henchman 2: Or as we say in Cork – congratulations, the Real Taoiseach.

Scene 4: A hotel near Government Buildings. Members of the Independence Alliance rendezvous en route to talks with FG.

Shane Ross: Are we all here?
Finian McGrath: All except for Senator Craughwell. He’s already resigned on principle.
Ross (crossing line through list): Right. That’s the first item on the agenda – the split – taken care of. As for the rest of us, it’s vital that we keep a united front.
Michael Fitzmaurice: Agreed.
Ross: And that means remembering that the core principles of our group are more important than any issues of individual concern.
John Halligan: Except for Cardiac Care in the South-east. I’m not supporting the Blueshirts unless we get a deal on that.
Ross: Sigh. Okay. But let’s try to sing from the same hymn sheet on everything else. Like our demand for an end to cronyism.
Sean Canney: Yes – just so long as that doesn’t apply to hiring your wife as a secretarial assistant – once she’s the best qualified person for the job.
Ross: Jesus. Any other exceptions I should know about before we go in here?
Fitzmaurice: That seems to be it.
Ross: Okay. Let’s do this. And remember, our total media black-out still applies.
McGrath: Right. So it’ll be just you all over the airwaves as usual?