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NO CUTS TO ELECTION SPENDING, ASSURES TAOISEACH

As the election nears, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has assured voters that there will be no cuts to campaign spending by the Fine Gael party. “We have a modest E2bn war-chest and we’ll be using it wisely,” said Mr Kenny. “People can rest assured that there will be no cutbacks in key areas like health and transport – we will have the usual assortment of spin-doctors and our candidates will be ferried around in top-of-the-range cars.”
With speculation continuing to grow about when the election will be called, the Taoiseach has also insisted that it will be held sometime this decade. “I can confirm that the election will definitely take place before 2020,” said Mr Kenny. “We are looking at the optimum time to enhance our chances of re-election… er, I mean, to ensure a full and comprehensive campaign.”
The Taoiseach also confirmed that he hasn’t ruled out any parties when it comes to forming a coalition government. “We’ll go in with anybody,” he acknowledged. “Even the Monster Raving Loony Party or, failing that, Fianna Fáil.”

Concern mounts over rise in extremists
Two of the extremists on the Garda watchlist
Two of the extremists on the Garda watchlist

Two of the extremists on the Garda watchlist

By Joky Corcoran

Shocking results from the latest Millward Frown poll suggest that Irish people are becoming increasingly concerned about the number of extremists in their midst. In particular, alarm has grown about the prominence of the so-called Fine Gael organisation, headed up by the notoriously cutthroat duo of Enda bin Kenny and Mike al Noonan.
Over the past number of years, Fine Gael, in conjunction with their followers in the Labour Party, have fanatically preached their creed of austerity, a fundamentalist belief system unrivalled in its brutality. Experts in radical organisations have warned that as an election nears, the threat of attacks from canvassing FG TDs will increase dramatically.
“Anyone who has heard James Reilly speak knows that this deranged cult are a bunch of neanderthals stuck in the 7th century,” says one commentator. “They need to be stamped out!”

Noonan and Howlin salute themselves

by Our Political Staff
Martin Woeful

The two ministers at the Department of Finance have paid tribute to each other, saying that their close personal relationship has been the key to Ireland’s continuing economic recovery.

Announcing the latest Exchequer returns yesterday, Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin posed for photographers and insisted that they had finally put their past differences behind them.

“We have a wonderful working relationship, Mr Noonan told reporters. “Brendan agrees with everything I say – and so do I.”
Minister Noonan also insisted that the months of bitter wrangling between the much-loved couple were now well and truly over.

“I am standing beside Brendan to make myself look good,” he said. “Without me telling him what to do, he would be absolutely useless. ”

‘I WASTED NO TIME IN SOURCING HELICOPTER,’ INSISTS TAOISEACH

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has vehemently dismissed criticism of his government’s response to the country’s flood crisis, and insists it “reacted as quickly as possible” to the unfolding disaster. “I had scarcely finished my post-breakfast crossword before calling someone who knows who to ring for the helicopter,” says the FG leader. “I was very much aware that people wanted quick reassurance that I was looking down on them and their problems.”
The Taoiseach also praised the response of ministers to the ongoing crisis. “Not one minister of mine has missed an opportunity to shake a victim’s hand and assure them that the streets and byroads will be reopened and dry a good week before canvassing begins,” he stated. “As always, their main priority is self-promotion.”

Coalition flood plan

1. Test the waters
2. Batten down the constituency hatches
3. Man the PR barriers
4. Push the boat out on troubled expressions
5. Soak up the media pressure
6. Show a bit more grit
7. Divert Enda far away from all channels
8. Dive to whatever depths are needed on promises

Renua Latest

Renua Ireland yesterday unveiled its 2016 election manifesto. The glossy full-colour 2-page document outlined the new party’s positions on a wide range of political issues, including taxation, crime and redressing the gender balance in government.
“To kick-start the economy, we will bring in a compulsory flat tax rate of 0.23%,” said Lucinda Creighton. She also pledged that the party would introduce much tougher sentences – especially ones that include the words “watch-dog” , “death penalty”, “retribution” and “empty promises”.
Ms Creighton undertook to deliver a brand new approach to Irish politics and to thundering applause from Renua supporters (Eddie Hobbs and Paul Bradford), she spelt out her criteria for a possible pact with another party following the election.
“While we are fully prepared to work with others as equal coalition partners,” she told reporters, “it will be on very strict ‘red line’ conditions.”

WHO RENUA WILL SHARE POWER WITH

1. The party with most votes.
2. Any other party likely to be in power.
3. Whoever will offer Lucy a junior ministry. Yes!

Is there too much about 1916 in the media?
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by Our Fever Staff
Phil Space

Is there too much coverage of the 1916 centenary in the national media? That is the crucial issue my editor has just asked me to address in this latest 900-word follow-up to yesterday’s piece on the historic commemorations.
However, with just 75 days to go before the actual centenary celebrations, it’s much too early to talk about overkill. Meanwhile, the country’s media continues to be increasingly dominated by what is being widely described as the “1916 Rising fever”.
Everywhere you look, front pages are over-run by long-winded articles written by renowned experts, such as Diarmaid Ferret and Fintan Tool. Buried deep further inside the newspaper, military specialists (Major Kevin Myers, Una Mullally, etc.) have also taken up strategic positions.
Scattered elsewhere, there is no shortage of countless fillers, including blurry images of a bombed-out Sackville Street, extracts from Joe Dubby’s latest publication, Me Oul 1916 Buke, and penetrating interviews with Heather Humphreys about
Pádraig Pearse’s love of women.

Tomorrow: Organising Centenary Kiddies Party bouncy castles and magicians

CALLS FOR NEW QUOTA

POLICITICANS FROM all the major political parties have dismissed calls for the introduction of a ‘clean candidates’ quota. An international democracy observation body has called for Ireland to ensure that 30 per cent of candidates running in local and general elections are not corrupt. However, there has been staunch resistance amongst political parties.
“It’s totally artificial,” said a spokesman for Fianna Fáil. “It would be an imposition on the natural order of things. Runners should be able to do whatever they can to get on the ticket and this is a fake restriction. The electorate won’t be fooled by this. Did Charlie Haughey need this kind of help? It’s completely unnecessary.” Fine Gael and Labour spokesmen agreed.

UN TO ACT AGAINST NORTH KOREA

In response to North Korea’s latest nuclear test, the UN Security Council is gearing up to implement “significant” punitive measures against the Pyongyang government.
In a statement released yesterday, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned North Korea that the UN would be re-issuing a new resolution condemning the reclusive state’s ability to further its nuclear weapons programme.
“This revised resolution will be an updated version of all our previous resolutions – but it will be even more strongly-worded,” said the Secretary General. “It will include the possibility of powerful sanctions, such as a full-scale embargo on luxury goods, including small turnips, tree bark and nourishing leaves.”
Meanwhile, North Korea’s colourful leader, Kim Jong-Un, has played down the diplomatic row. In a 7-hour prime time address on state television last night, he insisted that the latest hydrogen bomb test had been “blown out of all proportion” by America.
“Since taking over the family dictatorship, I have focused all my busy time between meals on improving relations with the oppressive and horrifying regime in the United States,” added Kim. “The hydrogen bomb test was part of our glorious national celebration, so that 2016 would start off with a bang. Happy New War!”

New Year’s Resolutions
Teresa Mannion
Joan Burton

Joan Burton

Towards the end of last year I discovered the joy of swimming and I would like to improve my strokes in deep water, especially as I believe that, with the help of Government policy, swimming will become an increasingly common activity in Ireland in the coming years. I would go so far as to say there may well be an open air public pool on every street.
Joan Burton

Teresa Mannion

Teresa Mannion

Omg! Omg! What a truly massive question!!! The only thing I know for sure at this point is that every month can bring with it extreme levels of unpredictability and enormous waves of uncertainty!!! Everyone should note there are serious risks lurking around every corner!!! Given the prevailing climate across all sectors of life, I’m afraid it would be absolute stupidity to make any plans whatsoever!!!
Teresa Mannion

Denis O’Brien

Denis O’Brien

I consider that kind of information to be very privileged and personal. How dare you intrude into any area of my private aspirations! Who sent you? To whom and for what purpose would you dispatch such information? What’s that in your pocket? Leave me alone!
Denis O’Brien

The Wesht Wing

Scene 1: The Taoiseach’s home, Castlebar. Enda Kenny takes a call from the Government press officer.
Feargal Purcell: Hi Taoiseach. Sorry to bother you so early in the new year, but we really need to get you photographed in a pair of wellies somewhere, quick.
Kenny: Why? Has a rubber tycoon made a donation to my election fund?
Purcell: No – it’s just the flooding, Taoiseach. You need to be seen doing something about it – or at least being in the general vicinity of the problem, while appearing concerned.
Kenny: Fair enough. I can manage that.
Purcell: It’s just cynical posturing, I know. But everybody else is doing it, so we have to as well.
Kenny: Although I heard Gerry Adams on the news there criticising politicians – and rightly – for using the crisis as a photo op.
Purcell: Yes – he said that while posing from pictures in a flood in Clare.
Kenny: Okay – let’s do it. Anywhere in particular in mind?
Purcell: How about Athlone? It’s handy for you.
Kenny: Excellent choice. A town with loads of floating voters there, I believe.
Purcell: Right. But do me a favour, Taoiseach. Do not make that joke while we’re there.
Kenny: Don’t worry. My lips are as sealed as my wellies.

*************

Scene 2: Meanwhile, in Kilkenny. The Tánaiste prepares to board a canoe with local junior minister Ann Phelan, while a Labour press officer looks on from dry ground.
Burton: Are you sure this is a good idea? You know me and Irish Water don’t get on very well.
Press officer: Don’t worry, Tánaiste – it’s only a couple of feet deep. As you can see, the photographers are standing in it.
Burton: So why are we using a boat?
Press officer: It’s show-business, Tánaiste. It’ll increase your chances of being on the Six O Clock news. (He lowers voice and leans in) Just don’t smile as much as you’re doing. Remember, you’re supposed to look concerned.
Burton: Okay. (She sits down in boat, awkwardly) It’s a bit narrow.
Phelan (under her breath): Like the Labour support base.
Burton (likewise): Well at least we have two secure seats here, Ann. Aaargh! (The boat overturns and dumps them in the water.)
Press officer (sighing heavily): Oh dear. We’re definitely on the Six O Clock News now.

*************

Scene 3: A street in Dublin. Mary Lou McDonald and Pearse Doherty walk and talk.
McDonald: So I hear Gerry’s getting waxed?
Doherty (startled): What?
McDonald: Our beloved leader. They’re adding him to the National Wax Museum. He’s sitting for it today, I hear, and even invited the press in to witness it.
Doherty: Phew! I thought you said he was getting “whacked”.
McDonald: God forbid! The days when that might have happened are past, I hope.
Doherty (lowering voice): Yeah, although Gerry’s past does have a habit of coming back to haunt us.
McDonald (doing Adams impression): It hasn’t gone away, you know.
Doherty: Well, fair play to him. That’s another milestone. Today the National Wax Museum. Tomorrow, the Office of the Tánaiste, maybe.
McDonald: But that’s the thing. Certain people think this might be Gerry’s signal that he’s about to step down.
Doherty: And take his place in the pantheon of history, you mean? Has he said anything?
McDonald: No. But you know how he likes a bit of choreography first, before making big announcements. Mind you, if he’s going to quit before the election, he’d want to hurry it up.
Doherty: Do I take it you’ll be throwing your hat in the ring if it happens?
McDonald: Well, as you know Pearse, I don’t wear hats. But let’s just say I might be getting my hair done today, just in case.

*************

Scene 4: The Taoiseach’s Office. Enda Kenny reads the newspapers while the portrait of Michael Collins looks on.
Collins: I hear you were in Amsterdam?
Kenny: Yes. In Germany as well, on a trade mission. But it started in Amsterdam.
Collins: Did you learn anything about flood defences?
Kenny: Between ourselves, Mick, the press lads warned me to stay well away from the dykes. They were afraid the comparisons with Dutch know-how might be odious.
Collins: That was funny about Joan Burton, wasn’t it?
Kenny: Hilarious. And thank God it wasn’t me.
Collins (peering at newspaper headline): What’s the story about Biffo?
Kenny: Oh yeah. People have started asking why we haven’t put his portrait up in the Dáil yet, along with all the other ex-Taoisigh.
Collins: Which is a fair point. I know he’s not exactly an oil painting – unlike some of us – but you can hardly discriminate against him on aesthetic grounds.
Kenny: I think we just forgot. It’s his own fault for not commissioning the picture while he was still in the job. Bertie had his done years before he quit. I’ll get Heather to put it out to tender this week. Maybe we could get an abstract version of him.
Collins (still reading headlines): Speaking of Flood defences, how are your Moriarty ones?
Kenny: What?
Collins: The other tribunal. (He quotes from the papers) “Criminal Assets Bureau to question O’Brien on tribunal findings”.
Kenny: Hmm, yes. That’ll be a bit embarrassing, if it happens. But I see they still need to gather more material first. So with any luck, the interview will be a couple of years away yet. At any that rate, if they ever to do a Slab Murphy on him, please God, I’ll be safely retired.
Collins: Have you commissioned your portrait yet?
Kenny: Now that you mention it, I must get Heather on that too.

Letters to the Editor
Hook: shameful record

Email: guff@southsidetimes.con (no attachments – or anyone earning less than €100,000)
Post: Nonsense Dept, Humbug Street, D2, Eire (beside UK)
Follow Letters page on Twitter: @ITCrap

Note: please provide name and address so we can weed out any non-professionals. Letters may be edited or cut – especially if from the northside


 

Failed rugby pundit

Hook: shameful record

Hook: shameful record

Sir, – With regard to my upcoming role as defence coach to Ireland under Joe Schmidt, I have been inundated with heartfelt congratulations from rugby enthusiasts everywhere. But while Irish players have a proud reputation, the same cannot be said for the so-called pundits who are an absolute blight on the game. In particular, the self-styled alpha male George Hook has a shameful record for bringing rugby into disrepute.
Hook – or “Hooky” as he childishly calls himself – has spent a lifetime in the public eye, shouting his mouth off about the first thing that comes into his head. His dismal radio programme demonstrates an abject failure to either inform or entertain unfortunate listeners. Every time one of his guest tries to speak, Hook comes in from the side to launch another of his vicious tackles. When-oh-when will this shameless self-publicist get off the pitch and give everyone a break?
Yours, etc,
Andy Farrell
Twikenham Stadium
London

Renua manifesto

Sir, – There seems to have been some misunderstanding amongst certain sectors of the electorate with regard to our election manifesto. Apparently, some people find our three strikes and you’re out policy on crime somewhat harsh, while others see no merit whatsoever in our 23% flat tax proposal. And so on and so on…
It is important to state, then, that these are merely proposals. Of course, if circumstances change and we ultimately are forced to apply the exact opposite of what we are saying, then we will instantly and patriotically reverse any policy necessary. That way, our party can remain your servant in government at all costs. Please!
Yours, etc,
Lucinda Creighton,
Renua HQ,
Chancertown

Moore Street controversy

Mike Moneybags makes another killing

Mike Moneybags makes another killing

Sir, – As one of wealthiest property developers in the country, I find the current Moore Street controversy difficult to understand. In general, I find that people are far too hung up on preserving old buildings and public spaces. Indeed, I recently saw an Old Georgian facade in Dublin city centre that could be tastefully redeveloped into a Burger King outlet, and I also noticed a park that would be perfect for a hotel and retail complex. What’s everyone so upset about?!
Mike Moneybags
Dalkey

Flooding insurance

Sir, – As an insurance provider of 47 years’ experience, it was with shock that I read the headlines following the recent flooding, about the Taoiseach “wanting answers” over homeowners and businesses being unable to secure insurance cover.
There seems to be some misconception in Ireland that insurance exists as some sort of panacea or to be ‘wheeled out’ when matters take a turn for the worse! Of course, the truth is that nobody should have to pay for others’ carelessness. In one typical case in the recent floods, we actually had a farmer ‘claiming’ compensation for a flooded field, despite leaving his gate open throughout the weekend! Unbelievable but true.
Yours etc.,
Lou Pole
Dodge Road,
Don’t Cahir

Brexit crisis

Merkel: has high opinion of UK (and herself)

Merkel: has high opinion of UK (and herself)

Sir, – Now that Britain’s Prime Minister is insisting on his misguided plan to hold a referendum on EU membership, I would urge all the important European powers – and Ireland – to encourage British voters to remain within a strong Europe. Mr Cameron has been visiting myself and Monsieur Hollande threatening to go off on his own if he doesn’t get his own way. François and I could hardly conceal our amusement.
For a moment, it appeared that David thought he could rule the entire EU single-handedly – which is, of course, my job. But despite our temporary difficulties, Mr Cameron should never forget that Britain does have a vital role within the EU and that the other 27 member states really want his country to remain. After all, Britain unites the rest of us in absolute loathing.
Yours, etc,
Angela Merkel
Berlin

Alcohol guidelines

Sir, – After years of suffering unsatisfactory working conditions as a post-primary teacher in Ireland, I will shortly take up a position as a maths tutor in a British college. However, I am a sociable fellow and the recent drink limits announced by Britain’s Chief Medical Officer have left me in a quandary. Does anyone at all know the rate of exchange for pints between Ireland and Britain? I’d hate to make a bad impression by over-indulging on my first day, but at the same time I don’t want to come across as a ‘boring ol’ Paddy’ by going home to bed too early.
Yours etc.
Al Gebra
Mullingar


THE IRISH TIMES receives a great many awful letters each day and, thankfully, it is possible to find space for only a small selection. We regret that we can’t publish even fewer of them.

€15 for suitable contributions. Email letters@thephoenix.ie

RTÉ search for new director general
Phoenix BW

by Our Media Staff
Phillipa Column

As speculation continues about who is to be RTÉ’s new director-general, several prominent names have emerged as front-runners for what has been described as “the biggest job in Irish broadcasting”.
However, current deputy-director Kevin Bratwurst, a former BBC News executive, is being widely tipped as the favourite for the role of running the organisation.
Meanwhile, Communications Minister Alex White has defended the high pay package (believed to be in the region of €250,000) on offer to the next DG.
“If we don’t pay these sort of inflated salaries to our top executives,” said Mr Whitewash, “then people with outstanding talent, such as Kevin, will be snapped up by the private sector, where they will use their unique expertise to ensure that rival commercial stations are fully stocked up with clip-boards and paperclips – and that is a situation that we have to avoid at all costs.”

Election latest

028px Humour.indd_Page_1_Image_0004FOOTBALL BOSSES Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini are being head-hunted by all the major political parties ahead of the upcoming general election. The duo have been banned from football activities after an investigation by the Fifa Ethics Committee into a payment made by Blatter to Platini. Blatter claimed it was a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ and totally above board.
One TD commented: “That’s the kind of initiative we need on the ticket. ‘A gentleman’s agreement’, brilliant! I love it – them two would fit in perfectly.” However, a deputy from a rival party insisted he was also keen to sign up the controversial duo. “Delusion, hubris, denial, fondness for a bit of ‘off the books’ cash,” he commented, “these lads have Irish politics written all over them.”

Mumbo Jumbo

Trinity College Dublin is seeking to appoint a dynamic and highly motivated individual to help drive the University’s knowledge transfer activities for the next seven years… S/he will have highly developed communications and influencing skills and the ability to work with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders.
Advert for Trinity College Dublin


“Key to achieving cycling modal split targets is the provision of safe, secure cycle parking facilities at convenient locations throughout the city.”
Report by Halcrow Barry consultants for Dublin City Council


Ammeon and Mirantis will establish a cloud deployments centre for the EMEA region in Dublin. “Now what we’re seeing is the whole market is starting to move towards open-source cloud, the ecosystem around that is our strength.”
Fred Jones, chief executive Ammeon

 



€15 offered for suitable examples of business jargon: goldhawk@thephoenix.ie

LIGHTWEIGHT KNOCKED OUT IN 13 SECONDS

Conor McGregor is celebrating his latest triumph after knocking out lightweight opponent Enda Kenny in just 13 seconds. In front of a packed house in Las Vegas, McGregor saw off the Mayo man in record time, leaving Kenny’s entourage – headed by Michael Noonan and Angela Merkel – to attempt to console the humiliated fighter.
The mismatch commenced with Kenny hesitantly advancing from his corner, indecisively dancing around the election date. This was met with a devastating upper cut from McGregor, which left Kenny dazed and mumbling nonsensically about economic recovery. With Kenny clearly incoherent – even making a comment about the banking inquiry report being completed on time – McGregor delivered the knock-out blow.
Afterwards, an emotional Kenny called for a rematch. “I deserve another shot,” he declared as boos rang out around the arena. He is unlikely to get his wish however, with the field of Irish political lightweights growing ever more crowded.


Kenny Reveals New Look For Election Campaign

McELVANEY SPEAKS OUT
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HUGH MCELVANEY says there are still plenty of wind farm opportunities in Monaghan and warned potential investors not to be put off by RTÉ’s shenanigans. The ex-Fine Gael councillor caught out the national broadcaster in a reverse sting, showing them up as part of a genius double jeopardy plot.
But McElvaney is now concerned that those wishing to invest might not be so keen after seeing the programme. “The message I would have is that Monaghan is open for business,” he said. “Don’t pay any attention to that shower in Dublin. I am willing to offer my expertise in all areas of wind development, especially when it comes to hot air. People will recognise my ability to spin, so I could have those pylons turning 25 hours a day to maximise production. I think people will realise that this is a
unique opportunity. Call me.”

Councillor doesn’t ask for bribe shock

by Our Political Staff – Phil Wallet

THE Irish political scene was rocked today by the revelation that a local councillor had not asked for money in exchange for introducing an undercover RTÉ reporter to a network of influential government contacts.
In an immediate reaction, other councillors from all the main parties condemned their colleague, saying, “This man is an absolute disgrace to local government and clearly has no respect for either himself or the proud traditions of Irish politics. But the vast majority of corrupt councillors should not be tarnished just because there’s one non-rotten apple in the barrel”.
Meanwhile, Independent Councillor Mike Madeup last night told reporters: “It’s scandalous that this individual didn’t ask for a €500,000 bribe – especially as most of us are quite prepared to accept a fraction of that amount.”

McELVANEY’S GREAT CHRISTMAS SALE

This is the season to be generous and just to prove that generosity works two ways, we at McElvaney’s ‘Planning and Investment Scheme Services ‘(PISS) are offering you these fabulous one-off reductions in our advisory service over the festive season.

 Was:  Now Only:
 Industrial Development:  €20,000  €15,000!!!
 House Building:  €16,000  €12,000!!!
 Home Extension:  €10,000  €8,000!!!
 Swimming Pool:  €8,000  €5,000!!!
  • Terms & conditions: All transactions in cash. Full payment in advance. Brown envelopes and cardboard boxes only. No cameras or recording devices allowed.
  • Sterling very much accepted.

e-mail: mcelvaney.takethepiss@monaghan.con

Calls to bring Mannion to France

By Our Meteorological Staff

Pressure was growing on Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill last night to include sensational weather star Teresa Mannion in his squad for next year’s European Championships. The calls to bring the Galway-based reporter to France follow her amazing performance in the televised confrontation with Hurricane Desmond recently. “We’re going to have to weather similar storms around our penalty box in France, with high balls raining down on us, waves of attacks, and nifty foreigners flooding the area with their free-flowing skills,” says one diehard fan. “When it comes to batting down the hatches, I’d have Mannion over McCarthy any day to get us out of trouble. She’s a very commanding figure and would tackle anything.”


Euro Draw Shock!

FLOOD WATERS INUNDATE DUBLIN

by Our Wet Office Staff, Jawn Waters

WITH ADVERSE weather conditions continuing to cause havoc across Central Dublin last night, there were harrowing scenes in Kildare Street when unprecedented floods of tears left over a hundred people stranded and fearing for their political lives.
Leinster House was particularly badly hit, with unprecedented floods rising to above shoulder level, as ministers lined up to express sympathy for people affected by rivers bursting their banks.
“One minute we were all enjoying a well-earned rest while Michael Noonan explained how the Banking Inquiry fiasco was such a great success,” said one ashen-faced TD, “and then suddenly the water level started rising when the Taoiseach spoke at length about his deep personal concern for the victims of Storm Desmond.”
The situation worsened considerably as environment minister Alan Kelly burst into tears and water began lapping around Simon Coveney and Frances Fitzgerald.
“It was amazing how the floodgates just opened,” said another deputy. “Thanks to this terrible disaster, we now have a golden opportunity to cry crocodile tears and hope that voters will look kindly on us in the run-up to the forthcoming election.”


FLOODING CRISIS WORSENS

US Airforce on ‘high alert’ as Wallace and Daly released

By Stephen ‘Phil’ Collins

American defence officials say its airforce has been placed on “level 10 red alert” following news that Wexford TD Mick Wallace has been released from prison. “We are taking no chances”, says Senior Air Command Officer Larry Sodaguzzler. “This crazed, pink-shirted hippy and his partner in crime could strike again. They obviously have it in for the American airforce and are capable of doing anything, including looking in the window of our warpla… er, near-empty, unarmed aircraft stopping off for a social visit and a coffee. It’s diabolical that they should be free to walk the fields armed with lethal wire cutters. These people must not be allowed to stop our peaceful bombing raids that weren’t refuelling in Ireland about half-an-hour ago.”

New Trump outrage

by Our Political Corr, Phil Column

Having run out of minorities to attack, Donald Trump has called on his own supporters to be deported. At a rally where the Republican candidate stood amidst hundreds of his own fans, he shouted that in order to “make America great again” everyone would have to go. The unusual plea was met with resounding cheers as the audience was whipped into a frenzy, “Out, out, out!” they chanted.

McGREGOR SALUTES MANNION

MOTORMOUTH CONOR McGregor has hailed Teresa Mannion for her outstanding display of reporting during Storm Desmond. The RTÉ employee went viral after her live report from a rain-lashed Salthill in Galway.
The UFC star said: “She flailed around hysterically, talked absolute guff and generally hammed it up for the cameras, so I think she’d be right at home in the world of MMA. For good measure, she’s going to make a packet on royalties after going viral with that rap version. She has my approval.”

TRAVELLERS TURNED AWAY FROM INN
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In a harrowing Yuletide tale, two weary travellers were turned away from an inn in Limerick because there was no room. Echoing the story of the Nativity, the bedraggled couple were refused entry to accommodation after a long trek in stormy weather and had to return home.
Denied the publicity that would have come with staying “at least a night”, TDs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly vowed to return someday. “We saw flashing blue lights and followed an (Irish Daily) Star (reporter) to the door,” said Wallace. “It was magical. But when we arrived they checked the books and we were turned away. But we won’t change our beliefs, we’ll be back one day. Our faith in publicity stunts will not be shaken by this experience.”

BAD SEASONAL CHAT-UP LINES

  • “ESRI report and chill?”
  • “Fancy going to an industrial tribunal next week?”
  • “I have a couple of passes to the next Siptu conference.”
  • “Eamon Gilmore’s memoir is amazing.”
  • “Have you read Cliff Taylor’s latest Irish Times column?”
  • “I love when Philip Boucher Hayes stands in on Liveline.“
  • “Matt Cooper book and chill?”
CHRISTMAS MOVIE HIGHLIGHTS

028px Humour.indd_Page_1_Image_0004Return to the Jungle of the Apes
Leo Varadkar plays Tarzan in this classic remake of a seasonal movie favourite. Includes unforgettable spectacular outdoor sequence when all the creepy-crawly friends furiously climb the greasy pole. Co-starring a feisty Frances Fitzgerald as Jane and Simon Coveney as Cheetah.

Psycho IV
Latest re-make of Hitchcock’s horror masterpiece. Watch out for the hair-raising shower scene when Donald Trump lashes out at hundreds of imaginary naked Muslims. The image of Republican hopes going down the plug-hole is an incredible cinematic experience.

The Unelectables
A group of one-time superheroes are forced to live anonymously on the Labour benches in Dáil Éireann. Unwanted and unloved, they have lost all their former powers. Will they manage to make a comeback? No. Can they return and save their skins? Not a chance. Hilarious festive fun.

The Conman
David Drumm stars in this hearty-warming family extravaganza in which Irish taxpayers look out the window and see the Conman come to life while the country’s financial regulatory authorities sleep. Suddenly, the Conman takes off through the air, but his hopes of escape melt away when a cruel Boston judge sends him to prison.

(That’s enough awful movies – Ed.)

That historic climate change agreement
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  • 50% increase in hot air from Barack Obama
  • 10 degree rise in temperature amongst environmentalists
  • 100 percent increase in politicians patting themselves on the back
  • 70 percent increase in corporations looking for loopholes in restrictions
  • Enda Kenny and Irish cabinet to maintain current rate of noxious emissions
RTÉ CHRISTMAS TV

Christmas Eve

  • Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas Eve Special
  • Carols from the Áras with Mrs Brown and Panti Bliss
  • Strictly Come Mrs Brown Semi Finals

Christmas Day

  • Mrs Brown’s Toys Christmas Day Special
  • The Mrs Brown Xmas Factor
  • Mrs Brown’s Buoys (flood crisis documentary)

New Year’s Day

  • Mrs Brown’s New Year’s Day Special (Repeat)
  • The Great Irish Christmas Bake Off with Mrs Brown
  • Mrs Brown’s Christmas Panto-on-Ice Special

(That’s enough Mrs Brown. Oh yes, it is! – Ed)

The Wesht Wing

Scene 1: The Taoiseach’s office. Enda Kenny reads the papers as the portrait of Michael Collins looks on.
Collins: So the Cop-on conference was a success after all? I hope you got some when you were out there.
Kenny: It was called COP21, Mick – as you well know. And it wasn’t about me, it was about the future of the planet. Which, thankfully, now looks more secure.
Collins: I don’t remember you being so enthusiastic about the issue beforehand. But sure, jump on the bandwagon anyway, why don’t you? By the way, you’ve a call coming in on line one there – I think it’s your press officer.
Kenny: What? (The phone rings, as predicted. A little spooked, he picks it up.)
Fergal Purcell: Hi Taoiseach. Just warning you about an RTÉ Investigates programme tonight. It’s an exposé on corrupt councillors. And, er, you remember Hughie McElvaney?
Kenny (sighing): Unfortunately yes. What did he do now?
Purcell: Suffice to say he’s the star of the programme. Jesus. It’s like something Oliver Callan made up.
Kenny: Oh dear.
Purcell: The good news is he resigned from Fine Gael last week. On a point of – wait for it – principle. The north-south inter-connector, I think.
Kenny: Thank God for the north-south inter-connector.
Purcell: Yes. But we had him for 40 years before that, so we’ll probably still get some flak.
Kenny: Okay – thanks for the warning. (He puts down phone). Jayzus. From solving the world’s climate problems to having to deal with the likes of Hughie McElvaney. (To Collins) What was it your old pal Churchill said after the first world war? “As the deluge subsides, and the waters fall short again, the dreary steeples of Fermonaghan and Tyrone rise into view.”
Collins: Eh, I think it was “Fermanagh” and Tyrone, he said. Monaghan was one of the bits we got after partition.
Kenny: Don’t I know i? First the Heather debacle. Then Conlon. Now this.
Collins: And by the way, that bit about the deluge subsiding isn’t true either. You have the Minister for Flooding there on Line 2.
Kenny: What? (The phone rings again)
Simon Harris (for it is he): Hi Taoiseach. Bad news from Bandon, I’m afraid.

*************

Scene 2: Toner’s Bar, Baggot Street. Joan Burton and members of the Labour party press office await the arrival of the political correspondents for Christmas drinks.
Burton: Are you sure you told them Toner’s?
Press officer 1 (showing her his phone): There’s the email we sent. They know it’s here.
Burton: And there’s no story breaking anywhere that would have held them back?
Press officer 2: Not a sausage. But I’ll ring them again and check, just in case.
Burton: It’s very odd. Have you ever known political hacks to pass up the chance of a free drink?
Press officer 1: I heard it happened once back in the ’80s. But it was the night the government fell, or something.
Press officer 2 (hanging up call): Mystery solved – they’re in the Dáil bar. Apparently, a certain environment minister rang from Paris and ordered free drinks for them there as well.
Burton (raising voice): The dirty, double-crossing little b…
Press officer 1 (hushing her): Best not cause a scene, Tánaiste. They’re on the way up now anyway.
Burton (still seething): Kelly is going to push me over the edge one of these days.
Press officer 2 (whispering to Press Officer 1): That’s probably his general plan, alright.

*************

Scene 3: The head offices of Sinn Féin. Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald and Pearse Doherty hold emergency talks.
Adams: So, our intelligence agents in the Blueshirts tell us that Enda is again thinking of going for an early election.
Doherty: Wait a minute, Gerry. Does even Enda himself know what he’s thinking, never mind our intelligence agents?
McDonald: That’s a fair point. But I’m also hearing that the Blueshirts will go for a mid-February date at the latest. They have some good figures in this poll that’s coming out at the weekend. And if the bank inquiry is delayed, they’re definitely going to cut and run.
Adams: So if he raises the starter’s flag any time before Feb 7, that’s my Ard Fheis speech off the airwaves?
McDonald: A great tragedy for the people of Ireland, of course. But yes.
Adams: And they’d probably do it out of badness, just to annoy us.
Doherty: I suppose so. Feckin Staters.
Adams: Right – I’m calling it. We postpone the Ard Fheis until later in the year. As of now, we’re on election footing. Tell all units.

*************

Scene 4: The end of the British-Irish summit, Armagh. As the Taoiseach prepares to return to Dublin, he bids a final farewell to the North’s outgoing First Minister.
Enda Kenny: Any regrets at all, Peter?
Peter Robinson: Well, not about my time as first minister. As for my earlier career, maybe there are one or two things I’d have done differently.
Martin McGuinness (whispering in his ear): Like push Paisley under a bus 15 years earlier?
Robinson: Ha, ha – good one Martin. But seriously, between ourselves, I’m sorry I ever invaded that wee village in Monaghan all those years ago – what do you call it again?
McGuinness: Clontibret. Right enough. That wasn’t your finest hour.
Kenny: Ah now. We all make mistakes. No need to apologise for that, Peter.
Robinson: Very generous of you, Taoiseach.
Kenny: In fact (he draws Robinson to one side, out of McGuinness’s ear-shot), if you guys would like to take Monaghan altogether, we’d be willing to listen to offers.
Robinson: Seriously?
Kenny: Yes. We should never have got it in the first place. The Boundary Commission slipped up there.
Robinson: Well, okay. Let me think about it. I’ll get Arlene to give you a ring when she’s settled in.

Letters to the Editor
Reilly: innovative

Email: guff@southsidetimes.con (no attachments – or anyone earning less than €100,000)
Post: Nonsense Dept, Humbug Street, D2, Eire (beside UK)
Follow Letters page on Twitter: @ITCrap

Garda Inspectorate report

Gardaí reflect on the Garda Inspectorate report

Gardaí reflect on the Garda Inspectorate report

Sir, – As a Garda Síochána desk staffer of 28 years stan… er, sitting, I am extremely concerned about the latest Garda Inspectorate report, which states that too many gardaí are desk-bound. As with many such high-falutin’ undertakings, it is high on aspiration and low on reality.
In particular, the report completely fails to address the dangers of walking. Too often from where I slee… er, sit in the corner of the reception area by the coffee machine, I have seen colleagues carried into the station having been downed by various means – ranging from uncontrolled dogs to untied shoelaces. Then there are the health risks associated with eating while ‘on the go’. All scientific studies worldwide testify that eating a burger and chips demands sitting down, whether at a desk, squad car or betting shop counter.
Do we really want more of the lads falling foul of these dangers – with the inevitable result of even less gardaí fit and available to check dog licences and sign passport forms?
Yours, etc,
Garda Stan Dupp
Offaly

Heavy weather

Sir, – As a mother of two boys aged 4 and 6, I wish to object most strongly to RTÉ reporter Teresa Mannion’s irresponsible and alarmist weather report last week. Having left my children momentarily alone in the sitting room while RTÉ’s six o’clock news bulletin was being broadcast, I was alarmed to hear their screams of terror as Ms. Mannion delivered her stark warnings.
It subsequently took three hours of reassurance by my partner and I to soothe the kids’ worries about “bad weather” getting us all. Since then, my youngest lad is in deep dread of having a bath or even flushing the toilet, while his brother persistently refuses to go upstairs under any circumstances, for fear of it being deemed an “unnecessary journey”. Thank you very much Ms. Mannion and RTÉ for destroying our lives!
Yours, etc,
Terry Fied,
Tidestown,
County Waterford

American gun control

A Michelle Fiore supporter gears  up for Xmas

A Michelle Fiore supporter gears up for Xmas

Sir, – As a homegrown, white Christian American citizen, I wish to express my full support for State Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, who has exercised her fundamental right to send out personal Christmas cards to her closest friends. Her seasonal greetings depict the extended Fiore family posing beside the festive tree and brandishing legally-held weapons.
At this time of peace and goodwill, Michele reminds us that guns are a vital part of our honoured tradition and have numerous everyday uses. For example, a short burst of gunfire can quickly attract the attention of a waitress in a busy restaurant. Weapons are also handy for scaring away unwanted crows, illegal Mexican drug-dealers and all Muslim immigrants.
Guns rarely cause trouble – apart from the odd mass murder shooting spree. But perhaps if we had fewer schools and cinemas, these events wouldn’t happen. Personally, I favour greater arms control and believe that semi-automatic weapons should be restricted to white Republicans only. You can’t argue with that – especially as I am currently the proud owner of several handguns and three assault rifles.
Yours, etc,
Walter P. Gunbarrel
Idaho

Smacking ban

Reilly: innovative

Reilly: innovative

Sir, – Now that my latest innovative measure of introducing a ban on corporal punishment has come into law, I am confident that Ireland will finally be recognised as a modern civilised society. For far too long, senior members of the Government have been subjected to daily abuse and embarrassment.
It is particularly gratifying to know that viewers will no longer have to watch RTÉ’s Oireachtas Report and witness the horrifying spectacle of important ministers like myself being torn to pieces by Mary Lou McDonald. The so-called ban on smacking reinforces positive discipline strategies, such as letting us do whatever we like and then voting us back into office.
Yours, etc,
Dr James Reilly
Government Buildings

Third level loans

Sir, – As a recent graduate currently working three jobs to pay off my half-a-million student loan, I would like to welcome the Government’s recent report into third level fees, titled Funding Third Level Education: F****d If We Know. The report suggests students pay E25 a week over 15 years, which is certainly an improvement on my current arrangement of repaying E20,000 a week until early into the 22nd century.
If there is one bright line on the horizon in tertiary education, it is that the quality of tuition remains very high. I studied English in college and an apposite line comes to mind: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” I think this quote from Shakespeare adequately sums up the quandary in which we currently find ourselves.
Yours, etc,
John Skint
Laois


THE IRISH TIMES receives a great many awful letters each day and, thankfully, it is possible to find space for only a small selection. We regret that we can’t publish even fewer of them.


€15 for suitable contributions. Email letters@thephoenix.ie

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE
PETER ROBINSON ARLENE FOSTER
   
 Old face of DUP reactionary loyalism  New face of DUP reactionary loyalism
 Despises Shinners  Finds Sinn Féin despicable
 Really loathes UUP bastards  Hates Ulster Unionists even more
 Diehard dull Unionist time-server  Dull time-serving diehard Unionist
 Has colourful wife  Has colourless husband
Enda Kenny’s comments “unacceptable” – Trump
Donald Trump

by Our Political Staff – Martin Wail

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

US REPUBLICAN presidential candidate Donald Trump has said that recent remarks made by Taoiseach Enda Kenny are “totally unacceptable”.
Mr Trump was responding to a speech given by the outspoken Fine Gael leader in which he suggested that all left-wing TDs should be banned from re-entering politics after next year’s elections.
“Enda Kenny is a loose cannon who is now demanding a total and complete shutdown of lefties entering the Dáil,” said Mr Trump last night. “Everything he says is such an affront to basic human dignity that I feel deeply ashamed to think that I once shook his hand and shared the red carpet with him during my visit to Co Clare last year.”
Mr Kenny has made numerous gaffes over recent weeks, mocking Opposition deputies and even claiming that he was seriously concerned about standards in public office. However, many political observers believe that he is simply courting controversy in the hope of becoming Taoiseach again in 2016.