Latest from the Blog:

Danger of red meat scare stories
Phoenix BW

by Our Health Staff Dr Strangelove

It’s official. Reports about the dangers of eating red meat products are bad for consumers. The latest survey has found conclusive evidence that warnings about consuming sausages, bacon, hamburgers and reading scary newspaper articles are guaranteed to make you ill and shorten your life by “up to 20 years”.
“These recent findings directly contradict earlier surveys about the benefits of eating sausages, bacon, hamburgers and reading scary newspaper articles,” said one leading Dublin editor, Mike Madeup. “Nevertheless, they are still a stark reminder that we are always desperate to fill space on a Monday when there is no other news.”
Meanwhile, the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, today conceded that red meat products could carry a certain amount of risk.
“Vigilance is key,” said Mr Coveney. “I strongly recommend any minister who wishes to enjoy a healthy career to stay well clear of this highly dangerous issue.”

“Lefty parties can’t be trusted,” warn Labour
Phoenix BW

The Labour Party has again dismissed Sinn Féin’s Right2Change transfer pact with Independent candidates, and has urged voters not to “be taken in” by the strategy. A spokesman for the party warns, “You know what these lefty types are like – one day it’s all about ‘helping the poor’, and then as soon as they get power they want to get rid of poverty altogether. Talk about hypocrisy! The problem is, some people will say anything to get into power.”

Burton latest
Joan Burton

TÁNAISTE Joan Burton says “there is no doubt” that Labour environment minister Alan Kelly and FG finance minister Michael Noonan will reach a deal on rent certainty in due course.

Joan Burton

Joan Burton

“Mr. Noonan is a very clever politician who is great with sums and Alan whatsisname is a very talented listener who is also great at… y’know… lots and lots of things,” assures the Labour leader. “They are both very serious about the issue. I could hear them discussing it intensely in Mr. Noonan’s office this morning before the younger man came out to wash the blood off his shirt.”

On other pages:

  • ‘It’s definitely not Alan Kelly’s fault’, says Alan Kelly.
  • ‘We nearly had agreement but his bald head slipped out of Alan Kelly’s headlock’, says Alan Kelly.
  • ‘Sign your name to them or else stop the anonymous death threats to Alan Kelly’, says Alan Kelly
SPOT THE DIFFERENCE
article-default
OLD ANGELUS NEW ANGELUS
Vague images of wishy-washy sunsets Wishy-washy images of hazy sunsets
Chimes indicating that the news is on Chimes indicating that the news is on
Catholic Mammy baking bread Young couple eating sushi and baklava
More popular than Ray D’Arcy More popular than Ray D’Arcy
Film of fishing boat off Irish coast RTÉ all at sea as usual
The Wesht Wing

The Wesht Wing

Scene 1: The bustling corridors of Government Buildings (Wesht Wing). En route to a Cabinet meeting, the Taoiseach bumps into the Minister for Arts and Heritage. They walk and talk.
Enda Kenny: Well, Heather. How’s all the 1916 stuff going?
Heather Humphreys: Very good, Taoiseach – I hope. Although I’m a bit worried about the effect it’s having on people.
Kenny: What do you mean?
Humphreys: Well, everybody’s using military terminology lately. Eamon Gilmore’s talking about being shot at dawn. Alan Kelly’s calling himself “AK 47”. And now John Perry’s comparing the party’s refusal to select him as an “execution”.
Kenny: Hmm, I suppose there is a lot of that around, alright.
Humphries: And you were doing it yourself too, Taoiseach.
Kenny: How? When?
Humphreys: You know – that story you made up about Patrick Honohan saying you’d need to have the army guarding ATMs.
Kenny (offended): I did not make that up, Heather. It really happened. Just not in a “specific” way, if you know what I mean
Humphreys: Oh right – my mistake, Taoiseach. Anyway, so long as the Shinners don’t start getting military ideas again, we’ll be alright.
Kenny: Indeed.

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

Scene 2: A Cabinet sub-committee meets to discuss the housing crisis. Alan Kelly is last to arrive.
Michael Noonan (sarcastically): Here he comes. The most dangerous gunman out of Tipperary since Dan Breen.
Kelly: That’s me. AK 47 – licensed to kill.
Noonan: I get the AK bit, Alan. But is the “47” a reference to your age or your IQ?
Kelly: Neither, Baldy. It’s my prediction of the number of seats you f**kers will be reduced to after the election, thanks to your failure to solve the housing crisis, among other things.
Noonan: You might be right. But however many seats we lose, it’ll be nothing like the Labour meltdown.
Kelly: The important thing is that I get reelected, at least. Then I can rescue the party from the disaster Joan led us into.
Noonan: So that’s what this doomed campaign for rent certainty is about? I mean, you know it’s not feasible. And even your own TDs don’t support it.
Kelly: It’s called the triumph of failure, Michael. It worked for Pearse and Connolly, you might remember.
Noonan: I think you may be even shorter of guns than they were, AK. But good luck with the revolution.

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

Scene 3: A prison cell in Kilmainham (Wesht Wing) Dawn.

Warder: (opening cell door): It’s time.
Eamon Gilmore (finishing a letter to his loved ones and putting it in an envelope). I’m ready. (He hands the envelope to the warder). You’ll see that gets delivered, won’t you?
Warder: You can count on it, Mr Gilmore. (They walk down the corridor, passing the cell of another condemned man, who peers through the bars).
Pat Rabbitte (for it is him): Good luck, Eamon.
Gilmore: Thanks Pat. We fought the good fight, anyway.
Rabbitte (thrusting something though the bars): Here – take my copy of the Good Book. It’ll sustain you in your final moments.
Gilmore (reading title): The Communist Manifesto. Thanks comrade.
(They pass another cell, where a female voice is heard)
Gilmore: Who’s in there?
Warden: That’s Countess Burton.
Gilmore (suddenly shouting through door): You’ll get yours too, Burton – sooner or later.
Burton: No I won’t. They’ll never shoot a woman.
Warden (whispering to Gilmore): She’s wrong there. I hear there’s an AK47 with her name on it, even now.
Gilmore: She had it coming.
(They leave the corridor and step out into the Stonebreakers Yard. Suddenly a bell rings somewhere far off.)
Gilmore (waking up at home): Don’t shoot! What? Where am I?
Mrs Gilmore: You’re in bed. (She sighs). Don’t tell me. You had that dream again, didn’t you? I’ve told you before, you need counselling.

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

Scene 4: The Fine Gael Parliamentary Party Meeting. After an impassioned speech comparing the Fine Gael candidate selection policy to a military tribunal, John Perry awaits the result of a secret ballot on the motion to add him to the ticket in Sligo-North Leitrim. He sees the party chairman approach with the result.
Perry: Well?
Chairman (taking something from his pocket): You’ll need this.
Perry: What is it?
Chairman: It’s a blindfold.
Perry: Ah Jayzus.
Chairman: I’m authorised to offer you a cigarette too.

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

Scene 5: The Taoiseach’s Office. Enda Kenny reads the newspapers while the portrait of Michael Collins looks on.
Kenny (in triumph): So I wasn’t making it up! Not completely anyway.
Collins: Making what up?
Kenny: The thing about Patrick Honohan telling me I’d have to have the army guarding the ATMs.
Collins: So he’s admitting he did say that after all?
Kenny: Eh, no. But it says here there was a contingency plan that, if the euro collapsed, the army would stamp all euros as “punts”, temporarily.
Collins: Actually, the past five years have been a bit like the euro contingency plan – except it was Fianna Fáil that collapsed. Then all their policies were just re-stamped “Fine Gael” and everything carried on as before.
Kenny: Thanks Michael. But if you don’t mind, come the election campaign, I’ll be presenting the facts a little differently.
Collins: No better man.

Letters to the Editor
letters to editor

Latest Syrian talks

Sir, – May I be the first to welcome my latest initiative in Vienna to invite all the interested parties to bring about a lasting solution to the war in Syria.

The results of the latest UN peace initiative

The results of the latest UN peace initiative

If all goes well, UN observers will be allowed to remain in the country, unhindered in their efforts to stand by and do nothing. I urge America and Russia – and all the other old enemies involved in such crucial talks – to work together for a common purpose.
If the will is there, I am convinced that we can ensure that all the warring factions agree/disagree that President Bashar goes/stays, so that this terrible conflict will soon continue indefinitely/last forever.
Yours, etc,
Ban Ki-Moon
New York

Gender quotas

Sir, – With the general election only months away, there is increasing public debate about cross-gender participation. Let me make it clear that Renua Ireland believes strongly in gender quotas. Indeed, we would be delighted to welcome all consenting individuals of all genders – male, female and gender fluid – to join us as candidates. You don’t need any qualifications or strong political views – I will take care of all of that.

Creighton: loves to hear new voices (who agree with her)

Creighton: loves to hear new voices (who agree with her)

Running as one of our candidates will provide a short break from your mundane day-to-day activities. You might even get involved in politics. In addition, you will meet Eddie Hobbs (who will take care of reimbursing lost deposits) and get your photo in the local papers for a few weeks. Best of all, I can assure interested parties that it’s not a long-term commitment and I can guarantee that you will be able to resume your usual lifestyle by next Easter.
Yours, etc,
Lucinda Creighton
Dublin 2

Car temperature

Sir, – Does anyone else have misgivings about the heating system on the modern Opel car ranges? I have experienced difficulties with three models in the past fortnight, with all three proving unreliable and untrustworthy and necessitating my replacing the entire vehicle.
Certainly, the new system quickly eliminates windscreen hydration, but even the lowest setting with basic fan assist, seems to cause overheating in the dashboard area. Indeed my wife, a front seat passenger, suffered considerable singeing to her eyebrows on two occasions and one of my in-laws experienced severe heat exhaustion in the rear seat.
I have now switched to Vauxhall and while it takes longer to heat up, the warmth does seem more evenly distributed and less intrusive, although I find it can impart some drowsiness when even a short whiff of exhaust fumes permeate an open window.
Yours, etc, 
Dee Icer,
Flamestown,
Co. Offalywarm

One for all

Sir, – I realise there may be some television viewers who will not so readily adapt to the updated People’s Angelus service now being broadcast on RTÉ television. However the reason for this alteration in the service is quite simple.

A priest reacts to the new Angelus

A priest reacts to the new Angelus

In short, while RTE fully recognises and respects the traditional values that prevail in this country, it is important that we meet the needs and requirements of individuals, couples, groups and communities in a modern country, whose society aspires towards the values of multiculturalism in a diversely denominational and secular manner, and which embraces all creeds and none, with complete disregard towards bias based on skin colour, ethnicity or genetic origin, while being agnostic, yet reverent, as to whether one is able-bodied or disabled, gay, heterosexual, transgender, gender fluid, or otherwise.
Hopefully that clears it up. We feel the new broadcast model will accurately respect those values, as has already been appreciatively represented by a woman baking bread.
Yours, etc,
Mike Madeup
Head of Religious Affairs
RTE, Donnybrook

Coin rounding

Sir, – I don’t want to cause unnecessary panic, but I’ve just been told by a man in the know that the entire army – tanks, bazookas, helicopters, the whole shebang! – are poised to go out and protect the populace if there is any hassle over the coining roundups!

Kenny: apocalyptic

Kenny: apocalyptic

I’m further informed that they are polishing their bayonets in barracks across the country even as I write this, and that a bloodbath of biblical proportions isn’t ruled out. Ireland is on the verge of apocalyptic meltdown if people lose control of their emotions. I urge retailers to round some items downwards to to help diffuse this crisis.
Yours, etc,
Enda Kenny,
Dáil Éireann & Mayo

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

Brooklyn Movie – The Revenge Of Tóibín
Brooklyn Movie The Revenge Of Tóibín
Brooklyn Movie  The Revenge Of Tóibín

Brooklyn Movie – The Revenge Of Tóibín

In Colm Tóibín’s 180th edition of this riproaring novel, the author himself plays hero, villain, supporting actors and stand-ins. He also directs the movie and does the voice overs.
Writing in The Irish Times, Tóibín says, “It’s my best rehash yet but I’m planning my next outing Brooklyn – The Monster Returns, Leaves and Returns Again”. Donald Clarke of The Irish Times gushed that Brooklyn is, “A film so good, it should be placed beside DeVinci’s work in the Uffizi”.
The paper of record has erected a solid gold statue of Tóbín in its office foyer and has bought the rights to the next six million editions of the Brooklyn franchise.

Who will replace Billy Walsh?
Boxing

by Our Boxing Staff Phil Ring

Boxing

VINCENT BROWNE: By far the most suitable replacement, in his opinion. Vinny is known for dishing out remorseless punishment – particularly to viewers of his TV3 show.

LUCINDA CREIGHTON: Well-experienced in political spats, Lucy has fought many battles – though may find amateur boxing slightly tame compared to Fine Gael infighting.

JEREMY CLARKSON: The former Top Gear presenter certainly doesn’t lack drive. Has already made his mark in tough situations and shown that he is more than capable of knocking a few heads together when he sees fit.

ROY KEANE: Ireland’s Raging Bull is dedicated, decisive, edgy, bad-tempered and a safe pair of hands both inside and outside the ring. May possibly baulk at the basic €1m starting salary, however.

(That’s enough candidates – Ed.)

NEXT WEEK’S BESTSELLERS
Phoenix BW

1. Old Stories Of the Rising (Vol 1) by Joe Duffy (Old Rope Press)

2. Callers To Liveline Edited by J. Duffy (Recycled Books)

3. Joe Duffy’s Book Of Traditional 1916 Xmas Recipes (Guff House)

4. Rashers Tierney and Me: The Untold Story by Joe Duffer
(Nostalgia Publications)

5. The A-Z Of 1916 Bandwagon Spin-Offs by Joe Duffy
(Cut-and-Paste Company)

6. Scrapin’ The Oul 1916 Barrel by Joe Dubby (Dead Horse Books)
(We get the idea – Ed.)

WAFFLENOMICS HIGHLIGHTS

WAFFLENOMICS  HIGHLIGHTS

Pleb Summit Discussion Panels
Cosgrave: self-effacing
  • Cosgrave: self-effacing

    Cosgrave: self-effacing

    The Genius Of Paddy Cosgrave

  • Introduction On How To Bonk A Bean Bag by Apple Executives
  • Why Isn’t The Wifi Working?
  • Is There Too Much Hot Air About The Tech Industry?
  • How We’re Going To Piss Off The Portuguese
  • Why Are Tech Multinationals Being Fleeced By The Taxman?
  • Which Pub Will We Head To?
  • Moaning About The Government
  • Where The F**k Is My Invite? (Moderator: E Kenny)
UFC shock
UFC person

THE LATEST UFC Fight Night in Dublin was marred by a “few mindless idiots”, organisers said. UFC Dublin took place at the 3Arena where the crowd was treated to the best of Mixed Martial Arts bouts, including five Irish fighters in action. UFC person
However, after they witnessed defeats for Cathal ‘The Punisher’ Pendred and Paddy ‘The Hooligan’ Holohan, a minority just “clapped politely, walked outside, got on the LUAS and then went home”, according to the promoters.
“It’s not what we like to see,” they said. “There’s no place for that sort of behaviour in UFC. The majority of people were well able to mindlessly jeer competitors, and sing ‘Ole Ole’ and ‘The Fields Of Athenry’ – the kind of thing that makes Conor McGregor so proud. There’s always a few bad apples in such a big crowd, a few mindless idiots.”

Euro qualifier update
MARTIN O’NEILL
MARTIN O’NEILL

Martin O’Neill

MARTIN O’NEILL says he will learn lessons from Ireland’s dismal Rugby World Cup showing when it comes to the Euro play-offs against Bosnia-Herzegovina. “We’ve studied the videos closely and identified a number of excuses we can use after we’ve been beaten,” said O’Neill. “Joe Schmidt is meticulous and left no stone unturned when it came to finding reasons why we couldn’t beat Argentina. Most of these excuses were concocted during the TV3 ad breaks so he had plenty of time to polish them up. We can adapt the lines he used to our sport. For Paul O’Connell read John O’Shea, for Sean O’Brien read Jon Walters. For missed kicks at goal read Robbie Keane, and so on.”

DUNPHY SLAMS ‘JUST ONE HOOLAHAN’ IN O’NEILL SQUAD, SHOCK!
Phoenix BW

Football pundit Eamo Grumpy has criticised Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill’s squad selection ahead of the Euro 2016 play-off against Bosnia & Herzegovina.
“It’s an absolute scandal that Wes Hoolahan is only mentioned once in this squad,” slammed the controversial critic yesterday. “Here we have a player who can literally make a football talk, and who has the attributes of Messi, Ronaldo and Andy Reid all rolled into one, yet this conservative manager mentions him only once in his selection.”
However, the wrinkly analyst urges the manager to “make the most” of the Norwich playmaker’s presence. “He simply has to play Wes – in goal, central midfield and in the channel running off the left side of the diamond. It doesn’t matter who the other eight players are, but if he doesn’t play the world’s greatest ever footballer in those positions we will get stuffed!”

Mumbo Jumbo

Co-founders Will Meara and Chris Flak have invested about €5,000 in their digital detox retreat, Unplug… Prior to attending Unplug 1.0 attendees will be asked to gradually power down their gadgets. The first activity will be blindfolded speed networking while sitting around an open fire.
Sunday Business Post article on the technology wellness retreat company, Unplug

As an IT professional, you’re faced with an unenviable set of complex, diverse and above all dynamic information management risks… You therefore need a partner that understands all facets of the risk ecosystem.
Website for investigation company, Espion

Disruptive Influencers Required: Through continuous development of strong relationships with key research leaders and regular open call programmes for entrepreneurs, NDRC leverages its expertise to turn ventures into robust propositions and its networks to connect ventures with the investor
community.
Job advert for NDRC

 

 

Schmidt vows to find new ways to come up short
Irish Rugby

By Our Rugby Corr, Gerry Thorny

An emotional Joe Schmidt has stated he is determined to find new ways for the Irish rugby team to underachieve following their World Cup exit. “There are a lot of tired minds in that dressing room,” said Schmidt. “The boys are trying to figure out the connotations for sponsorship deals and PR opportunities and it’s not an easy place to be.”

Irish Rugby

Irish Rugby

When asked if he now expected a glut of retirements, the Irish supremo urged his players not to rush to any decisions. “Nobody should make rash choices,” he cautioned. “The best course of action is to put the feet up for a while – some of our lads seemed to commence their holidays from kick-off, so that should stand to them.”
Meanwhile, TV3 have expressed delight at how their rugby coverage has been received. The station has been on ad break since the match ended last Sunday, but a spokesman confirmed they would be interrupting the advertising to cover the semi-finals.

Westlife react to torture revelations
Phoenix BW

By Our Political Staff Dee Sade

A huge storm erupted yesterday after it emerged that the CIA has been using Westlife’s music to torture prisoners in Afghanistan. The news has prompted an outcry from ex-members of the group
An angry Shane Filan last night told reporters: “This is an absolute outrage that has caused untold pain – considering that we still haven’t heard a word about unpaid royalties.”

OTHER WESTLIFE SIDE EFFECTS

  • Sensory deprivation and feelings of nausea as newspapers print full-colour pics of the band.
  • Sudden mood swings when music-lovers recall what they were really like.
  • Extra pounds put in band’s coffers as gullible under-10s download such all-time classics as Flying Without Songs and You Bring Me Down.

    DOB IPod

    DOB IPod

CIA programming 2FM schedules
CIA programming 2FM schedules

Following on from the Westlife CIA torture revelations, it has been further disclosed that the intelligence agency are programming the 2FM daytime schedules.

CIA programming  2FM schedules

CIA programming
2FM schedules

“The fact that 2FM tortures listeners with dross like Westlife, as well as presenters like Eoghan McDermott and Jennifer Maguire, is clear evidence that the station has been infiltrated by CIA agents,” said a confidential source. “This activity has been carried out over a number of years and reached a particularly barbaric level with the inclusion of Ryan Tubridy in the lineup at one point.”
However, legal action by traumatised Irish listeners has been ruled out. “The latest JNLR figures indicate that the audiences are fleeing in droves,”concluded the source. “So its impact will gradually dwindle – much like its relevance.”

Next Week’s Bestsellers
Next Week’s Bestsellers
Next Week’s Bestsellers

Next Week’s Bestsellers

1. Paul O’Connell: The Biography (Vol 1), the only officially authorised biography, by Mike Madeup

2. My Pal, Paulie, by his only authorised best friend, Brian ‘Drico’ O’Driscoll

3. The Paul O’Connell I Never Knew, the opening volume in a trilogy by assorted hangers-on

4. Lock, Stock And Barrel, the unofficial book of risqué rugby jokes, edited by Ronan O’Gara

5. My Pal, Seanie, a personal tribute to Sean O’Brien by the team-mate who knew Sean O’Brien better than anyone else, Brian O’Driscoll

6. 50 Shades of Green, the sensational erotic novel about the sexual dressing-room spectaculars of Ireland’s rugby elite by George Hook

7. The Paul O’Connell Christmas Cookbook, some of his favourite seasonal recipes

8. The O’Connell Diet, behind-the-scenes secrets of how Ireland’s greatest rugby player kept his amazing figure, by Phil Face

(That’s enough bestsellers – Ed.)

TV3 RUGBY COMPETITION TIME
TV3 RUGBY COMPETITION TIME
TV3 RUGBY  COMPETITION TIME

TV3 RUGBY
COMPETITION TIME

Odd 1 Out – One of these guys has absolutely no ball handling experience whatsoever. Can you guess which one?

Here’s a clue: He doesn’t play for Goldman Sachs 3rds or speak like an Australian
with his head stuck in a lavatory. He knows about as much about rugby as Paul
O’Connell knows about men’s synchronised swimming. And he certainly sounds like he has no ball-handling experience!

The winner will receive a boxset of all 55 billion hours of advertising played on TV3 during the Rugby World Cup.

That Budget boxing gesture
That Budget boxing gesture

by Our Dáil Staff Miriam Lurid

That Budget  boxing gesture

That Budget
boxing gesture

Speculation has continued about the controversial “punching” gesture which Enda Kenny made while Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald was speaking in the Dáil.
Experts in interpreting body language have suggested that the Taoiseach’s repetitive hand movement may have been a desperate attempt at anger management – particularly as Deputy McDonald’s speech included accusations that Budget 2016 was designed primarily to bribe voters in the run-up to the General Election.

OTHER POSSIBLE FIST GESTURE MEANINGS

  •  He was simply punching in his time until he gets the boot.
  • Idly dreaming of getting the upper hand on the Shinners.
  •  Taoiseach is palming off the Labour Party as usual.
  • Battering the Irish public with austerity measures (already done)
  •  Killing off Joan Burton’s political career (ditto)

(That’s enough empty gestures – Ed.)

SYRIA LATEST
Phoenix BW

RUSSIA AND THE USA have come to an agreement over bombing sorties in the Middle East. Tensions had escalated between the nations after Syria had agreed to allow Russia to ‘have a go at Isis’. However, President Obama was against this from the outset, saying that Russia shouldn’t be acting like world police.
Now it has been revealed that the two sides have reached an accord. Obama told reporters at the White House: “This is truly a historic day. We have reached a firm agreement with Russia and we will split the bombing duties equally. We’ll take hospitals and wedding celebrations, while the Russians can have schools and toy
factories. We’ll split shepherds between us. There’s plenty of bombing to go around, more than enough for two superpowers.”

Rugby World Cup – TV3 Internal Memo
Keith Woods Head

Howayez,

What’s the story? We’re only getting about 6000 ads a half and we’re missin so many extra moolah-makin opportunities.
We need to think outside the box – oh sorry, I mean the 22 (f***in’ hate this bleedin’ posh sport!)
So here’s me suggestions to get more logos/commercials onto the telly:

1 Keith Wood’s Head – think we could stick a few logos on Woody’s noggin. Give Sony a call and see will they take the spot.

Keith Woods Head

Keith Woods Head

2  Logo For Ball – swap rugby ball for McDonald’s logo when a player is about to score.

Logo for ball

Logo for ball

3  Put extra large Heineken bottles on the lads’ table

Big Bottles

Big Bottles

4 When Sinead is interviewing someone, swap them for the Michelin man

Michelin Man

Michelin Man

THE WESHT WING
The Wesht Wing

The Wesht Wing

Scene 1: The Burlington Hotel, Dublin. After delivering his speech to the Fine Gael president’s dinner, the Taoiseach receives congratulations from his party press officer.
Enda Kenny: Well, how did I do?
Press officer: Not bad. I didn’t notice anyone in the audience falling asleep. But was that true about you spending 20 minutes sitting on a bench in Merrion Square last week talking to a homeless person?
Kenny (lowering his voice and leaning in): Well, between ourselves, it might have more like three minutes, really.
Press officer: Gosh. The head of government sitting down with a homeless person in a park, impromptu. That wouldn’t happen anywhere else.
Kenny: Well, he was sitting, anyway. I might have been standing, technically.
Press officer: Still. It’s impressive. But I hope you won’t putting yourself at risk?
Kenny: No, don’t worry. He was fully vetted by the Special Branch before our impromptu meeting.
Press officer: Right. Next you’ll tell me you got copies of his questions in advance.
Kenny: Ah, no. Who do you think I am? Michael Noonan?
Press officer: Oh well, it’s still a good story, I suppose. By the way (showing Kenny figures on a smart-phone), there’s a new poll in The Sunday Times tomorrow. We’re down three.
Kenny (studying the numbers): Feck.
Press officer: It’s because of your U-turn on the November election, probably.
Kenny: It wasn’t a U-turn. I always preferred a spring poll – I just let speculation to the contrary get out of hand.
Press officer: Yeah, whatever. Anyway, if the media ask about this, you know the line.
Kenny: That I never comment on polls.
Press officer: Correct.
Kenny: Especially bad ones.
Press officer: Don’t say that.
Kenny (still studying the figures): Imagine, only a week after our giveaway budget and we’re three points down. The ungrateful bastards.

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

Scene 2: The Dáil canteen. Joan Burton and Brendan Howlin queue and chat.
Howlin: So, a bit of a bounce in the latest poll?
Burton: Yes (she glances over her shoulder), all the more enjoyable because the Blueshirts are in decline.
Howlin: Enda should have realised that the electorate never likes it when you offer the prospect of an election and then take it away again. Remember Gordon Brown.
Burton: Well, that’ll teach the Mayo bollocks to fly kites without consulting me again.
Howlin: I get the sense, generally, that things are moving in our direction, at last. I mean, we definitely won the tug of war on budget strategy. A 75-25 on spending versus tax cuts. So much for Fine Gael’s 50-50.
Burton: As long as the Eurocrats don’t decide we broke the rules.
Howlin: I’m pretty confident we haven’t, but we’ll see.
Burton: And now Enda’s falling over himself to promise tax cuts and the complete abolition of USC after the election.
Howlin: Well, we’ll leave that fight for another day, if there is one.
Burton: By the way, well done on the Sean O’Rourke show the other day. Even if RTE did give you the questions in advance.
Howlin: Standard procedure, as you know. You still have to deal with the follow-ups and think on your feet. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
Dáil canteen assistant (to Howlin): Tea or coffee?
Burton (to the assistant): I hope you submitted that question in advance?
Canteen assistant: What?
Howlin: Don’t mind her – it’s just a little joke. I’ll have coffee, please. (A suited official steps forward and whispers in his ear. Howlin nods to the canteen assistant.) Actually, strike that. I’ll have tea. Apparently the coffee here is terrible.

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

Scene 3: The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. As Ireland and Argentina prepare to meet in the Rugby World Cup quarter final, the Minister for Sport takes his seat in the VIP area alongside President Michael D Higgins.
Higgins: As you know, Paschal, I’m not particularly au fait with the rugby code. I’d know more about the people’s game – football. Association football of course. In fact, I thought that was the only kind they played in Argentina.
Donohoe: No, they’re fairly good at this too. Although not as good as established countries like us, obviously. Anyway, don’t worry. I’ll explain any bits you have trouble with.
Higgins: On a separate subject, by the way, I see your leader has decided against treating us to a pre-Christmas election? And I was almost looking forward to welcoming a left-wing alliance to the Áras as the new government.
Donohoe (smiling indulgently): Yes, well, I believe your former party colleague Joan Burton had something to say about the matter. But don’t worry, you won’t have too long to wait for the election. Whatever about the left-wing government.
Higgins: Not that it’s for me to say, but if I were Enda, I’d have gone early. The feel-good factor from the budget will evaporate quickly. And the nearer you get to spring, the more chance there is of a metaphorical spanner being thrown into the works somewhere, when you don’t have time to react.
Donohoe: There’s always that risk, I suppose. Even so, I’d be fairly confident of a good result whenever the poll is held. I mean, we’ve done all the heavy lifting at this stage. Things are going to be easier from now on, so long as the electorate don’t take risks with the economy. That’s what we’ll be saying.
Higgins: Well, I hardly need to remind you that Fine Gael has never won two elections in succession.
Donohoe: No, but there’s a first time for everything. It’s a bit like this. You know, Ireland have never reached the last four of the World Cup, either. But this time they’ve done the heavy lifting too – by beating France last week. That’s how we got the easiest quarter final draw of any of the European teams, by the way.
Higgins: I see. So you think we’re on the verge of making history in both politics and rugby?
Donohoue. I’m sure of it. Fine Gael for an overall majority is my prediction. And here… (he thinks for a moment) Ireland by 15.

Letters to the Editor
Denis O’Brien spots some suspicious activity

Who are you?!

Denis O’Brien spots some suspicious activity

Denis O’Brien spots some suspicious activity

Sir, – I wish to communicate with the three men in trenchcoats who were walking some 50 paces behind me for over 900 metres in Dublin city centre at 3.27 last Friday.
I also want to hear from the waiter who loitered at my table for a solid 25 seconds longer than was necessary while dining in a Dublin restaurant, to which I travelled circuitously from Wicklow, by way of Kilkenny, for obvious reasons – and where I dined alone, while heavily disguised in glasses, beard and what I think are known in the public domain as ‘jeans’.
Also, who was the lady in the blue dress who accompanied me in the lift at Dublin Airport yesterday afternoon? And why? To each of you, please inform me as to your true status and the nature of your business within 48 hours.
Yours, etc,
Denis O’Brien,
Rue de la Paranoi…
Wait, why do you want my
address?!

Budget changes

Noonan: progressive

Noonan: progressive

Sir, – It’s hard to find the right language to describe just how well the economic recovery is going. Words like “astounding”, “fantastic” and “fairly average, to be honest” don’t quite do it justice. As a result of my expertise in handling the country’s finances, we can all look forward to a very bright future – and this will coincide with the warm spring weather when the next election is due to take place. This is what the economic experts in my department refer to as “seasonal adjustment”.
The electorate have tired of empty promises, which is why the Government has focused on prudent fiscal management that will result in a utopian paradise. Anyway, now that Budget 2016 has been wildly hailed by the millions of grateful people who will benefit, it is time to maintain our economic success with the politicians, such as myself, who can be trusted.
By this stage, I think the vast majority of voters can be in no doubt that the progressive measures I introduced last week can be aptly summed up as a budget for jobs – especially mine.
Yours, etc,
Michael Noonan
Government Buildings

Northern Ireland Nama deal

Sir, – I wish to place on public record that I utterly reject the latest outrageous claims that I was to receive a payment linked to the £1.2bn Nama sale of its entire Northern Ireland property portfolio.
I wish people would stop focusing on these non-stories and instead pay attention to the issues that matter – like what a total disaster we’re making of running Northern Ireland. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to rush off and temporarily resign again as First Minister.
Yours, etc,
Peter Robinson
Stormont Castle

Web Summit controversy

Donohoe: support

Donohoe: support

Sir, – It saddens me immensely to see such ill-informed commentary circulating with regard to the Government’s alleged lack of support for the annual RDS Web Summit, having been a close witness to the Taoiseach’s personal commitment to ensuring the event was supported and retained in Ireland. A great wrong is being perpetrated.
In fact I witnessed the Taoiseach on at least two occasions give a ‘thumbs up’ sign directly to Paddy Cosgrave across a showroom. I’m talking here of BOTH thumbs, fully raised for at least three seconds. On another occasion, in response to Mr Cosgravy’s 34th appeal for a plan for the event, Mr Kenny gave a detailed reply, which ran to fully four words: “Sure it’ll be grand.”
The Government also drafted a concise document detailing the assistance we could provide. To put the proposed plan into action, the Web Summit would merely have had to liase with 95 different officials across 72 separate departments.
Taking all of this into account, I fail to see what more the Government could have done to keep the event in Dublin.

Yours, etc,
Rascal Donohoe,
Dáil Eireann

Cosgrave: self-effacing

Cosgrave: self-effacing

Sir, – As everyone knows, I am just a humble tech genius who has singlehandedly restored Ireland’s reputation amongst the global business community. As such, I felt my requests for a clear plan from the Government for my legendary Bullsh… er, Web Summit, were legitimate.
For a start, requisitioning the counties of Kildare, Meath and Wicklow to provide parking facilities scarcely seems much of a stretch. Similarly, putting the entire western seaboard at our disposal for accommodation purposes appears a fairly straightforward proposition.
I’m afraid the Government are out of touch with the creative brilliance of self-effacing visionaries like myself.

Yours, etc,
Paddy Cosgrave
Dublin (Lisbon from next year)

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

Hillary romps ahead of Sanders
Hillary Clinton

By Our US Election Staff Phil Paper

Following the televised debate in Eastwick, Minnesota, front-runner Hillary Clinton’s lead in the Democratic presidential primary race has soared.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

According to polls, Clinton is now backed by 97% of Democratic primary voters nationally, compared to 2% for Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders. In the so-called swing states, the former First Lady has been building support from women and urban blue collar workers, while Sanders has the backing of most Latino disabled gay veterans.
“Bernie is a passionate advocate of Middle America and has confounded his critics by coming a strong sixth in South Semolina Caucus,” said prominent political pundit, Mike Madeup. “Of course, he is facing a real challenge in Hillary whose campaign slogan is “I’m very rich’.”
Meanwhile, on the controversial gun ownership issue, Clinton has said, “I intend to introduce stringent legislation to ensure that Americans can no longer buy a weapon – unless they have the money to pay for it.”

“I’m very sorry” – Pope Francis
Phoenix BW

By Our Religious Staff Conor Pope

His Holiness, Pope Francis, has again asked forgiveness for recent sex scandals which have reportedly taken place at the Vatican.
“I’m really sorry that some critics of Mother Church are interested in spreading a lot of non-stories which may or may not have happened back in the day,” said Pope Francis during his weekly address at St. Peter’s Square. “I’m also really, really sorry that the media keeps digging up embarrassing rumours that make it look as if I have something to apologise for – which is clearly not the case – especially at a time when I am doing such a good job at getting everyone to forget about all those child abuse cases from the distant past.”
Since his election in 2013, the pope has taken a more populist approach to Catholic teaching, but has consistently condemned clerical sex abuse.
“I know that I told these priests to reach out and embrace the youth of today – but this is just getting out of hand,” he continued. “And at this rate, I am in grave danger of not winning the prestigious 2015 Pope of the Year Award.”

Miss Bikini Ireland shock
Some Normal Women

THE DALAI Lama and Patrick Guinness have been chosen to judge the controversial Miss Bikini Ireland competition. The men were selected after their recent comments about women.

Some Normal Women

Some Normal Women

The chief man in Buddhism said that if there was a female Dalai Lama reincarnation, she would have to be attractive or else she wouldn’t be “much use”, while Guinness heir Patrick joked that he’d prefer to have Syrian refugees “preferably female aged between 20 and 30” in his house.
“These are the type of gents we need to judge the girls,” said an organiser of the event, which came in for criticism last week after a publicity shot in Dublin City Centre. “We need to bring a bit of class to the contest, and these two men are the ones to do it.”

What the Budget means for you
Phoenix BW

A housebound single male parent reflects…

“Having prayed for seven hours for seven days in the seven weeks prior to the budget, I felt sure that the finance minister would listen to the advice of a Greater Power and provide some relief for people in my circumstances. While the mothers of my three children gain €5 per child, I linger in here, dependent on the charity of my bishop and the indulgence of former parishioners to cater for my needs while awaiting my appeal.”

BUDGET GUIDE

The Issues Government’s Thinking
Employment: Reduction in USC, few bob for self-employed, etc, should keep us in our jobs
Welfare: Have to look after poor Labour too
Transport: This brib… er, budget, should carry us into another five years

 

How Enda decided on election date

  • Be nice to knock another few months out of it
  • Might even squeeze in another St. Patrick’s Day trip
  • And maybe some foreign bloke will announce a factory for Mayo in the meantime
  • Then again, this is probably as good as it gets
  • Whatever I decide, I have to be strong and decisive!
  •  Here we go…
  • Tails it is then… for spring.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF CARRICKMINES
Phoenix BW

I Thou shalt not have other Godforsaken people before US!
II Thou shalt not take the name of me and the others who lord it over you in vain.
III Remember the name of the street and keep it wholly amongst ourselves.
IV Honour your father and your mother’s revulsion.
V Thou shalt not kill time moving in for six months.
VI Thou shalt not halt near our space.
VII Thou shalt not cause an avalanche of media coverage.
VIII Thou shalt not bear false witness that we are neighbourly.
IX Thou shalt not covet your neighbour’s wife’s parking space.
X Thou shalt not covet your neighbour’s good bit of green field.

THIS YEAR’S HALLOWEEN COSTUME SPECIALS
Mick or Treat!
  • Dress up like MICK WALLACE and scare the bejaysus out of half of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Mick or Treat!

Mick or Treat!

  • A SHANE LONG mask that will have 80 millions Germans shaking with fear

    SEAN O’BRIEN – Attack a Frenchie and get off (almost) scot-free

  • DENIS O’BRIEN WIG & (LAW) SUIT – Send a shiver down journalists’ spinesWESTLIFE COSTUMES –
    Terrifying enough to get Isis members to convert to Catholicism
The Wesht Wing
article-default

Scene 1: A cemetery in Castlelyons, Co Cork. As the Taoiseach prepares to deliver the graveside oration at the State funeral of Thomas Kent, the VIP guests chat among themselves.

Gerry Adams (to the President): You know of course it should be you delivering the oration here, Michael D. Not this Mayo Blueshirt, using it as a party political broadcast.

Michael D Higgins: Yes, you’re probably right. Even aside from the political issue – entre nous – the occasion could benefit from my oratorical powers. God love him, but you wouldn’t ask Enda to make an inspirational speech to the Castlebar under-10 football team, never mind the nation.

Micheál Martin: Personally, I think that the job should have fallen to an – ahem – Cork person. Especially when we’re in the fortunate situation that the real – the original – republican party is led by a Corkman. I’m sure if Thomas Kent had been able to choose who gave the oration, it would have been me, as the direct inheritor of his tradition.

Joan Burton: Don’t flatter yourself, Meehawl. The poor man would be turning in his grave – if he wasn’t temporarily out of it – at the prospect. As for you, Grizzly, you’d be better off working out how to save the peace process from the activities of your cowboy pals. They haven’t gone away, you know.

Adams: Whatever little local difficulties I might be having, Joan, only proves that I’m the inheritor of the true republican tradition on this island. If this were 1915, I’d be delivering the oration: like Pearse did for O’Donovan Rossa.

Burton: Yeah, well, it’s not 1915. We have an independent, democratically elected Government in Dublin now. A government, by the way, that looks increasing likely to win a second term, thanks to the new boom we’re creating in the Republic. That’s your other problem.

Adams: But the fools, the fools! They have left us our Irish Water meters. And while Ireland holds these devices, Ireland unfree will never be at peace.

Higgins: Enough of the squabbling. This is itself proof of why I should be making the speech here. I alone soar above the petty difference of Irish politics.

Burton (patting him on the head): Soar away, Michael D – if only in the metaphorical sense. Anyway, we better shut up. Here’s Enda.

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

Scene 2: Croke Park, Sunday evening. After watching Dublin regain the Sam Maguire, Leo Varadkar bumps into the Minister for Sport.

Paschal Donohoe: Ah the bould Leo. Good to see you here. I always thought you were more of a rugby man.

Varadakar: Gosh, no. Just because I went to King’s Hospital. But don’t believe what you hear. I’m a bogball – er, I mean Gaelic – man at heart.

Donohoe: It nearly was a bog out there today, right enough. Still, we got over the line in the end. It’s always a good day when ye beat Kerry.

Varadkar: Yeah. Go Dublin!

Donohoe (leaning in, sympathetically): “Up the Dubs” is better. “Go Dublin!” sounds like something you’d hear at a school hockey game. But, eh, speaking of games, I see Frances Fitz is making her pitch in the Sunday Indo today.

Varadkar (pretending indifference): Her pitch for what?

Donohoe: You know what. The leadership.

Varadkar: Oh, that old thing. Really – what did she say?

Donohoe: That she’s not ruling herself out. Which in political speak, as you know, means she’s gagging for it. And she’s clearly pitching herself as the compromise candidate between you and Simon.

Varadkar: Compromise candidate indeed. As if I couldn’t represent everyone in the party. Look at me: I’m the original man of the people.

Donohoe: Yeah. You know, today would be a good day to lay down a marker yourself. What with the Dubs taking one title from a bunch of culchies. (He winks) It could be a sign of things to come in Fine Gael. It’s just a pity you didn’t wear the jersey.

Varadkar (unzipping rain jacket): Actually, I did.

Donohoe: Good man. Go for it. Here’s some celebrating fans now. I’ll hold your coat.

Fan: Howaya Leo? Any chance of a selfie with the lads here?

Varadkar: Of course! (He poses, with the group, smiling, and making victory signs). Up the Dubs! (They take the picture).

Fan (shaking hands with him): Thanks Leo – fair play to you. I’ll be honest: I used to think you were a snobby fucker. But now I realise you’re one of our own.

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

Scene 3: The bustling corridors of Government Buildings, Monday morning. The Government Press Officer and the Taoiseach walk and talk.

Feargal Purcell: So have you heard this stuff about David Cameron?

Enda Kenny: You mean the, eh, bizarre initiation ceremony in Oxford? Yes. I’ll never be able to look him straight in the face again.

Purcell: I can imagine that might be difficult. But, er (lowering voice), there’s nothing like that in your past, is there?

Kenny: Involving pigs? Dear God, no.

Purcell: Not just pigs, but – well – livestock generally. I mean, I’m only asking because, as Government Press Secretary, it’d be better if I found out about it now, rather than in the middle of an election campaign.

Kenny: No. Thankfully, I never went to Oxford. Although…

Purcell (worried): What?

Kenny (also worried, and lowering voice): Well, I did once win a catch-the-greasy-pig contest. It was at the Islandeady Sports Day – 1974, I think.

Purcell: Are there photographs?

Kenny: There might be.

Purcell (stroking his chin and thinking hard): But it would be obvious that this had happened at a traditional field day of the sort that were common in rural Ireland then?

Kenny: I suppose. Although, if there were close-ups, it might have looked a bit, er, romantic.

Purcell: Please tell me you’re joking.

Kenny: Well, I was struggling with the pig a long time. And when I finally caught him, we were both sweating heavily. And I had to hold on very tight.

Purcell: Ok, we need to put this out first, on our own terms, in case the opposition gets hold of it first and twists it to look bad.

Kenny: Will I make a statement at Leaders Questions?

Purcell: No. I’ll prime one of the tabloid hacks to ask you on a doorstep. Then you can make a joke of it. I’ll script the joke for you. But let me think about it first.

“My living nightmare”

by Yvonne Connolly

Apart from being one of the country’s most beautiful and incredibly talented models, I’ve always been a highly intuitive person who has a lot to give. Of course, my glamorous Boyzone marriage brought its own pressure, but I was lucky enough able to take the whole celebrity roller-coaster in my stride.

But even though I seemed to have everything (amazing looks, above average intelligence, a flair for cooking), my battle with the hell of addiction hit me for six. It started innocently enough with the odd celebrity piece in a newspaper. Then it just got more regular – columns in magazines, favourite recipes, weekend supplement fillers about life in the fast lane. Before I knew it, I just couldn’t stop writing about myself and my glitzy marriage to Ronan.

Looking back on it, we were the perfect superstar couple and had some really wonderful years together. Ronan kept proving his love for me by having repeated affairs with young dancers who toured with the band. No matter what happens, I will always love him… the little bastard.

Deez Nuts rules out Irish Cabinet role

US Presidential hopeful Deez Nuts has ruled out taking a role in the Irish Cabinet. The 15-year-old has gained surprising traction for his candidacy, polling at up to 9% in one state, but has insisted a post in Enda Kenny’s government is not in the offing.noonan-cow

“I don’t want my election bid to be derailed by association with those clowns,” said Nuts. “I’m running a serious operation here and the last thing I need is to be mentioned alongside spoofers like Joan Burden and Mike Nonsense.

They’re a total joke with no credibility. They might provide a bit of colour for the press, but everyone knows they’re a ludicrous outfit with zero substance.”

HEALTH MATTERS

This week, top nutritionist Dr. Paschal Donohoe offers some food for thought on how to prevent pain and ruination in Ireland.Dr-Pascal-Donoghoe

As a doctor I am oft en asked, “Doc, what dietary recommendation have you to reduce high blood pressure, prevent heart attacks and help people to avoid sudden shock syndrome?” Well, fi rst we could make the bill for the breakfast more reasonable, or at least throw in a third sausage and a few more beans, if you have to charge €29.75 +VAT + Service. Th en maybe we could start knocking a few bob off the takeaways…. I mean €37.50 for burger and chips off the van at the festival would stop anyone’s heart!! And don’t get me started on a weekend for two in a Dublin fi ve-star! Th e best way to avoid problems if you’re staying for a few days is to bring your own sandwiches…. (Contd. for lunch and evening meal)

Caution urged over female Viagra stories

Medical authorities last night cautioned that female Viagra stories may lead to exhaustion amongst males who struggle to keep pace with the exciting development. The warnings come as three hacks were found collapsed over their desks in the early hours of the morning as they tried to meet the paper’s demand on their prowess.

“The poor inept sods were up all night and couldn’t go the pace,” said one newsroom staff member. The incident follows a recent study that found stories of female Viagra can stimulate entire newsrooms and arouse extreme levels of interest in editors.

“I’ve never felt like wanting more and more as much as I do now,” gushed one middleaged media proprietor yesterday. “Do you think the cute new intern would join me for a bit of proofreading?”