Overheard in Leinster House

A Fine Gael TD making a call on their mobile:

"Hello ... , can I get back that €20 I loaned you yesterday? I'm meeting someone for coffee."

No wonder Enda Kenny has been so critical of the Government this week. You know times are tough when even culchies earning upwards of €95,000 have to go around begging for change for a cuppa.

Lessons unlearned

Oh dear. It seems the Government is still having trouble getting its head around the reasons for the referendum defeat.

Hurriedly added to today's Dáil schedule is a motion to approve an agreement between the EU and Australia on the exchange of passenger information. The first that most TDs had heard of this agreement, with all its implications for confidentiality and data retention, was when a briefing note was circulated around 6.00 last night. Clearly, that's not enough time to scrutinise the agreement in detail - and the usual procedure of allowing an Oireachtas committee to thrash it out won't apply either. Why not? Where's the urgency?

With an absolutely straight face, Brian Cowen told the Dáil it had to be approved in this way, because ... the Slovenians are concluding their presidency of the EU soon and are anxious to have this on their record. And we're the only member state that hasn't got around to approving it yet.

Can anyone seriously argue these days that the parliament's role is as anything more than a rubber stamp? Even Cowen seemed embarrassed about it.

Overheard at the RDS

As tallies from the first few boxes started to make it clear the treaty was headed for a defeat, from an apparatchik attached to a certain anonymous Dublin city Fianna Fáil TD: "Looks like we'll be back here in a few months."

From the same anonymous Fianna Fáil TD speaking on his mobile phone a few minutes later: "Oh, it's about two-to-one in favour."

From a certain Irish Times pol-corr (hint: thinks she's a lot funnier than she actually is) as the final tallies came through: "The Irish people are stupid."

More as I remember them...
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