herald

Saturday 20 October 2018

Anna Nolan: Stop teasing us, Gaybo. You know you're no President...

There's comedy and then there's farcical, slapstick, belly- rocking hilarity. There's the general feeling that David Norris would have brought a light-hearted tone to the Aras. There would have been quips, witticisms and old-fashioned tweed-covered guffaws, as he lived in the big white house. Certainly a comedic affair.

But Gay Byrne for President? I don't think there is a single argument that would stop me from leaning over and crying with the laughter, if Gaybo was to become our premier. As us Dubs would say -- Ah here.



POOR

This week, while Gay Byrne started an analysis in the media by cleverly saying he had not yet considered the idea of being President, I thought enough is enough. Enough with the "Let's get old grampa Gaybo to sort us all out".

HE'S A BROADCASTER, for God's sake. We all remember the last time one of our broadcasters thought he could cut it in the world of politics. George Lee. The poor man has just about got his career in RTE back on track.



AVERAGE

Why belittle the position of President so much, that we think a media personality is right for the job. Why not appreciate the work that Mary McAleese, and Mary Robinson before her, has done. To see Queen Elizabeth II laying a wreath in the Garden of Remembrance was an incredible moment in Irish history. It didn't materialise with a phone call, or a quick email. It was YEARS of work by our President's office.

This perception that the role is a pat on the back for a worthy individual, a job with no teeth, a figurehead with little power, means that any old Irish hero should be nominated

There have been other celebrities who have gone into politics. Ronald Reagan, an average actor, got to arguably the highest office on the planet. Arnie, erstwhile Governor of California and admitted user of performance-enhancing steroids in his quest to be Mr Universe, shoulder-pressed his way to the governor's office. Eva Peron, Clint Eastwood, Sonny Bono of Sonny and Cher fame -- they all wanted to be in power, to make a difference. Some of them did.



NONSENSE

But there's one way we could approach this Irish celebrity endorsement for the November elections. Yes, you've guessed it "Celebrities in the Aras". 12 celebrities, one winner -- you decide. I can see the line up. A dozen of our most loved, most respected pillars of society. Gay Byrne, DJ Carey, Sonia O'Sullivan, Tony O'Reilly, Miriam O'Callaghan. Hey, I'd want Sr Stan -- why not?

I wrote to Gay Byrne last week, before all this nonsense. I saw something in Florida that I thought would interest him, in his role with the Road Safety Authority. An idea that I felt the RSA might take up, to highlight road deaths.

His position with the RSA has brought huge publicity and attention to the carnage that occurs every week on our roads. Let's leave Mr Byrne where he can benefit Irish society -- broadcasting and with the RSA. Let's not create a comedy of errors by making him President.

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