Michael O'Doherty: Cement truck hero reveals hypocrisy of TDs on gravy train
MUCH was made yesterday of the arrest of Joe McNamara, who drove a cement truck into the front gates of Leinster House in protest at the continuing bailout of Anglo Irish Bank, and its crippling effect on the country's finances.
According to an onlooker, "the place was suddenly swarming with guards", and the driver was soon arrested, taken to Pearse Street station and questioned under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.
Fine Gael TD Fergus O'Dowd was also on hand to give his opinion, revealing that a garda had to take evasive action, and that "if it had happened later in the morning, staff and public could have been killed." Deputy O'Dowd's indignation didn't end there. "I think it's an appalling vista to be doing your job as a garda in Dail Eireann and to be seriously injured," he said.
This seems to slightly overstate the account of an eyewitness, who said that the truck had barely damaged the gates, and that nobody was injured.
O'Dowd's dramatic reconstruction, however, is not the main issue here, because am I alone in noticing the extraordinary double standards as revealed by his reaction this event?
Consider, if you will, the recent case of a certain PJ Sheehan, TD.
This drunken old codger attempted to drive out of Dail Eireann one night in July after a "hard day's work", and was stopped by a female garda who suspected he was drunk. Having initially denied it, he threatened to damage the career of the garda who refused to let him continue, until he was finally convinced to take a taxi. Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, who arrived at the scene, simply told the garda to "ignore what Mr Sheehan has said".
A full two months later, when the incident became public through the publication of the garda report, Sheehan finally admitted that he had done wrong. Not before, of course, initially attempting to deny the story to a reporter, and then make another veiled threat to them to "be wary... this is an infringement on my personal duties".
Strangely enough, I can't find an indignant comment by Fergus O'Dowd about that incident, or a call for for PJ Sheehan to be arrested, despite the fact that it would seem to the average citizen more serious than McNamara's crime. It couldn't be to do with the fact that Sheehan is, like O'Dowd, a Fine Gael TD? Of course not.
What you think of McNamara's stunt is your own opinion. I actually consider him a hero to all of us who feel powerless about the way politicians have been running this country into the ground while simultaneously knocking back pints and scamming everything they can for themselves.
But a man who drives into the gates of Dail Eireann when stone cold sober, injuring nobody, is arrested by the gardai and chastised by a Fine Gael TD, while a drunken old fart of a Fine Gael TD who attempts to drive out of the gates, so hammered that he can barely stand upright, and constitutes a genuine danger to the public, gets off scot-free, without any public rebuke from his party?
And politicians wonder why the public hold them in such contempt...
Pasty-face apprentice needs a reality check
TWO eliminated contestants from The Apprentice -- Cahal and David -- have emerged with the same complaint.
"It's not really about business, it's more about making interesting TV" and "They cut out of a lot of stuff when they edit the show" etc.
Well, blow me down, who'd have thought it... The Apprentice isn't actually a 12-week chronicle of job interviews?
The producers try to sex it up by pitting contestants against each other, and focus on the bitching and the tears, rather than the minutiae of sales pitches by a grey-suited middle manager?
Listen, David, if The Apprentice was a recording of your goateed, pasty face being interviewed by Bill Cullen for a job as a fleet car sales junior executive, do you think half a million people would tune in?
It's Reality TV, not reality. How long will it be before people like David finally get that?