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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Terry Prone: When people get mad they get illogical. This excitable response is most illogical

When people get mad, they sometimes get illogical, too.

Mark Mulqueen's attack on me is exciting, but illogical.

Accusation 1: I cast myself as an objective, outside commentator. My account of the thrill of walking up the steps in Leinster House is clearly based on experience. I didn't cast myself as an outsider.

Accusation 2: I wrote "excitable analysis of the velvety-carpeted staircase". Not excitement; pleasure and praise. Leinster House is beautiful and a credit to all who keep it so.

Accusation 3: I wrote that the majority of Irish people will never set foot inside the building. Mark says 100,000 people visit Leinster House every year. True. But because not all of them are Irish, the statement is factually correct. (And it is a great pity, because it is a wonderful tour.)

Accusation 4: I tried to portray the political system as elitist. I didn't. I couldn't. It isn't.

If Mark reads my piece again, he'll realise that I was at pains to indicate that the Office of Public Works -- one of the most effective arms of the public service -- probably tried to find the most cost-effective way to do the refurbishing that the news story dealt with. I was at pains to point out that the work was done at a time when we were all flush with cash.

And, if he reads my piece again, he'll find that it wasn't personally nasty about anybody in Leinster House. Or about the system they serve. I believe -- and constantly say -- that politicians have the worst job in the country and take constant abuse they don't deserve.

I've worked with many of the non-politicians within Leinster House and found a level of professionalism and commitment there second to none.

Suggesting that a couple of toilets might have cost the taxpayer a bit much isn't an outrage. Or an insult to any of the people working in Leinster House. Or to the political system.

Free speech does carry with it the right to query costs in a downturn.

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