Fears for urbaneIreland
The culture clash between Leo Varadkar and the rural Independents is regularly stoked by the quartet of Mattie McGrath and the Healy-Rae brothers, with Michael Collins from Schull, Co Cork given the occasional walk-on part.
Week in, week out, there are howls of protest over the Taoiseach’s coldness to rural Ireland as he variously closes it down, rips the heart of it, turns it into a wasteland and deprives thirsty aul’ fellas of their pints on the way home from Mass. This week, according to Kerry’s Danny Healy-Rae, he blew “the social fabric of rural Ireland to smithereens” and brought about a situation where “people who need a car to get from A to B can’t even have one
pint”. And why was “the culture of the rural people being blown to smithereens” by guards stopping thirsty aul’ fellas on the roads at all times of the day and night and bagging them? Danny gave Leo the answer: “It was at your behest, trying to satisfy Minister Ross.” Shane Ross’s name was mentioned again by McGrath, but this time it wasn’t in relation to rural transport and the drink driving laws. He wanted the Taoiseach to ask his Minister for Transport to arrange a meeting between one of his constituents and the Road Safety Authority.
“There’s a young man in Tipperary, an entrepreneur named Jason Maher, and he’s developed a tyre app – and he’s with the RSA, up and down – a road safety app for tyre safety. And it’s the most important part of the vehicle, is the connection with roads and our tyres, and would you please ask Minister Ross to get the Road Safety Authority to engage with him?” said Mattie, in the course of a somewhat garbled contribution.
Leo looked up and drawled: “For the benefit of the stenographer, I think the Deputy said ‘tyre app’.” “Correct,” nodded Mattie.
“I thought he said ‘tie rack’,” smirked the Taoiseach.
Michael Healy-Rae was not impressed. “There’s no need to be smart.”
But Leo was delighted with his little quip. “I wasn’t quite sure what use a tie rack would be to the Road Safety Authority,” he chuckled to himself.
The Taoiseach appeared to give us an insight into his town-versus-county view of politicians when commenting on Tuesday about the length of time it is taking for legislation to go through.
“We have an effective filibuster here by rural Independents on the abortion Bill and a filibuster in the Seanad by urbane Independents on the Judicial Appointments Bill.” Leo and the rural urbane divide. Interesting.