Timmy Ryan’s fortnightly column for the Waterford News & Star
SO the winds of change have swept across the kingdom and the unexpected Storm Mary Lou hit land with a vengeance. The Republic is still reeling from General Election 2020 and many are looking forward to the big change. By the time you read this, the landscape may have taken some sort of more concrete form and hopefully all the phoning around from Mary Lou McDonald may have yielded some workable alliances. However with all this talk of second elections and the left being unable to form a government and the main parties unwilling to cooperate, I think it’s only wise that we have an emergency back up Cabinet planned if it goes pear shaped.
‘Next up it’s the Housing, Planning and Local Government portfolio. Hugely controversial and surely an area we have failed in massively. My choice here would be Dermot Bannon.’
I took it upon myself to draw up a quick list of who could possibly steer us through stormy seas. I started with the much regarded office of Taoiseach. We need someone strong, resolute, a person of action who will inspire confidence and a straight talker. I propose Live Aid organiser, chief Rat of the Boomtown variety, and friend of Bono, Mr. Bob Geldof KBE. Who better to actually get things done? If anyone could galvanise support, it’s our Saint Bob. An orator of renown, Bob can hold court with the World’s brightest and best and will certainly not suffer fools gladly.
Next up it’s the Housing, Planning and Local Government portfolio. Hugely controversial and surely an area we have failed in massively. My choice here would be Dermot Bannon. If you Google him, you’ll see his CV is foolproof: “Dermot Bannon is the leading voice in modern Irish architectural design. He has hosted the ‘Room to Improve’ TV series for eight seasons, and has helped transform the homes and lives of hundreds of clients.” The magic word is ‘transform’. If he can do it for hundreds, maybe he’s the man we need to do it for thousands. I know he has a bit of a disregard for budgets sometimes but the end results are always good.
Health is another area where clearly, most of the public feel let down by the outgoing Government. For this Ministerial role, I suggest Dr. Eva Orsmond. No nonsense tolerated here, the Finnish lady might just be the answer to the obesity crisis we keep hearing about. Mind you, if that hotel for overweight people in Portugal was anything to go by, she might need to work a little faster. To that end I suggest she looks to the Chinese for inspiration and, maybe even practical help. Let’s hire the guys in China who ran up that big hospital in a jiffy for the Corona virus (or should we now say Covid-19) outbreak. Stunningly efficient! Just two weeks if I’m not mistaken. The Children’s Hospital here is still not finished. Borrow the Chinese team, it’s a no brainer, they’d finish it over a weekend.
Defence is an easy post to fill. Who could argue with the appointment of the Irish Ranger lads from ‘Ultimate Hell Week’. They’ll keep us all safe and who knows more about survival than these boys? In fact, it would be no harm to run their courses for want to be TD’s. Those who don’t pass are out. A few ‘sickeners’ would sort the men from the boys and the women from the girls pretty quickly.
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs I would give to Bosco. There’s not a kid in the land who wouldn’t benefit from his rapier wit and good humoured banter. He’d have to agree to have Marian Richardson as his assistant though.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine? I’m plumping here for that doyen of cuisine, the lovely Catherine Fulvio. No one could better negotiate a deal with the EU for our nosh than the TV star herself. After all, who could refuse her anything? Protests at supermarkets? Send Catherine and she’ll have them eating out of her flour covered hands as quick as you can say spaghetti pomodoro. To help her on the Marine side, I nominate Waterford’s Elaine Power from Dunmore East’s East Pier. Best fish and chips in the land and she’s a native of the fishing village. She’d be a great deputy minister and she would still have the summer off to keep the fish n chips coming. Win win.
Foreign Affairs and Trade? Hmm… Tricky one but I’d choose to go North to fill this position and give Unionist Iris Robinson a go. She’s been around the block, stood by her politician husband David Robinson for years and clearly has a way with the youth! Hands across the border so to speak.
Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform is naturally of the utmost importance. There’s only one lady I would trust with the national purse and that’s the girl from the Trivago ads on telly. No matter what the economic climate, she can be trusted to get the knockdown bargains and the top deals. Just imagine what she could do if let loose on the next State budget? Budget? Trivago! Even if she shaved off a euro or two from our pay packets in an emergency, I’d find it difficult to give out to her.
Transport, Tourism and Sport. I thought of Michael O’Leary. There is a concern that we’d be looking at smaller, pokier trains and buses with precious little leg room but they’d be on time and the prices would be good. As for sport, he might be tempted to lean more towards Horse Racing but the Civil Servants could keep an eye on him. I think he deserves a chance.
There are other roles I still have to sort out but there’s plenty here to tide us over if pressed in to action. I would also love to see some new departments launched. I personally think the country is crying out for a Minister for Rock n Roll. Dispensing with modesty, I volunteer my services and duly promise huge drops in concert ticket prices, the return of the Thrill On The Hill in Waterford and limited broadcasting of Daniel O Donnell on radio or TV.
Hopefully as the dust settles, a new Government will rise up to the challenge of providing real change for all of us expectant citizens of Eireann. If not, my Cabinet stands by.