Flight of the Mild Geese

As usual at this time of year the mass exodus of the Government has begun, every Minister and Junior Minister dispatched to every corner of the globe, the Taoiseach -  as usual – heading for the White House with his bowl of shamshamrock.

I've no problem with this, not just because I think the country is far better off with them out of the place, but some of them may actually do some good, attract some business to Ireland.

Some things DO bother me, however.

I don’t know if ye were aware, but this week there was a letter circulating from Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, sent to his colleagues in Leinster House, asking them to support him in what he’s calling the ‘Irish Stand’ in New York on St Patrick’s Day.

‘I'm asking you to take a stand against racism, homophobia and hate, and for justice, equality and human rights!’ pleads Aodhán, and all without even a hint of irony.

There is hardly a migrant and refugee regime in the so-called civilised world as heinous as our own here in Ireland. ‘Direct Provision’ is what it’s called, those unfortunate people institutionalised for years in abominable, abysmal conditions, while their applications are processed. Mark my words, in a few decades this will become the Tuam nightmare of this generation.

In the last Dáil Aodhán wasn’t just a Labour TD, he was a Junior Minister, and in that position, he voted to retain ‘Direct Provision’ and the abuse of human rights that goes with it. In the election last year he lost his seat, and Labour – destroyed generally in the election – opted out of government.

All was not lost for Aodhán, however, and he ended up with a cushy seat in the Seanad, where he has suddenly rediscovered a conscience.

It stinks, that naked hypocrisy. You can bet your last sprig of shamrock that if he was still a member of the government, Aodhán would this week be on his merry way to somewhere in the globe, and if he had been sent to New York, you can equally bet he would be one of those condemning his own ‘Irish Stand’. Despicable.

Then we come to Enda.

There are those wondering if he will take a leaf from his erstwhile colleague’s book and make his own Irish Stand at the White House, take Trump to task on the day that his administration introduces a new version of the ill-fated Muslim ban.

Will he hell.

A little reminder: Just three years ago Enda went to Saudi Arabia and met Crown Prince Salman. Afterwards he was asked if he had brought up Saudi’s appalling human rights record. This is what Enda had to say: "I congratulated the Crown Prince, his royal highness, on the fact that Saudi Arabia has been invited to the human rights council of the United Nations and served there in the last number of years. I congratulated the Saudis on their leadership in terms of moderation here in the Gulf region and their desire for peace in light of a lot of complex issues."

That’s the Saudi Arabia where women are officially second-class citizens, aren’t even allowed to drive, for God’s sake; it’s the Saudi Arabia where foreign workers have no rights and in many cases are treated worse than animals; that’s the Saudi Arabia that still practices medieval-style barbaric justice, from chopping off hands to chopping off heads, over 150 executed in 2016 alone.

Enda going to tackle The Donald, Aodhán going to make his ‘Irish Stand’? If St Patrick were in Ireland today, he’d be chasing those two with a stick.