And so ends the great political career that never was.
When Marian Chambers-Higgins, the returning officer for these constituencies slammed her door shut on nominations yesterday (Wednesday ), there is no doubt that before doing so, she would have peeked out to see if she could smell the fumes of diesel or the roar of a teleporter that would have signalled the arrival of Trucker Joe — the People’s Prince in the great hall at Galway Courthouse. She would have looked out at the tracksuited crowd of regulars gathered below in conversation with their solicitors and seen if the dashing Joe was going to run across the tiled floor and up the stairs with papers in hand, in a scene from the likes of An Officer and a Gentleman.
He could have used a catwire to swing down from the ceiling to deliver his documents, so she would have looked at the great atrium above the Hall of Justice in Galway’s Courtyard Square, but alas, there was nobody on the roof, apart from a dodgy pigeon whose leg had been bitten by a rat in an altercation down in Woodquay that would never feature in the courtroom.
But alas it was not to be. There was no Joe and no show. The doors were locked, the book was closed and so slammed shut the hopes of a nation that our Caped Crusader was going to save us from the professional politicians who once again have taken over this election.
How different it was all going to be those short few weeks ago when the Achill man sprang to his feet at the borefest that was the Frank Fahey/Alan Aherne economicfest and thrust forward the fateful words “Fahey, I’m going to stand against ya.’ Hmmmm Now I’m sure there are loads of ladies would love to hear the dashing one whisper that into their ears, but it was to Frankeen that his words were destined so the effect was lessened ‘cos Fianna Fail don’t go in for any dirty stuff like that. They just want the money. Gimme the money and less of yer shite, as their motto reads when it is translated from the Latin.
And so we expected fireworks and cement mixers and cherry pickers and acts of great daring from Joe’s campaign. The absence of any posters had been an indication that all was not well, but we shrugged our shoulders and hoped against hope that at the last minute, at 5am some day, he’d be seen driving the Anglo cherry picker through the streets, erecting posters higher than any auld volunteer from Fine Gael could ever rise.
When the bould Joe first came onto our news radar last year and word came through that a trucker was blocking traffic at Anglo-Irish, we all expected the protagonist to be more in the style of Ritychie Kavanagh. We expected that trucker to climb down from his cab, atin’ a breakfast roll, with fried egg drippin’ onto his luminous jacket, a copy of The Sun stuck in his arse pocket and a Yorkie in the other hand. But instead we got Christian Bale, the cool clean hero who makes Micheal Martin look like a tramp.
And so with one Mayo political career in tatters this morning, the hopes of our county rest with Enda who is doing his best but failing to counter the image that every rural teeshock is a gobshite who looks like he’s never seen a tall building before. With every utterance about empty chairs being a symbol for the poor divils supping in the Crown in Cricklewood, a knife is driven through the hearts of all Mayo folks.
It’s worse than Colm Coyle’s bouncing ball in the ‘96 final, so ‘tis.
So farewell, Joe. You could have been a great TD. There is no knowing the heights you would have scaled. With that cherry picker.