Sleeping or meditating - what’s the difference?

It’s Thursday afternoon, another paper almost published, and the eyes are getting heavy. The office is hot and stuffy, whispered conversations almost soothing. A little snooze would be nice but that’s not an option. At least not before 6pm when the home time bell chimes.

Yet you would have to question how three Government ministers, who were accused of falling asleep during a hugely important Dáil debate about the leadership of this country, think this is acceptable behaviour.

Ben Dunne told Newstalk that he would fire any employee of his he found asleep at work, and most companies would do the same.

But it seems that when a minister gets some R&R and closes his eyes, what looks like sleeping could almost be mistaken as meditation.

That’s according to Fianna Fáil TD Noel O’Flynn who was filling in for Ceann Comhairle in the Dáil when newly appointed Deputy George Lee made his accusations about sleeping TDs during his maiden speech.

I wonder would that excuse work in the real world. “I was meditating sir, in deep concentration. The drool down my chin, well, am, ah, it was froth from my morning cappuccino.” It would never wash.

Following 10 hours of debate about the leadership of the country which started Tuesday and continued Wednesday, the Government survived a no confidence motion and easily passed a confidence motion buoyed by their Government partners. The whole charade was nothing more than political theatrics. The Government was never going to lose a vote of no confidence, and Enda Kenny had little option but to table it given Fine Gael’s impressive results in last weekend’s elections.

It was disappointing to hear Declan Ganley won’t be involved in the Lisbon Treaty campaign round two. Not because of any political motivations, but because it’s disappointing to see someone with such strong convictions about an issue to just give up. Ganley was almost single-handedly instrumental in having the treaty rejected first time around because people admired his courage against the enormous establishment that is the European Parliament. Is it a case now that he is sensing a shift away from his line of thinking as the economy plunges deeper and deeper into debt? At the EU count in the TF Royal Hotel on Sunday and Monday, political pundits seemed to be suggesting that the public would overwhelmingly vote in favour of the treaty in the autumn in a bid to extract as much cash as possible from Europe to help our ailing public finances.

Declan Ganley is undoubtedly a very talented and accomplished businessman. His first foray into politics might be seen as a failure, but 67,000 first preference votes from just over half a million votes among 13 candidates was an impressive start. There isn’t a person in the country who doesn’t know who Declan Ganley is, and if he went back to the basics of politics and ran in a local or Dáil election and built his party from the grassroots up, it would be hard to imagine that he wouldn’t get elected to the Dáil. He certainly has a following, with many admirers here in parts of Mayo. But he has made many enemies along the way too. He certainly raised the shackles of Jim Higgins and Marian Harkin. He accused Harkin of being pro-abortion, an issue that had little relevance as it is something governed by the Irish Constitution and not EU law, and by focusing on such issues muddied the waters. Some people were put off by this. Sixty seven thousand others weren’t. He should stand by his convictions and continue the campaign he started.

Toni Bourke Editor [email protected]

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