An Occasional Guide to Irish Politics: The Seanad Snob.

Vote No! And try the olives, they're from Sicily!

Vote No! And try the olives, they’re from Sicily!

Even the other members of the Save the Seanad campaign roll their eyes when he comes in to host his cheese and wine fundraiser in his stately pile “just off Ailesbury Road”, suddenly very busy checking their phones or in a rush to get to a meeting in Castlebar.

The irony is that not only is he, by his own definition, the most left wing person in the room, he is almost certainly the wealthiest, the family being old money. Enda’s referendum is a “power grab”, the government steamrollering through a near century of checks and balances, he says. But get a few glasses of wine into him, and the real reasons start to seep out.

“Look at Mary Robinson, or Catherine McGuinness, or David Norris,” he’ll say, over his third (large) glass.

“Don’t tell me they’ll elect people of that calibre in Athlone or Ennis or one of those places.” “Ireland,” he slurs, “needs Seanad Eireann because we need a mechanism where the masses can be protected from themselves! Now, don’t get me wrong. Your average Sean Sixpack is a fine fellow, and of course he should have the vote! For the Dail! Of course! And I don’t care about all them county councillor fellas either, bunch of Fianna Failers the lot of them! I’m just saying that (hic!) we need a mechanism where people of refinement and yes, who went to the right college or even that one out near Teilifis Eireann, can ensure that a certain level of quality is maintained. Because…is there any more of that delicious red?…oh lovely…have you tried the Wensleydale with the cranberries..better than sex!…look at that! All over my cravat. I’m a disgrace! Where was I…oh yes, because let’s be honest…there are plenty of people in this country, the gays, minorities, the working classes…darling, did Magda load up the dishwasher before she took her day off? Good, good…there are plenty of people in this country who can’t speak for themselves, or don’t know what it is they want to say, and so need someone to stand up for them! You know, the little people. Magda! Magda! We need another red! Where’s that bloody girl gone now? I don’t know. She seems to take a day off nearly every week! Hic!”

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