Although I didn’t win, it’s great to be mentioned, to read the rest of the awards follow this link, http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/1224/1224261231152.html
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny threw the cat among the pigeons when he announced he wanted to abolish the Seanad and would hold a referendum on the issue if/when he gets into government. The Senators, who have a great regard for themselves, were appalled. That included many of Enda’s contingent, who weren’t told about his plan and had to hear it from journalists.
On the plus side, there was suddenly an upsurge in interest in the goings-on in the Seanad, and while Senators showcased their hurt and indignation they were only delighted with all the attention.
Front-runners for this award will always, boringly, come from the ranks of the Independent Senators, and most likely, from that naughty triumvirate of Joe O’Toole, David Norris and Shane Ross. But there are some who deserve honourable mention.
Fianna Fáil’s Mary White has done sterling work in the field of suicide prevention and awareness and has also proved a great champion of the elderly in society.
Fine Gael’s Paul Coghlan has a sharp business brain, but this year, he was to the forefront in pressing the case of Killarney’s jarveys and their long-running horse nappy row. Honourable mention in this regard must also go to Paul’s party colleague in the Dáil, the canny Tom Sheahan.
Jerry Buttimer, also FG, still enlivens the chamber with his irreverent interruptions but he’s been a more thoughtful and insightful presence of late.
But the winner has to be Eoghan Harris. Senator Harris is a sparkling speaker, who either enthralls his audience or gets right up their noses. He’s a great man for starting a fight. Since he decided to abandon his Independent status and join Joe O’Toole’s Technical Group – he said he did it to annoy the Labour Party by keeping them down in the speaking order – he’s struck up a most entertaining double act with David Norris. One would almost say that they are already like an old married couple, except that everybody knows Eoghan’s heart really belongs to Fintan O’Toole.