A trick question you ask? Read on: (Yes another lazy blog post but there is a big one coming - watch this space!)
Saturday, November 22, 2008
MIRIAM LORD'S WEEK
IF BAD luck, like a recession, comes in cycles, then Taoiseach Cowen has to pedal twice as hard these days.
In the midst of the nation's financial woes, at least Brian could console himself with the comforting thought that some day soon, as senior man in the constituency, he may be welcoming Barack Obama to Offaly. Obama can trace the teensiest piece of his roots back to the village of Moneygall, which has been en fete ever since he became president-elect of the USA.
A problem has arisen for Biffo, though. Should the day ever dawn when America's first black president pays a visit to his Irish "home place," he will, of course, be greeted by the senior man in the constituency.
Step forward, so, Deputy Michael Lowry.
When the electoral boundaries were recently redrawn, Moneygall, along with places like Shinrone, Dunkerrin and Brosna, was moved from Laois/Offaly into Tipperary North.
A blow, make no mistake, to Brian Cowen, who has seen a sizeable chunk of his personal vote cross the border along with his hopes of squiring President Obama around his personal political stomping ground.
But fear not. Deputy Lowry is up to the challenge. "I'll go out and brief Obama, fly back with him and introduce him to all the local characters. My contacts in the White House tell me that, subject to FBI clearance, Brian Cowen will be allowed to cross the border into North Tipp on the big day." Michael has already done a reconnaissance of the Moneygall area in readiness for the visit and the next general election. Already, with suitable ports of call in mind, he has been seen measuring up the counter in Hayes's bar and grocery.
Meanwhile, the Moneygall connection has sensationally thrown up what may go down in history as the first difficult and diplomatically sensitive decision to be faced by the Obama administration.
Will Barack support Offaly or Tipp in the hurling? While Moneygall is situated within Offaly, its hurlers play in the Tipperary county championship. Now, to add to the confusion, the village remains under Offaly county council for the local elections while switching to Tipperary North for the general election.
"It's confusing up there now," says Michael Lowry. "They won't know where to turn, what county to shout for or who to go to for a twist." Somebody will have to inform the president-elect. Or maybe Biffo explained the situation to him when they talked over the phone last Tuesday night, and he proudly extended the invitation to Barack to come and join him in Moneygall.