The 17th of July 2010 - one week into the Dail summer recess, and the country is slowly drifting into disaster. The banking crisis is continuing to eat away at Ireland's credibility, Senator Ivor Callely is giving the fingers to the Irish public, and, in yet another small sign of how screwed Ireland truly is, Zurich Insurance announces it has set aside €256 million to meet potential losses arising from its commercial property loans in Britain and Ireland.
Where, you might wonder, were our dear leaders at this time, on this exact day? Was Biffo and the other superheroes in the League of Incompetency making the most of the break from the daily business of the legislature, using this space and time to draw up a world-beating plan of action to put Ireland back on the road to economic growth? Was Biffo on the phone to Sarko or Angela, begging for more money, "just a little more time, I swear Ireland is good for it, I swear!"? Was he, in a last roll of the dice to save Ireland's skin, invoking the Almighty with a whirlwind pilgrimage to Knock, Mecca, the Western Wall and Mount Kailash?
He was opening a GP clinic in Belmullet, Co. Mayo.
I have spent much time near Belmullet: my own family hails from near there, and I think much of the area, Erris. It is a beautiful destination, an ideal location for a relaxing break. But, much though I love it, Belmullet does not require a Head of Government to open its local GP Practice.
What's truly galling is that, at a time when the country was falling apart, Brian Cowen didn't even have the good grace to goof off and go on holidays. No, he took what he probably, laughably, believed was a "working holiday". He prioritised the needs of a single local area, no doubt to support a local FF candidate, over the demands of the nation. He thinks this is his job, to travel around the country, opening small businesses (which is what a GP practice is, remember), and shaking hands with the locals.
Mr.Cowen, that is not your job. Your job is running the country. Might I suggest you do it.
And if you have the time to open GP clinics, or off-licences, or pubs during your holidays, then you are obviously not working hard enough during the rest of the year.