When the first-count results, and the extent of Willie's ego-trip, for Limerick East began to become clear at about 4 in the afternoon on May 25, an interesting episode was observable on RTE television. Our hero was at
de the count centre, while in the studio were FF Director of Elections P.J. Mara and Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern.
As is conventional on these occasions, even the neutrals on the panel made their congratulations to Willie, who was ecstatic, albeit in a restrained way.
What was remarkable was the coldness of the formal congratulations from his party colleagues, who must have known that the real story was the throwing away of a seat (as described here).
So, less than three months later, Willie, in desperate need of help with the Aer Lingus Shannon-Heathrow crisis, is being "hung out to dry" in a way seldom witnessed in Irish politics. Has it ever happened so obviously to a cabinet minister ?
P.S.Let it not be forgotten that this crisis at Shannon is yet another Martin Cullen-as-puppet-for-Bertie-Ahern production.