03 July, 2008

Finally, some good news

Wednesday evening's vote had taken place and I'd retired to the Dáil bar for a quiet pint to consider the state of the nation with Senator Dan Boyle.

Dan held up his Blackberry as I came back from the Bar with the pints.

'Breaking News Ingrid Betancourt freed from captivity'

I couldn't believe it, and I hightailed it back to my office on the sixth floor to get out a press release. I held my breath and checked RTE, the BBC, and New York Times online. They were all running with the story, so it had to be true. Ingrid Betancourt was the Green Party candidate for president of Colombia six years ago, and we had almost lost hope that she was still alive. I had written a draft release back in January at the time of the release of her colleague Clara Rojas. This was incredible news. Then there was one other thing to do, email Anne O' Connell of the Irish Betancourt Support Group and congratulate them on not giving up hope.

By the time I got back downstairs Dan had to head out for a grilling with Vincent Browne on TV3. I told him to smile gracefully if Vincent tried his 'laughing at the interviewee' technique. When I got home the midweek movie was on, and possession being nine tenths of the law I didn't get to see how Dan fared. Today Le Monde and Le Figaro are updating the story every few minutes and it all seems like good news. I'm sure there's more to the story than meets the eye, as Michael Noonan suggested to me last night in the lift, and it seems more than coincidence that France is currently holding the European Presidency, but for the moment let's rejoice.

Statements on Climate Change in the House this morning, and I'd forgotten that John Gormley was at the European Council meeting in Paris. That meant that I had to hightail it downstairs and speak for ten minutes in what will not go down as my finest parliamentary contribution. Mind you the opposition contributors kept criticising him for not being there so at least I was able to remind them that he was tackling the issue at the heart of Europe. As far as I could make out, most contributions were along the lines of "Climate change is the biggest challenge facing humanity" which hardly breaks new ground given that a least a dozen politicians either came up with the phrase independently, or else did a Terence Flanagan on the issue. Even John's been caught out on that one, and it seems from the timeline that Red Ken got there first. I went for the old 'turning the supertanker around' line, which wasn't exactly that novel either.

The rain this morning didn't help , and I also understand from the spin-doctors that we're not meant to be mentioning the 'R word'. However on the brighter side of things the Green Party Staff Tag Team won last night in a game against ODSE, giants of the legal world, bringing a six week losing streak to an end.

Things are looking up.


kerryview said...

I agree with you about Ingrid Betancourt. see here http://kerryview.blogspot.com/2008/07/hard-hearted-blogger.html

Anonymous said...

re climate change etc
Heard you on Today show Wednesday 16th July defending Wind energy.

The thing is, and I can't get any clear answer on this:
Why does the Green party - of all parties - support the huge areas of ugly wind turbine towers ruining the Irish countryside and coastline?
Peter, Monkstown

Ciarán said...

Because climate change is an enormously important issue that requires a sea-change in thinking.

Personally I like the look of most, wind turbines, but they do need to be sited appropriately