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Fianna Fail Frolicks and Freebies.

A life size effigy of Martin Cullen,and other T.D´s was installed in the Dail Chamber today.

Viewers of "The Dail Today"a televised series featuring live broadcasts scenes from within Irelands largest mortuary were today shocked to see the normally empty building brim full of "political corpses".Normally a handful of opposition T.D.s hang about the place, when they are not at home looking after their constituents; minding their pubs; tending to their farms; nurturing their undertaking firms,surveying their golf courses or managing their hotels.

A government spokesperson admitted that public scepticism had prompted Bertie Ahern to take action.Dozens of life size wax effigies of the Cabinet had been procured from a london firm,"Madame Tussaud´s" and were now ensconced in the normally empty benches of the Dail.

The few opposition T.D.s who bothered to turn up to see the new wax museum decried the unusual move. "Its unreal and simply pre-election window dressing by a discredited government" they declared. One bemused passer bye was thrilled, "at least we don´t have to listen to all that  crap from Martin Cullen about new Metros and Tunnels and so on for a week or two !"

An air of unreality about the place..

Since time immemorial it has been traditional for Irish politicians/ government ministers  to spend as little  time as possible in the Dail attending to government business. When they are not abroad during Christmas holidays/Paddys day holidays/Easter recess/Summer recess holidays (3 months)/ (you get the gist of it) etc etc.They are attending  many important conferences and functions in exotic locations worldwide "in order to promote business and tourism links."

They unstintingly forego their personal commitments (minding their public houses and so forth) to devote their  free time to unstintingly travelling the world on behalf of all of us taxpayers who for reasons of survival ,(such as earning a living) or for the lack of surplus cash, are unable to accompany them on their ambassadorial Odysseys.    

 The Government released details in March 2006 of the planned trips today with ministers obligingly undertaking ardous trips (although in V.I.P. & business class comfort)  to locations as far apart as Washington and Prague and as exotic as South Africa and Thailand.

The annual exodus by politicians to celebrate the national feast day is one of the biggest ever and has never been criticised in the Dáil.(except by the opposition who dont get to go.) However, the Government insists  that St Patrick's Day is a unique global event and offers an" unrivalled opportunity for the irish politicians to enjoy the spoils of office by " promoting their importance in foreign parts."

"The Government will seek to maximise opportunities for showcasing their cronies golfcourses and hotels." a spokesperson announces,in words to that effect, every year. 

"Illegal dumps,undrinkable water, Nitrates pollution,traffic chaos, massive stealth taxes etc. will however, not be on the agenda." 

"Ireland is a world class economy and tourism destination, and therefore we charges world class prices " a government spokesman said.

Ministers will "promote" Irelands wealthy, heavily subsidized hoteliers at cultural and community events in more than 35 cities in all corners of the world.

"St Patrick's Day is equally an important occasion for enhancing the politicians links with Irish communities abroad."

Earlier in the day, nasty, vindictive, spoilsport opposition TDs in the Dail tried (jealously -but thank heavens,unsuccessfully) to vote down a week-long St Patrick's Day parliamentary break to facilitate the Government's foreign visits.

As well as the UK, Europe and the US, other far-flung destinations include Argentina, South Africa, Australia, China and the United Arab Emirates. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern (Anorakman) and several ministers will visit cities in the US where some of the largest St Patrick's Day parades outside Ireland will be hosted.

Mr Ahern  will officiate at events in San Jose and Washington, where he will meet President George Bush for traditional White House celebrations as well as congressmen and business leaders.

 Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern will also visit the US capital for political talks as well as attending the St Patrick's Day parade in Dallas.

Tánaiste and Health Minister Mary Harney will visit Bahrain, which now hosts direct air services from Dublin and South Africa, where Ireland funds development aid projects. Social & Family Affairs Minister Séamus Brennan will represent the Government in Boston, where he will open a major exhibition on John F Kennedy's 1963 visit to Ireland.

Minister for Transport Micheál Martin will fly to New York, traditionally the world's biggest parade, where he will attend several business meetings. Communications Minister Noel Dempsey will visit Seattle, where he will meet Irish immigrant groups.

Britain won't miss out with the Minister for Justice Michael McDowell visiting London, Minister for Sport John O'Donoghue set for Manchester and Minister of State Seán Power traveling to Birmingham.

 Chief Whip Tom Kitt will represent the Government in Chile and Argentina, which is home to the largest Irish community outside the English-speaking world.

Agriculture Minister Mary Coughlan will spend three days in the Czech Republic, where she will attend business meetings and hold talks with her Czech counterpart and discuss inward investment here (New manufacturing plants?) with Czech businessmen representing  the well established armaments and smallarms industry in the former soviet satellite republic.

Minister for the Environment Dick Roche has a hectic schedule visiting Japan, Malaysia and Thailand, while the Attorney General Rory Brady travels to Russia, where he will visit an Irish photographic exhibition in St Petersburg.

 Finance Minister Brian Cowen visits Sydney, while Community Affairs Minister Éamon Ó Cuiv visits New Zealand.

Education Minister Mary Hanafin will meet business leaders during her trip to the United Arab Emirates, the destination of new direct Aer Lingus flights from Dublin. Among the ranks of Ministers of State, Michael Ahern will visit Chicago, Noel Ahern flies to Savannah and Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher will represent the Government in Philadelphia and New Orleans.

Batt O'Keeffe's itinerary takes him to San Francisco, while Tom Parlon visits St Louis and Atlanta. Sile de Valera will travel to Canada, one of Ireland's fastest-growing trading partners.

John Browne flies to Austria.

 Tim O'Malley visits Belgium, Noel Treacy travels to France, Frank Fahey visits Italy and Tony Killeen jets to Sweden and Norway. Brendan Smith will travel to new EU member Hungary, where he will discuss growing economic ties.

Conor Lenihan will visit Shanghai and Beijing in China. Enjoy boys.

Wish I were a politician!!