Jude Collins

Friday, 5 November 2010

Will Eoghan Harris pony up?

You’ll find many things in Donegal – beautiful scenery, friendly people, heart-soothing music and soul-soothing pubs – but not too much Dublin-linked democracy. For the past 16 months the Donegal South-West constituency has been without a representative, for the simple reason that the Fianna Fail-Green Party coalition with its slim majority feared the verdict of a by-election. After being taken to the High Court by Sinn Féin for dragging its feet, the government has reluctantly agreed to 25 Novermber as a date for the constituency to elect a new TD.

Which while music to the ears of those who believe in parliamentary democracy will surely strike a jarring note in those attached to the head of Senator Eoghan Harris. On 8 August 2007, the good senator appeared on the ‘West Belfast Talks Back’ panel at the Feile An Phobail. There, in the presence of some 500 witnesses, he made a £100 bet with me, very kindly giving me odds of 10-1. The subject of the bet? That at the next general election, Fianna Fail would ‘mop up all the remaining Sinn Féin seats’ in the Dail.

So this morning,  as the wheels of democracy finally begin to turn in Donegal, Eoghan Harris could be forgiven for hearing the sound of tumbril wheels. This by-election means the date of a general election will probably be next Spring, if not earlier. At that general election, will Fianna Fail ‘mop up the remaning Sinn Féin seats’?  Eoghan Harris’s £1,000 says they will,  my £100 says they won’t, and I don't expect Cardinal Brady to become the next Grand Master of the Orange Order either.  Can we expect the good senator, a man renowned for his integrity, to pay up if he loses his bet? A nation waits and watches.

1 comment:

  1. Well I wouldn't be rushing out to buy a new suit but I'd guess you know that already.