Ill-informed Person: Why is there unionist opposition to the appointment of Rosa McLaughlin as Vice-Principal of St Mary’s College in Derry? I thought unionists weren’t interested in Catholic education.
Know-it-all Person: It’s different this time. Rosa McLaughlin was once in the IRA and served a three-year prison sentence.
Ill-informed Person: But she’s out now.
Know-it-all Person: Oh yes.
Ill-informed Person: So what’s the problem?
Know-it-all Person: Well, there have been suggestions from unionist quarters that someone who’d been in the IRA would be sort of, um, corrupting the young if she/he taught them.
Ill-informed Person: How so?
Know-it-all Person: Afraid I’m not clear how.
Ill-informed Person: If Ms McLaughlin is down to be Vice-Principal, what has the Principal to say of her appointment?
Know-it-all Person: ”Ms McLaughlin is a more than capable teacher and she is in school working this week despite the difficult situation she has been facing”.
Ill-informed Person: Sounds like the Principal is happy enough with the appointment.
Know-it-all Person: It does indeed. Can we talk about something else for a while?
Ill-informed Person: Certainly. Who is Nigel Lutton?
Know-it-all Person: He’s the ‘agreed’ unionist candidate for the coming Westminster by-election in Mid-Ulster. And before you ask, the by-election was called because Martin McGuinness gave up his Mid-Ulster seat, as part of Sinn Féin ending double-jobbing.
Ill-informed Person: Right. So this Mr Lutton - he’s a well-known politician then? An MLA perhaps?
Know-it-all Person: Well no. Although he is a cousin of David Simpson.
Ill-informed Person: Who?
Know-it-all Person: David Simpson, the well-known DUP MP.
Ill-informed Person: What’s he well-known for?
Know-it-all Person: Well in this instance for what he said in the House of Commons in 2007.
Ill-informed Person: Which was?
Know-it-all Person: That Francie Molloy was involved in the killing of Nigel Lutton’s father in 1979. Mr Lutton Sr was a part-time RUC reservist.
Ill-informed Person: Why did Mr Simpson make this claim in the House of Commons?
Know-it-all Person: Parliamentary privilege
Ill-informed Person: What’s that?
Know-it-all Person: Well, apparently you can say nearly anything about a person in the House of Commons under parliamentary privilege.
Ill-informed Person: Why not say it outside the House of Commons?
Know-it-all Person: Because you’d need proof or you could be sued.
Ill-informed Person; Had Mr Simpson proof?
Know-it-all Person: He said the police told him.
Ill-informed Person: But no proof beyond that?
Know-it-all Person: Not as far as I know. Mr Molloy has strongly denied the charge and challenged anyone to make the claim outside Parliament.
Ill-informed Person: And has anyone taken him up on it?
Know-it-all Person: No.
Ill-informed Person: I see. So who’s standing for the Shinners then?
Know-it-all Person: Francie Molloy.
Know-it-all Person: Francie Molloy. The veteran Sinn Féin MLA and deputy Speaker up in Stormont.
Ill-informed Person: So did the choice of Mr Lutton as ‘agreed’ unionist candidate happen before or after the Shinners chose Mr Molloy?
Know-it-all Person: After.
Ill-informed Person: I see. Then is that why unionists chose Mr Lutton as an ‘agreed’ candidate? That his father was killed, probably by the IRA, and David Simpson claimed, without evidence, that Francie Molloy was involved?
Know-it-all Person: You may say that. I couldn’t possibly comment.
Ill-informed Person: So have the unionists a chance of winning this seat? And is it true that Willie Frazer may also stand as a unionist candidate?
Know-it-all Person: Oh yes.
Ill-informed Person: Oh yes what? That the unionists do have a chance of winning this seat or Oh yes Willie Frazer may also stand as a unionist candidate?
Know-it-all Person: Oh yes both.
Ill-informedPerson: And how highly would you rate either Mr Lutton or Mr Frazer’s chances of being elected?
Know-it-all Person: About that of a snowball in Hades.
Ill-informed Person: So you’re saying Mr Molloy may well retain the seat for Sinn Féin?
Know-it-all Person: He may well indeed. In fact do you notice my hat?
Ill-informed Person: What about it?
A: I will eat it for lunch if he doesn’t. Although we must await the outcome of polling on 7 March.
Ill-informed Person: How wise you are. Go raibh maith agat.
Know-it-all Person: Failte romhat.