So concerned was the Government about feuds in Limerick last year that it sent down John Fitzgerald to sort it all out.
Well it seems that the former Dublin City Manager still has his work cut for him following the extraordinary altercation in South’s pub last weekend, involving the Wyatt Earp of Irish politics, Defence Minister Willie O’Dea.
Yesterday, O’Dea came out fighting (metaphorically of course) after being accused of being more belligerent than a Jack Russell defending its territory during his spat with two local people last Saturday night.
The Minister for Defence took an exception to a whole host of claims yesterday. He denied he used the ‘P’ word when politely enquiring of the identity of one of people involved in the argument. As in “Who is that P***k?”.
He also denied inviting the same man to step outside as he would like to hit him.
But what seemed to upset him most was the utterly outrageous and reprehensible claim that he was “working the tables” in the pub, currying favour and support from constituents.
Quickly reminding us that he got 19,000 votes in the last election (ie he is either amazingly popular or a megalomaniac) he sniffily suggested he did not need to work tables. Besides the pub was too crowded, he said.
And it also seemed he had also learned two of the Cardinal Rules that Bertie Ahern drew up to defend his reputation.
First of all, there was the expression of regret that expressed no regret whatsoever, just bitterness.
Did he regret anything?
No, he replied, before adding that the only thing he regretted was getting involved in the argument with them at all.
And then there was the Second Cardinal Rule, the scatter-gun defence, the use of multiple clarifications.
First of all, he said that he had used a phrase no stronger than ‘get lost’ to John Fahey and Geraldine Morrissey.
Yesterday he told Pat Kenny on RTE Radio that he may have said any one of the following: “Get lost, sod off or feck off”.
It was inevitable that this particular Gunfight at the OK Corral would win the moustachioed minister desperado status in the Dáil.
Enda Kenny mocked the “fighting face” of Willie O’Dea on the front page of yesterday’s Irish Examiner and referred to “bare knuckle” fighting. Ceann Comhairle, John O’Donoghue, himself a man not adverse to ferocious verbal hand-to-hand combat warned him that there would be no reruns of Rocky V in the chamber.
Brian Cowen, another man who uses brawling techniques when debating, had been drinking in the same pub in Limerick with O'Dea earlier that day. But it was Cowen the Cautious and not Cowen the Cavalier who showed up at the Dail yesterday. He blanked all the taunts and questions from the opposition when taking the Order of Business.
It was left to Michael D Higgins to ride to the rescue with the quotable quote of the day. “Willie O’Dea, my fight for Irish Freedom,” mused Michael D.
This is a version of a piece in the Irish Examiner today.
He should be awarded a medal!