The Secret Minister – Prison, Pensioners and Purple Rinse


I know you, the voting public, have forgotten all about the budget and moved on with your mostly mundane lives, but it is not so easy for a government minister. My post-budget routine is much like that of a celebrity who has had the misfortune of their sex tape being leaked ‘online’ (for those of you who don’t know ‘online’ means the internet), at first you cower away hiding from the media and general public but then you come back stronger than ever after consulting your legal team.

Post-budget I stick to the same routine each time: I leave Orna and the kids for a few days to stay in the Westbury, things can get hairy in my constituency what with the misguided notion that we’re doing more harm than good so I leave nothing to chance. Orna copes better with the bricks through the window than I do anyway. It may seem like I’m affording myself unnecessary luxuries, but I can assure you getting breakfast in bed and walking around in your underwear til noon is not all it’s cracked up to be – just ask the prisoners in Mountjoy and those on the dole.

Despite being holed up incognito in the Westbury I did not neglect my ministerial duties. I held several Skype (it’s a phone on the internet) sessions with business leaders looking to set up shop in Dublin. Despite my proactive work day two in the hotel brought disturbing news from Dearbhla: my pigeon hole in Leinster House was empty and there were no messages on my answering machine. In all my days as a Minister there was at least one call a day from the Chief Whip reminding me what I was to think on certain issues brought up in the Dáil, could it be that I was being frozen out?

I demanded Dearbhla meet me in my hotel room immediately for a crisis meeting. Such was Dearbhla’s haste I hadn’t a chance to put on pants so our meeting took on an informal air. Dearbhla has been warned on several occasions about giving me her opinion on matters, but that didn’t stop her from suggesting that the ‘calling the Taoiseach ‘Dad’ incident’ was not perhaps the success I first thought it was. For the first time in Dearbhla’s life she may just have been right. I couldn’t be seen to admitting I was wrong, so I shouted at her until she cried but I think she knew I meant well.

I had to quickly devise a strategy that would see me back in the good graces of An Taoiseach thus ensuring I would not be elbowed out of the cabinet in a reshuffle. As I sat watching the TV I multi-tasked by wracking my ministerial brain for a plan of action and suddenly inspiration struck. Reports on the news told of a protest by the elderly against medical card cuts. Cometh the hour cometh the Minister. I would show An Taoiseach he had a loyal and courageous underling by placating the aged.

I dressed quickly and raced down to Leinster House. I passed through the crowds to deliver a speech at the gates. When the crowd got over the shock of a government Minister actually talking to them a hush descended. I began what was a rousing speech, but some lefty nutjob shouted over me, causing the elderly present to become confused. They somehow thought I was at fault for their troubles (I wasn’t- the slow decay of the human body is a fact of life). Suddenly I was gently patted by an angry elderly man, this was followed by another pat, then another. Before I knew what was what I had succumbed to a sea of purple rinse. The gardaí were typically nowhere to be seen and I had left my pepper spray at home with Orna and the kids. The elderly rushed me chanting catchy, but terrifying slogans while pushing and pulling me.

Once their thirst for violence was quenched the pensioners scattered off into the night and I was left the same way I had started the day: groggy, startled and without my pants.

Until next week a chairde,

The Secret Minister