Oh Heather, it was so brave of you to go down to Moore Street to lay a wreath there on Easter Monday — so courageous! Bearding the lion in its den, so to speak. I do admire your courage, I really do … but was it wise, dear?

Heather Humhpreys, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
Heather Humhpreys, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

You must have known that Moore Street campaign mob would see that as a challenge – in fact, a red rag to a bull, if I can use another animal metaphor, for that is what they are, animals! Hooting and whistling! But you must have known they would do that. Surely some other Government representative could have gone. Why, oh why did you go there, Heather? Did I not invite you to have lunch out of town with me this weekend, my treat?

Well, maybe you expected that mob to act up and thought they would lose public sympathy? As I was saying to you before, times have changed. A couple of years ago that might have worked but the way that fickle public are these days … Of course, some did condemn them – but have you seen the numbers of people who were queuing up to congratulate them? No, don’t ask – I won’t tell you, it would only depress you. Citizens? Don’t make me laugh!

Or maybe you wanted to draw them out and let the uniformed Gardaí deal with them, or perhaps some of them in plain clothes, looking like outraged members of the public, give them the hiding they deserve? Not a bad plan, except for those mobile phone video cameras and IPads everyone seems to have (Joan Burton was right to suggest the mob shouldn’t have them). But our police tussling with demonstrators about Moore Street in that same street when you seem to have lost the case in court, and no government yet in place? Too much to ask of the Gardaí, darling, much too much. In another place, yes of course, like Rossport, out of sight …. Or even in this place, in a previous time ….

Oh, Heather, don’t be so stubborn! Come away down country or let’s even slip across to England somewhere and have a lovely long weekend. Oh I know what you’ll say.: “Everyone’s afraid to be out of town while back-room dealing is going on to decide who’s going to be in the next government and who’s getting what job” … Yes, I know you are a politician. At least promise me we’ll slip away soon. Yes?

Speaking of “slipping”: Are things slipping away from us? Is it all going to go to the mob? All we’ve built up and salted away over the years? Surely not …. but …. all this talk of “the Republic”! And “the words of the Proclamation”! … I can’t wait for this year to be over. But will things get back to normal afterwards? And there’s that nasty guerrilla war centenary coming in just another three years!

We just might need a little coup, darling. I was thinking that when I was watching all those soldiers and tanks going by our seats …. and all the Gardaí road blocks with military police around town too, keeping the mob out. Sometimes a coup is just what the mob needs, to pull them into line. “Setting boundaries” I think they call it nowadays.

Your friend always,

Phyllis Stein

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