THE TAOISEACH’S OFFICE

A Radioplay

By

Joe Mulvey

In preparation for a meeting of the European Union Economic Crisis Committee, to be held at the Schwerin Schloss in Germany, a meeting is called in the Taoiseach’s office to agree the Irish stance.

CAST

Edna Kenny………….Taoiseach

Eamon Gilmore………Tánaiste

Michael Noonan…….. Finance

Dr. James Reilly………Health

Ruairí Quinn…………Education

Joan Burton…………. Social Welfare

Dinny McGinley……. Super Junior (Refreshments)

Lucinda Creighton….. Super Junior (Europe)

Bobby McDonagh.…..Ambassador to the Court of St James

Dan Mulhall……….…Ambassador to Berlin

ACT ONE – LOCATION – THE TAOISEACH’S OFFICE

 FX: CAST MOVING INTO OFFICE AND TAKING THEIR SEATS

KENNY:             Morning people. Hurry up, please and get settled. We have a lot to get through.

GILMORE:        Yes, do come along. We have a lot to do this morning.

CREIGHTON:   Froh, hier zu sein, Chef. Ich bin sicher, dass ich eine große   Hilfe bei unseren deutschen Amtskollegen sein kann.

KENNY:             God, that’s great to hear, Lucinda. I think your language skills really gives us one over the Brits. But, Lucinda doesn’t sound very German, all the same. You need a good Prussian name that they can relate to. Ludwig! From now on you will go by Ludwig Creighton.

GILMORE:        Excellent, Taoiseach. Ludwig is a great Germanic name.

KENNY:             Cúnas, le do thoil. Now, mobile phones off please. We don’t want a repeat of last year’s unfortunate ringtone. The Pope will never forgive us. Jedward in St Peter’s, for God’s sake! I didn’t know where to look.

CREIGHTON:   Gut dachte ich, dass ich es sehr gut im Ende behandelte, Chef.

GILMORE:       Yes, I would have to agree, An Taoiseach. A coughing fit was the perfect cover.

KENNY:             Yes, if she hadn’t shoved her hand into my pocket, Eamon. Honestly, I didn’t know where to look, and my vibrating lap singing “she’s got her lipstick on”. It was so embarrassing; I don’t want to talk about it.

CREIGHTON:   Ah, il amore di Roma; la città eterna, cuoco unico!

KENNY:             Enough! Let’s get down to the business at hand. Now, you all have the notes that I circulated last week, so we will go through them in numeric order.

GILMORE:        Quite right, An Taoiseach, I handed Ruairí and Joan their copies myself.

QUINN:             True, Tánaiste. My copy had a single grammatical error by the unfortunate use of ‘whom’ instead of ‘who’. A common mistake that still should not be excused in formal communications. It is just personal of course, but I would rate this memo as a B minus.

BURTON:          Oh no, Brother Eamon. I feel that brother Ruairí is being overly strict in the determination of ‘Whom’ over ‘Who’ and should be…

GILMORE:        Stop, Sister Joan…em…Ms Burton. Let us please have a common position on the agenda for this meeting, as requested by An Taoiseach. It is our imperative position to present a united front to our British overlords.

KENNY:             For God’s sake, Eamon. Britain is now our closest friend. Why, after the Queen’s visit and their generous economic loan, we have only the strongest warm fillings for them. Off the rugby pitch, of course!

 FX: HEARTY LAUGHING FROM AROUND THE TABLE

GILMORE:        Heartily said, Edna.

KENNY:             ENDA ! E-N-D-A and you can feck the bloody New York Times.

NOONAN:         Don’t look at me. Sure I’ve no dealings with the New York Times. However, Edna could be a man’s name too, I guess. I mean Enda isn’t very popular in Ireland; no more popular than Edna. You never wrote a book, did you Boss?

KENNY:             Let us please address the first item for today’s meeting, or we will be here all bloody day. Hey, where’s Reilly? He was to travel with you, Michael, wasn’t he?

NOONAN:         He was having a late breakfast, so I came on without him. He can’t be long though. Just hunting for a parking space, which are impossible to find around here.

KENNY:             Alright. Back to the agenda. We have a team of seven; Dinny is just at this meeting to keep us refreshed, so we can finish in time to fly out this evening. No offence, Dinny. There will be an extra few thousand in your next expense allowance.

McGINLEY:      Ah, you’re too generous, Boss. Sure we are only here to serve and refresh.

FX: SNIGGER SPREADS AROUND THE TABLE

KENNY:             Good. Now we need to know who knows members of other delegations, which maybe would be of help to us and support our stance. We’ll go once around the table. I’ll start. Obviously I am on excellent terms with all of the other countries’ leaders. I am on first names with Nicolas Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel “Du’s” me. Cameron is a bit standoff I admit, but that is in their genes. The west is awake, so you can expect me to steamroll through him. Now, Tánaiste, who can you bring to the party?

GILMORE:        Well, as An Taoiseach so perfectly put it, we need to use every contact to forge forward with the Irish nation’s goals and aspirations. The Labour party is fully behind our government’s innovative and I personally have close contact with a number of cabinet members from other nations in the great European adventure. To express it in the words of our iconic founder, James Connolly, who felt the…

KENNY:             Get on with it, Eamon, or we will get nothing done!

GILMORE:        Of course, An Taoiseach. You are in control of the meeting and have the full backing of the Labour Party in this respect. Let me see. Well, I have dined with Alain Juppé, in Strasburg. Oh, and I got a postcard from Portugal’s Paulo Portas from the last World Cup. Although I couldn’t understand what it said, the Labour Party felt it a wonderful link to our Portuguese brothers and sisters.

KENNY:             Thanks Eamon. Moving right along. Michael, how are your financial contacts?

NOONAN:         My contacts are also very good. There is England’s George Osborne of course, but I have also a surprisingly close contact with Ivan Mikloš of the Slovakian Republic. He could be useful with the East Europeans. I have a good working relationship with Wolfgang Schäuble and have met Mario Monti with you, Taoiseach.

KENNY:             Thank you, Michael. You will be our anchorman, so we need you on top form for the rest of this week.

GILMORE:        Can I just interject, An Taoiseach, but the Labour Party recognises the anchorman position of the Minister of Finance and gives him our total support, along with the support of the government, of course.

KENNY:             Please, Eamon. Your support is presumed and noted. Okay? Now, Joan. We need your best work with the social aspects of our policy.

BURTON:          Well, thank you Mr Taoiseach and Mr Tánaiste. Can I start by saying how grateful I am at getting this opportunity and hope to reach the goals that you have set for me.

GILMORE:        Of course, Ms Burton, but just now An Taoiseach needs a short answer without any fat to his question about your contacts. I and the Labour Party are very aware and proud of your work in this government and stand totally behind you.

BURTON:          I have a good working relationship with Italy’s Renato Balduzzi, who has also done close work with James Reilly on our mental health. I also know England’s Owen Paterson, since I was working in London in the early 80s. A very handsome man!

KENNY:             I’m not going to ask the obvious, Joan. Thanks anyway. Now Ludwig, blind us with your German contacts.

CREIGHTON:   Danke soviel, Chef. Ich habe ein wundervolles Verhältnis zu Deutschland’s Guido Westerwelle, der viel jünger ist, als er schaut, Sie weiß. Ich auch habe Slowakei Liebe verwendet, damit Deutschland herauf ein Arbeitsverhältnis zu ihrem Außenminister Mikuláš Dzurinda schlägt. Ich stellte ihn persönlich zum Speck und zum Kohl vor!

KENNY:             Wonderful, Ludwig, even though I didn’t understand a word of it. It just sounds so, em, European. Now Ruairí, have you done your homework?

GILMORE:        Excellent, An Taoiseach! The Labour Party’s Ruairí Quinn is totally in step with the government’s policy for the harmony of contacts with our European colleagues. Go on, Ruairí; tell An Taoiseach of the great friendships that you have forged.

QUINN:             Thank you Tánaiste for that unsolicited support. I have indeed formed close friendships with a range of Education Ministers, as well as hosting a day out with William Hague here last July. Of course my architectural background helps to break the ice at all the EU bashes!

FX: TAOISEACH’S TELEPHONE RINGS

KENNY:             Excuse me. Hello, Taoiseach Kenny anseo.

REILLY:            Hi Edna, James Reilly here.

KENNY:             ENDA, you plonker! Where the hell are you?

REILLY:            I’m at the Merrion Square gate. Some problem with the Garda on duty. He is demanding a deputy confirms my identity.

KENNY:             You obese plonker! Don’t ever shave, or you will never gain admittance again. Put him on. Hello Garda, Taoiseach Kenny here. I can unfortunately vouch for the trolley wobbling before you. We need him at this meeting, so if you would be good enough to let him in, I will see you get a few extra hours overtime.

GARDA:             That’ll be very much appreciated, Edna. I will send him straight up.

KENNY:             ENDA, you little fecker. I’ll have you searching septic tanks for illegal cigarettes, from the inside, you bollix. What is your name? Hello? HELLO? Dinny, find out who that Garda is and get Shatter to post him to west Donegal.

GILMORE:        That’s not easily done, An Taoiseach, although I can understand and support you in your unhappiness at being called Edna, em, Enda, em Boss. There is only one station still open in west Donegal and it is packed to overflowing with Gardaí who have, em, been disciplined in the past.

KENNY:             Dinny, whatever it takes, just get this done.

McGINLEY:      My pleasure, Boss. Are you ready for morning coffee yet?

KENNY:             Put the kettle on, Dinny. But get that Garda sorted first.

McGINLEY:      I’m on it, Boss.

REILLY:            Good Morning, Taoiseach. I am here at last. Terrible trouble parking; have I missed coffee?

KENNY:             Have you not caused enough trouble, Trolley? Sit down and shut up, before I do something unhelpful to your health.

REILLY:            Jeez! I just wanted a cup of coffee, Boss, and if you don’t like being called Edna, then don’t call me Trolley!

KENNY:             Explain to me then James, pleeeze. What are you bringing to this party? If we are off to Schwerin for three days of fine food and wine, how can you strengthen our team?

CREIGHTON:   Ich studiere oben auf der Küche der Schwerin-Region, Chef.

REILLY:            I am the personal friend of Daniel Bahr and Renato Balduzzi, Boss. I have used the clinic in Milano for my gastric bypass. I have to admit that it was not the great success I was hoping for, but I also got my teeth whitened, which you will have to agree was a great success. Renato got me a priority appointment.

KENNY:             A lucky answer, Reilly. Alright everyone, that is a fairly wide group of contacts, I’m glad to say.

GILMORE:        If I could just interject, An Taoiseach, to say that I personally and the Labour Party are delighted with the credit of goodwill and friendship that our government has cultivated with the other European nations and especially the work that Joan and Ruairí have done in this regard.

KENNY:             Thank you, Tánaiste. Moving right along, we well next address presents. I naturally will be required to make presentations to Angela and Nicolas. Waterford Crystal should do nicely. Anyone else feel the need to do an independent presentation to another contact?

CREIGHTON:   Oh, Chef. Ich glaube, dass ein kleines Geschenk für Guido Westerwelle, Ihre Darstellung zum Kanzler Merkel zu vergrößern sehr angebracht sein würde.

KENNY:             Very well, Ludwig. Anyone else, and remember that this gift will have to come out of your department’s budget. No one? Why am I not surprised! Okay then, moving right along, clothes. I don’t want the same gaff we made at Windsor. Cameron wearing the same tie as me, and me without a change. This trip, I alone will have green anything. I presume Eamon will want red?

GILMORE:        Certainly, thanks An Taoiseach. The Labour Party feels a special tug to the colour red, reminding us of our…

KENNY:             Yes, quite understood Eamon. Ludwig; a blue business suit, I think. It brings out your eyes!

CREIGHTON:   Ich habe nichts, das im Blau, Chef verwendbar ist. Ich habe nur einen schwarzen Anzug.

KENNY:             Alright Ludwig, speak English until we get there, ‘cause nobody can understand a word you’re saying.

CREIGHTON:   Sorry, Chef, em, Boss! I only have one black business suit.

KENNY:             Okay, Ludwig. Joan can wear the blue then.

BURTON:          Great, Taoiseach. I have a lovely royal blue pants suit that I’ve been dying to wear.

REILLY:            I’ve got just the one jacket that will close; it’s brown!

NOONAN:         Blue pinstripe as usual, Boss.

QUINN:             Grey, striped, Boss!

KENNY:             Alright then. Everyone wear them on the plane and I will look them over for any clashes. Ludwig, get laundry services standing by in case we need them.

CREIGHTON:   Jawohl, Chef! Sorry, certainly Boss. I’ll have them ready. Can Joan and I get extra tights, Boss? A ladder would be very unfortunate.

KENNY:             Yes, yes, certainly. Now let’s address the heart of our economic policy.

FX: DOOR OPENS FOR DINNY MCGINLEY’S RETURN

McGINLEY:      Sorry, Boss. Shatter cannot be found, but I’ll sort it while you’re away. Now, are you all ready for a cuppa?

REILLY:            God say thanks! I thought I would faint with the hunger. What biscuits have you got?

NOONAN:         I have a packet of Jammy Doggers in the Finance Office, if that will help.

KENNY:             That’s not necessary, Michael. Dinny, you may open a packet of milk chocolate digestives from my cupboard. We have to push the boat out once in a while, eh!

GILMORE:        A wonderful treat, An Taoiseach! I can assure you of our full support at the next financial watchdog committee meeting. My colleague, Pat Rabbitte will fully endorse your stance on allocated meeting calories.

KENNY:             Okay, we’ll take a ten minute break for Dinny’s refreshments. However, after that I want full concentration for the rest of the meeting. Oh, and if you need a bathroom, there’s one right underneath us, on the first floor. My bathroom is personal and strictly off-limits.

BURTON:          Lucinda, do you want to accompany me downstairs? I’d like your advice on what to pack for Germany.

CREIGHTON:   Call me Ludwig, please. I have to get into character.

BURTON:          Fine – Ludwig! Let’s go.

QUINN:             Excuse me, Tánaiste. Have you considered the students celebration of the centenary of the Easter Rising yet? I’ve been giving it some thought and would like to run a few proposals pass you.

GILMORE:       Well, I’m obviously very aware of our need to remember the heroes of Ireland’s struggle for Independence, Ruairí. I know that the Labour Party will want to remember and honour our great founder, James Connolly. However, in the current economic difficulty it might be a mistake to be seen too closely aligned to the Unions.

QUINN:            Oh my goodness, Tánaiste! We certainly don’t want that to happen. I just thought that we might organise events that would attract students to our party.

GILMORE:      Capital idea. Draw up a brief that I can pass to Noonan, Ruairí. Nothing too ‘Blue Shirt’, okay.

NOONAN:       Sugar Eamon?

QUINN:           Neither the Tánaiste nor I take sugar, Mick!

KENNY:           Come away, Michael. We have to discuss our sums.

NOONAN:       Yes, Taoiseach. I am very sorry about that, but they are just so disrespectful. We’ll be rid of them come the next election, thank God. Bloody working class yobs! I think that they are plotting to try to upstage us during the 2016 celebrations.

KENNY:           I was hoping to forget the whole thing, Michael. We can use the economic crisis to detour the thing away from Fine Gael altogether. I have nightmares of thousands of protesters wearing blue shirts marching to Kildare Street.

NOONAN:       Oh, I see. We certainly don’t want that sort of thing. I’ll make a note to look into changing the Gardaí uniform. A German green, perhaps? Then we can have the defence forces do a couple of mass parades in marginal constituents. That should see us through.

KENNY:           And send that left-wing President on a state trip somewhere. He has far too much to say, for my liking. Send him to visit the troops in the Lebanon! That would serve him right, the little upstart. Only last week he rang me looking for a poetry slot on RTÉ. It was so embarrassing. I didn’t know where to look! Hey, Reilly is gone again! Where the hell is he now?

NOONAN:       He has a jippy stomach, Taoiseach, so he just popped out to the bathroom.

FX: TOILET FLUSHING

KENNY:           Jeez, he better not have used my bathroom! I’ve asked for a lock for the door, although it seems that Bertie liked to keep it open; a very paranoid man, I have to say.

REILLY:          Phew, that’s better. I’d give it a few minutes, Boss, if you need it. Any biscuits left?

KENNY:           You absolute pelvic, Trolley! You are a disgrace; Mary Harney in pants!

REILLY:          Well, at least I can fit through the door, Boss!

KENNY:           For how much longer? You are a walking health hazard.

McGINLEY:    Excuse me, Taoiseach. We have our London embassy on the line. It is in relation to the e-mail that Ambassador McDonagh sent you last week. I am trying to find a porter to set up the video link, but they are still all on their bank-lodging break, Boss. Will you have a refill, while you’re waiting; it’s no bother!

KENNY:           Oh for fecks sake, Eamon! Can you not keep the unions in check? We are trying to run a country here.

GILMORE:      They’re nothing to do with me, Boss; always demanding and never giving! If only you hadn’t signed up to the Croke Park Agreement, but my hands are tied.

QUINN:           I’ll have a go, Tánaiste. I saw a tutorial on You Tube.

GILMORE:     Good man, Ruairí. We’ll soon have it sorted, Boss.

FX: DOOR OPENS AS JOAN AND LUCINDA RETURN

BURTON        …and I got back to my room, only to discover Owen Paterson’s business card stuck into my blouse! [Sniff] My God, what is that awful smell?

CREIGHTON:Oh my God, Joan! I think Quinn has soiled himself.

BURTON:       No, Ludwig! That is definitely not a Labour smell. Would you look at Reilly, it was obviously him.

KENNY:          Hurry up, girls and Joan, we want to press on and we have London on the line.

REILLY:         Oops, Boss. I’d better go again now then, before you start the conference call.

KENNY:          Get your ass back here, Trolley! Don’t even think of using my…

NOONAN:      Too late, Boss! Anyway, no one else could use it for the rest of today.

McGINLEY:   Hey, Boss. I’ve got a signal. I’m connecting the picture now.

KENNY:          I can see him, Dinny. Hello, Bobby! Hello? We’ve lost him Dinny.

FX: TOILET FLUSHING

McGINLEY:   Just one sec, Boss. There!

McDONAGH: Hello Taoiseach, and hello Ireland, London calling!

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