Recitation by An Tuasal McGrath on His Ascension Into Cabinet, by Kevin Higgins


I’ve long been acknowledged by colleagues
of every persuasion and none,
by friends real and imaginary,
and by my many enemies
whose names I won’t waste time
putting on the record of this house
– we’d be here all year – as a man proud
to go around the place
mouthing the word integrity.

I thank the Taoiseach for making
every disabled person in the country, as of today,
my personal responsibility.
I thank my twenty six cousins,
all of whom are in the Visitor’s Gallery
tonight, wearing Irish Tweed suits
they had specially knitted
for the occasion.

It is a great honour for the people
to have me serve them.
I urge people not to bother
reading the programme for Government.
Instead, members of this house
should take a look
at what’s under the table
obvious to all brave enough to see it
and engage with it.

This has been called a grubby deal.
I reject such hyperbole.
There was a far inferior one done
in eighteen fifty four.
Members opposite have sat
with their hands
on their private parts
for the past seventy days.
This has not been easy.
And it will, we have to hope, prove unpopular.
But I will be taking no lectures
from anyone except myself.
I call on people to take particular care not
to read page four of the document.

I will stand up for people with cystic fibrosis,
speak passionately at each
and every one of their funerals,
whatever the political consequences
for me personally.

I guarantee, there will be less disabled people
as a percentage of our gross national product
this time next year than there are today.
And those who remain will have the right
to all the Cadbury’s Cream Eggs
they can watch me eat.

Please to do not insult the people
who put me here by calling me grubby.
Grubby was several stops back.

KEVIN HIGGINS is The Bogmans Cannon Satirist-in-Residence