Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Traditional and modern

There was a St Patrick's day breakfast event in Washington DC hosted by the Northern Ireland USA delegation office. The co-First Ministers (for what's what they are, despite the titles) Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson were there plus just about every elected official in Northern Ireland and Irish foreign minister Micheál Martin.

Alone among the VIPs observed by sources close to this blog, Micheál Martin was the only one wearing the once obligatory sprig of shamrock. For the rest, it was either the muted green tie (such as McGuinness) or no particular symbol at all. The latter approaches seemed more with the times. [note: the White House photos confirm that the shamrock is something Dublin politicians do -- but was there no one to iron Cowen's suit?]

As for the speeches, McGuinness left no doubt about his vehemently negative attitude to the dead-enders. At one point he even referred to how the government was "marching on", a nice sign that the prospect of "marching" has lost its old resonance. Happy St Patrick's Day.

UPDATE: As rumoured a few weeks ago, Barack Obama has used the day to announce Dan Rooney as his Ambassador to Ireland.

FINAL UPDATE: Ever thinking about the electoral ballot paper, Brian Cowen's banter with Barack Obama at the White House just now included his claim that he'd never want Obama running for election against him in Laois-Offaly.

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