Oh no he didn’t, oh yes he did. The calls came from the back at first and then spread throughout the audience. The crowd began to boo and hiss. Gallagher was under pressure.
It had started so well for the Dragon. There was talk of his prime position in the polls and many could have been forgiven for assuming that he had the Presidency in the bag. That is until Martin McGuinness emerged from the wings.
Gallagher had solicited donations for Fianna Fail, McGuinness claimed. He had the contacts to prove it. The Dragon denied the accusation but the script for the evening was already re-written.
An unassuming dark-haired businesswoman in the audience was to prove the Dragon’s next opponent. “Where did the €89,000 come from Seán?” asked Glenna the Good. “It was made out to the wrong account” he replied matter-of-factly, adding that his accountant had rectified the situation within four weeks.
Glenna the Good wasn’t convinced and neither were the audience. “Four weeks? How did that take four weeks?” whispered a woman in the fourth row before turning to her friend and rolling her eyes. “They’re all the same” her friend replied.
The debate trundled on in a predictable fashion. Did Norris lack judgment? Was McGuiness an unrepentant IRA man? Gallagher sat quietly in the corner. He only spoke when spoken to. During the interval he said little, if anything at all. He suddenly seemed too small for his trouser legs.
“We’ve just had a tweet.” Four words from Pat Kenny seemed to seal Gallagher’s fate. Down came the curtain that had shielded the all-powerful Seán. His ironclad defense fell. He was forced to backtrack. “I don’t remember”, he feebly stated.
A political pantomime was played out in studio as the audience turned on the would-be President. “Was it a brown envelope Sean?” cried a voice from the back of the studio. “The €89,000 just resting in your account was it?”
Gay Mitchell distracted attention from the defeated Dragon. He protested that the candidates were being asked irrelevant questions. Anger erupted in the audience. “The people can ask you whatever they like”, a man roared.
Pat Kenny kept his cool. The questions were giving the people an idea of the candidates’ temperament, he teased. Mitchell had no reply.
Temperament was tested and judgment delivered as the curtain fell. Glenna the Good vanquished the Dragon. Oh yes, she did.
Originally completed October 2011 – delayed publishing due to grading of assignment.