We have been listening to all those hard-nosed hacks on radio, TV, on twitter and all the rest of the social media outlets over the past number of days; not to mention members of the print media writing no end of columns inches as they, one after another, place their holier than thou collective hats firmly on their collective ceannteideal.
We have been listening to an outraged public, fuming so much it would make the Joe ‘Wash Your Hands’ Duffy Radio programme seem just like a normal ‘how are you goin’ phone-in chat show.
Yet not one; at least not one that I have come across, asked the real hard question(s) concerning the annual Oireachtas Golf Society Captain's Prize outing, in the beautiful rain-lashed, wind-swept Clifden, Co Galway.
Most were just interested in who togged out on the day.
What was for dinner?
Red or white wine?
Maybe a drop of both.
Who sat beside who?
Who made it into Room A as distinct from Room B?
Who sat beside Big Phil?
Did Mr Justice What’shisname recite grace before meals?
Did Donie Cassidy sing a country and western song?
Did Micheál send his apologies?
Was Leo represented?
Did Eamonn nod off, and miss his lift?
Was Mary Lou even asked to caddy?
But not a mention of the real hard question.
I mean the real hard question has gone unasked.
Sure on a Captain's Day golf outing the one question everyone wants an answer to, and an answer immediately after stepping off the 18th green:
Not did you play well.
Not what was the course like.
Not were the greens fast.
Not were the bunkers in good order.
Not what was the goodie-bag like.
The first question asked on such occasions is a simple one.
Who won the Captain’s Prize?
The second question is what was the winner playing off?
And the third question, how much did he/she win by?
All the other questions fall into place after that.
Not a feckin’ dickie bird.
Not a squeak.
Had none of the hard-nosed hacks even got the wherewithal to enquire was the winner a member of the Upper or Lower House?
Was the winner a present or former TD, senator, Minister, Junior Minister, Parliamentary Secretary; a pen pusher for any of the above; or even a hanger-on around Buswells Hotel?
Was the winner a member of the judiciary?
A member of the medical profession?
Male or female?
TV or radio personality, past, present or future?
Was their two sections, as in prizes, for ladies and gents?
Or was it just like, the seating arrangements, all in together, with a pull-over, pull-back sliding door.
Was their a team prize and if so, how were teams made-up?
Was their a draw for partners?
Were golfers with certain number plates on their vehicles asked to park out the back?
Were participants from Laois, Offaly and Kildare lined out together and if not, were their temperatures taken before, during and, most importantly, after the golf?
How many golfers flew in from green listed countries?
Or countries not so green.
Many other obvious questions about this entire affair, but not touched on by the hacks include:
Was the winner cut?
And if so, by how much?
Had the winner been on the podium at any stage over the last fifty years of this auspicious golf society's existence?
These are questions that need to be asked; vital questions.
And another of the big questions that, to my knowledge, and having conducted an in-depth inquiry, do not seem to have been touched on:
What were the prizes?
And in particular what was the winning prize?
I could think of a few prizes that might have suited the occasion.
A trip to Brussels (for two) for three nights, with dinner on an evening of your choosing with Big Phil, would be a very appropriate prize I would have thought, although the winner of this one might want to take it up sooner rather than later, but it looks now there might be one vacant chair at the dinner table.
Then again how's about tickets (multiple lots) for a choice of one of Donie Cassidy’s Country & Western former big acts; no doubt throw-in an overnight with an auld bottle of red.
How about a tour of the Supreme Court (no overnight stay with this one) but a trip around the Four Courts might be added in, if their was a ‘session’ that day.
A prize that included a free consultation (for a year) with a good doctor (and former TD) would surely be well received.
Another prize, much sought after, a trip to RTÉ and an interview with SOR, sorry, Claire Byrne, on the Today programme, followed by a light lunch in the canteen upstairs, before taking part in Joe’s phone-in.
Other prizes: a trip to the Upper House (no, that’s not the name of a pub in Ballsbridge) but the upper chamber, aka The Seanad, a guided tour by one of the whipless members of that particular establishment.
Pick-me-outs would be a very much sought-after consolation prize in the non-winners section.
Some juicy ones here.
A morning session in the Oireachtas gym with an elected person of your choice, only stipulation being you must tag along with someone who has been known to have taken part in this prestigious society, but not necessarily in 2020, so that probably rules out Micheál, Leo, Eamonn, Mary Lou, AK47 and the entire leadership of the Social what'stheirnames.
However, the big prize, apart from the unknown captain's prize, an invitation to let one’s name go forward for a recent vacancy that has arisen (for the second time in a matter of weeks) that of Minister for Agriculture.
The main stipulation here being, if handed the job, you must give an undertaking to remain there for a minimum of three months.
However, just like the last person that held that position, one does not necessarily have to play the small ball game, but must be available to turn up at the captain’s dinner, say a few words about the longevity of the prestigious society, mention a few past winners of the captain’s prize and, very important, if anything goes wrong, be in a position to apologise profusely about any errors of judgement.
No hacks need apply, I’m told, as holier than thou folk do not do apologies, profusely or otherwise!