We like to tell ourselves that Ireland – north and south is important on the American political agenda – sure with all those Irish American and Scot-Irish votes to be won they daren’t ignore us. The truth was brought home in recent times.
President Bush speaking in a recorded address mistakenly called Nigel Dodds ‘Minister Dobbs’. In the pantheon of Bushisms – and there are books (plural) of them - this is hardly his biggest faux pas. However, we are not important enough for a live address it seems and no one even thought the ‘Dobbs’ mistake was important enough to say to ‘read that line again Mr President’.
To add insult to injury Bertie Ahern’s crowning glory, his address last week to the joint Houses of Congress – the home of the world’s foremost democracy and only superpower -turns out to have been a sham! Barely a dozen of the 100 members of the Senate and fewer than 50 of the 435 congressional representatives turned up for his address. The gaps left by this 10% turnout were filled by congressional aides and over 50 pages - the young messengers who occupy the lowest rung on the congressional staff ladder.