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Dublin: 18°C Tuesday 19 October 2021

Two ministers and a famously brassy lady in a wooden box. What could go wrong this time?

“It’s okay touching the shoulder, isn’t it? It’s one of the safe areas?”

A CYNIC MIGHT suggest that the throng of photographers herded into a giant wooden box at the bottom of Grafton Street this evening knew exactly what they were doing when they shouted ‘Minister Hayes on this side please!’.

Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Hayes and his Fine Gael colleague Leo Varadkar were ushered into the hoarding shortly after 5pm and asked to climb the mount on either side of the Molly Malone statue. Around a dozen snappers and cameramen were there to watch them do so.

Why, you ask?

Well, poor Molly had little choice. Dubbed, by some Dublin wag, as the ‘Tart with the Cart’, she’d already had decades to get used to slightly demeaning photo-ops. Unveiled as the city celebrated its Millenium  — or ‘Alluminium’ (the wag, again) —  the famous fishmonger’s been wheeling her wheelbarrow on same spot at the edge of College Green since 1988.

Varadkar, the transport minister, was there to talk about the cross-city Luas works (the iconic statue is on the move, you see, to make way for track-laying in the area).

And Hayes? Well his portfolio takes in the Office of Public Works — so clearly the TD had every right and reason to come along and step up to the plinth. Having a snap or two appear in a national newspaper in the middle of his European election campaign couldn’t hurt either — surely?

As far as the snappers were concerned, however, there was one very clear reason for the junior minister to be there… Hayes’ main role for duration would be to stand slightly to the statue’s right — so his eyeline would be more-or-less on a par with the long-suffering Molly’s ample frontage.

A set up bound to lead to some cringe-worthy moments, right?




In fairness — the precise state of undress of the city’s various historical monuments may not be something one gives the least bit of thought to, on the way to a busy day at Leinster House (or wherever).

Confronted with them at close range however, the Ministers quickly realised the statue’s breasts were going to loom large in this particular photo-up.

“Hold onto the basket there,” Hayes advised his ministerial colleague, for no apparent reason — apart, perhaps, from the fact that said basket was entirely empty of bosoms.

“It’s okay touching the shoulder, isn’t it? It’s one of the safe areas?” Varadkar later asked no-one in particular.

Perhaps the ministers needed to pursue a different strategy, to raise the tone a little?

Hayes had already tried looking directly at the danger area. And pointing.

That hadn’t worked…

Maybe ask some of the contractors to join in for a shot or two?…

Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland



Nailed it.

Read: Two ministers, some sheep, and a city centre photo-op. What could go wrong?

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