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"Why was he not more honest with me?" a plaintive Father Roche asks.

Cardinal Rules An occasional column (not) by the Primate of All Ireland, healer and crisp fan

The writer behind the satirical @CardinalBrady Twitter account casts an acerbic eye over Dick Roche’s recent media performances.

THIS WEEK I found Father Roche in his room looking through his scrapbook filled with press cuttings of Dick Roche.

There was Minister Roche greeting European dignitaries. Minister Roche asking constituents to vote yes for the Lisbon Treaty (again). And Minister Roche managing the spectacular feat of looking both dynamic and slightly submissive in the presence  of José Manuel Barroso.

“Do you remember when I offered to canvas for him, your eminence?”

I nodded. “Because you’ve spent your life dealing with feelings of childhood abandonment? And because of this you somehow became irrationally convinced he was your long lost cousin? You mean that time?”

A doe-eyed Father Roche nodded, and I remembered how on his first day working with Minister Roche he rang me babbling with excitement. I was happy for him. But I sensed something was not quite right. “Have you asked him the question yet?” I said. Father Roche replied, somewhat defensively “I don’t have to.”

Two days passed before I received another call. When it came it was a rather prickly Father Roche on the line.

“I asked him,” he said. “I asked him and he said he is my cousin, most definitely.”

“Are you sure he’s not fibbing a little bit?” I said.

“Why would he do that?” he responded rather tartly.

“You don’t know,” I said “Maybe he says that to all the priests.”

“You are so mean!” shouted Father Roche, and he hung up.

Two days later a shell-shocked Father Roche returned to the house. Over lemonade, out it came: the tales of Minister Roche’s penchant for kissing his constituents, “even the hairy ones.” On one occasion, he sniffled, the over exuberant minister had to be restrained from kissing a poodle.

Apparently the Minister also informed everybody he met that not only did he know their father, but he was also their cousin. After that Father Roche found it hard to believe anything the minister said.

The final straw came in the lounge of a local pub. Minister Roche and his handlers were gathered in preparation for a meeting with a branch of the LSFA (Local Sweaty Farmer’s Association). One handler was applying lip balm to the minister. Another, peering out a window, shouted: “They have a labrador with them!”

At this the minister’s eyes gleamed. He clapped his hands together, and Father Roche swears he heard him say under his breath: “Pucker up bitches.” They exited the pub in a whirlwind of leaflets. Meanwhile a broken Father Roche bowed his head, scrunched a pamphlet into a ball, and sobbed quietly in the gloom.

And now, while holding a photo of Minister Roche framed by the EU flag (a halo of stars around his magnificent Irish head) Father Roche asked me the plaintive question: “Why was he not more honest with me?”

I shook my head and chuckled: “Maybe the minister, like many of his colleagues, believes himself to be in touch with a greater truth. One beyond the ken of ordinary men. Maybe that’s why people don’t understand him. Maybe all this so called doublespeak is a truer form of expression than the rudimentary linguistic ‘truth’ than the so called ‘man in the street’ uses. Maybe, just maybe he was, in his own way, telling a form of the truth more powerful than the accepted definition of truth as you or I know it.”

Father Roche was silent for a moment. He looked at the picture and sighed. “Maybe you’re right.”

“Or maybe I’m just stringing you along,” I said, and winked.

“Oh you kidder,” he said as he punched me in the arm. We laughed, and I made a mental note to stop his pocket money for a week.

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(Not) Cardinal Sean Brady