The real Irish presidential debate

A solar flare causes massive disruption to mobile phone networks, and widespread chaos. Among side effects that people have little time to worry about, the seven candidates in the Irish presidential election 2011 are stranded in a blacked out TV studio where they were preparing for a debate. With all transport and communications blocked they have no choice but to sit tight and wait.

Dana: Oh lord Jesus preserve us. Holy Mother of God pray for us.

Michael D: Stay calm. The power will come back on in a minute.

Dana: Hail Mary full of grace….

Gallagher: [turns on iPhone like a torch, simpers…] No signal.

McGuinness: Is there no windows in this place?

Mitchell: No.

Dana: Our Father who art in heaven…

Mitchell: Dana, would you ever give it a rest?

Michael D: There’s no need for that, Gay.

Mitchell: You can go and fuck off as well. Which way is the door?

Director: Gentlemen, ladies, please sit tight, it’s not safe to wander with the cables and equipment.

Davis: [screams] What was that?!

Gallagher: Sorry.

Dana: Hail holy queen…

Michael D: Ah Dana, will you shut up now?

McGuinness: Who’s in charge here?

Mitchell: If we all hold hands we can support each other and try and find a way out.

Michael D: Like an elephant troupe. (I must make a note of that image.)

Gallagher: Fuck this for a game of cyards. I’m going.
[Loud crash, multiple items cascading]
Aah, owww, owww!

Director: Please sit tight!

Dana: Glory be to the F-


Michael D: Are you all right there, Sean?

[No answer]

Mitchell: And then there were six….

McGuinness: Well whenever we’re stuck here we might as well get a few things straight. I’ve been subjected to harassment and unfair attacks here in this studio.

Norris: Martin, you think you’ve been harassed. I’ve gone through the trials of Oscar Wilde you know.

Mitchell: The two of ye deserve each other. Why don’t you get a civil union and join your miseries. You’d think nobody else had ever suffered in their lives. … If you’s had been fed on nothing but Smash and sausages in Inchicore and had an oulfella leather you whenever he’d had a bad day in the cattle market, you’d know something about misery.

Dana: We were all ….

Norris: It wasn’t all that different in the boarding school, except we had a few carrots and real potatoes. Oh and maybe a chop instead of a sausage. Missing your parents and crying in each other’s arms every night. Made a man of you.

Dana: Spangles?

Michael D: Yes, Dana?

Dana: You know, we had Spangles.

Gallagher: [groans]

Davis: I thought Miriam went a bit berserk in the last debate. Really think RTE could do a bit better. With all the marvellous ladies I meet around Mount Merrion, why they have to bring in a mumsy lowbrow like her, I’m sure I don’t know.

Michael D: To be fair to you Mary, you have a lovely turn of phrase. But I’d swap ten of you for one of Miriam, now, so I would.

Davis: You doddery old shite. God forgive me.

Dana: We used to…

McGuinness: I was down in Inchicore today and none of them had ever heard of you Gay. I asked some of them and they said ‘d’ye not mean Gay Byrne, he never ran.’ I had a pint with a fella there, quartermaster for the Dublin south east brigade, and he said you were best remembered as a thick who tried to bounce a rock. “Rocky”?

Mitchell: Fuckin’ amazing, you never said “whenever I was down in Inchicore” ya moron.

Gallagher: [moans]

Michael D: Shush everyone, I want to hear what Dana has to say.

Dana: It doesn’t matter now. When will the power come on? I’ve got the shakes. Something is frightening me, I don’t know what. Has anyone else got a mobile phone on them? I left mine in the dressing room.

Norris: Here, Dana. I’ll pull this barstool over beside you. Now, how’s that?

Dana: [screams] Get away from me! Get away from me!

Norris: Jesus Christ almighty, Dana, what is the matter with you woman? You’re a nervous wreck.

McGuinness: Sing us a song Dana.

Davis: Oh please God no.

Michael D: [sings] Nach mór an t’íonadh, os chomhair na ndaoine, a bhfheiscint sinnte ar gcúl a chinn…

Gallagher: [whimpers]

Mitchell: Holy sufferin lantern o’ Jasus, will yous ever cop yourselves on. It’s like a fuckin’ wake here. Tell some dirty jokes or something. Here’s one: If the answer is two dogs and a film star, what’s the question?

Dana: [sings]
Ah! Sweet mystery of life
At last I’ve found thee
Ah! I know at last the secret of it all!

[The power comes back on revealing: ON AIR sign, cameraman in place, Mary Davis riding Gay Mitchell, David Norris with his tongue down Martin McGuinness’s throat, Sean Gallagher on all fours with his head up Dana’s skirt and Michael D with legs crossed, hair like Einstein and trousers sopping wet. Small audience, earlycomers, breaks into a round of applause.]

Author: Stephen Moran

I was born in Dublin and made my way to London on a bike in my mid-twenties. It’s where I can still be found though ever further out, most recently as far as Harrow. I no longer own a bicycle.