Ireland: Joe Higgins speaks on Irish TV about general election result

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Transcript

Presenter

The new Dáil will be without one of its most articulate voices of opposition. Socialist Party leader Joe Higgins lost his seat. He has been reflecting on his ten years in the Dáil.

Paul Maguire (voice over):

Without question Joe Higgins is viewed as one of the masters of satirical comment in the Dáil. Since elected as the TD for Dublin West in 1997, the 58-year old Kerry man was at the heart of some of the most memorable exchanges in the house. Like the time he responded to the Taoiseach’s claim to be one of the few socialists in the Dáil.

Film of Joe Higgins in Dáil:

"And I thought first, good on you Taoiseach, there’s two of us in it. Let’s go down together!"

Voice over:

Over the years, Joe Higgins was at the centre of many high profile campaigns, going to jail in 2003 for refusing to end his protest against bin charges.

Film of Joe being arrested:

"They are sitting in the Dáil Éireann and the councils and nothing is being done against it!"

Voice over:

Despite losing his seat last week, the former secondary school teacher is determined to continue campaigning.

Film of Joe being interviewed:

"It is a personal blow undoubtedly not to have the platform to directly challenge the government, but the challenge will continue from outside the Dáil, where I campaigned for 20 or 25 years before I ever got there.

Voice over:

In the Dáil, the Taoiseach was not the only one to experience the Higgins brand of satire.

Film of Joe in the Dáil:

"The snide comment from behind you that I should stick with the kebabs, referring to my fight against the exploitation of Gama workers, ill behoves the minister for overseas development."

Voice over:

Another minister to come under attack from Joe Higgins was Willie O’Dea when he appeared in the Irish Times brandishing an army rifle.

Film of Joe in the Dáil:

"Can I ask you as a matter of Dáil security did you at least require the minister of defence to leave his weapon at the door this morning?"

Voice over:

The Taoiseach’s Manchester dig-out gave Higgins the ammunition for one of his most memorable exchanges.

Film of Joe in the Dáil:

"It was at the very least a catastrophic failure of political judgement and it further beggars belief that you couldn’t give it back. Did you ever hear of a bank draft, Taoiseach? And this morning it took me two minutes to draft the letter that you would send with it. ‘Oh Jeez, lads, you have me in huge trouble if you don’t take back the 50 grand. My circumstances are improved and I’ll have 50 reporters traipsing me for the rest of my life if this comes out. Bertie.’ Simple as that. Maybe you’d have said: ‘PS. Tell Paddy the plasterer to stay clear of Callely’s House. He’s in enough trouble with the painter already.’"

Voice over:

For fans of Higgins’s satire, the former TD has promised he will be running in the next general election, which he says may be sooner rather than later. Paul Maguire, RTE News.

 

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