18 Aug 2022

Is there a political ploughing curse?

Politicians and ploughing are like peas in a pod

SOME say you're as likely to run into a politician as a farmer at the Ploughing. And they could be right.

I mean, what better photo opportunity is there than an event which attracts hundreds of thousands of people and sees RTE decamp from Dubland to Culchieland for three whole days, once a year every year?

But some pictures come at a price. For what's a happy snap one day can be a painful reminder on another.

If a week is a long time in politics, a year or two can be an eternity between Ploughings.

For instance, Gerry Adams was one of the star turns at the Ploughing in Screggan in September 2016.

Local Sinn Fein TD Carol Nolan was more than pleased to welcome him to her home county and guide him through the heaving throng on the site.

But less than two years later, by June 2018, she was an Independent Dail deputy after splitting with Adams' party because of her opposition to abortion.

The same day, September 21, 2016, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin was at the Ploughing too. And his party standardbearer in Offaly, Barry Cowen, was followed by the paps as he pressed the flesh.

Less than four years later Martin sacked the younger brother of former Taoiseach Brian Cowen, after discovering that Barry had been banned from driving shortly before they met at the Ploughing.

There's a tale to tell involving a Fine Gael TD but it demonstrates a flaw in the political ploughing curse theory.

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy was demoted from her junior ministerial position. But it happened before she met up with Leo Varadkar in Screggan.

Under Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the Offaly TD was a Minister of State at the Department of Health and when Leo stepped into the office in Government Buildings, the Ferbane woman was dropped.

That was in June 2017. Three months later Varadkar was at the Ploughing and the Fine Gael TD had to do her duty and join her leader as he met the media.

There is a popular ploughing class called reversible. Perhaps Barry Cowen harbours hopes that his demotion can be turned around too.

Click on the top right of the picture to see the other politicians at the Ploughing.

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