“But That’s Mad, Minister?”


Last night.

On RTÉ One’s Prime Time.

Miriam O’Callaghan asked Fine Gael TD and junior Minister for Business, Employment and Retail Damien English about large retailers having to cordon off products deemed inessential as part of the Level 5 Covid-19 lockdown rules.

Asked if it was the case that someone can buy a bottle of wine but not socks for their child, Mr English said:

“Socks come under clothes”

Previously: Games Without Frontiers

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66 thoughts on ““But That’s Mad, Minister?”

    1. Toby

      What gives RTE the right to be tough with anyone? Why should some overpaid ego’d hack be allowed stand in judgement on anyone? The excuse for the media holding people to account is well tired and holds little sway anymore.

      1. Kim the Cardassian

        You’re right. We should get children’s tv presenters to interview them instead. Probably more fitting.

        “Now children, clothes aren’t essential. Everyone together…”


        “This week’s winner of our competition selected by Damien English is Mary O’Shea in Roscommon who drew this wonderful picture of economic depression. Just look at that matchstick man in dispair as he can’t make ends meet for another month in a row. Congratulations Mary, your prize of a Lego fire station is on its way to you”

        1. Janet, dreams of warm feet

          perso I’d like to see an Andres Marr type rip the slithering fupps a new one

          1. Toby

            How would that help exactly? Its a very Irish thing. lets hammer the politicians. Actually, no, lets pay someone stupid money to hammer a politician. ~For what purpose? Sounds a bit bitter to me.

          2. Janet, dreams of warm feet

            riggght, no we will just give them a free pass to do what they want no questions asked…hang on we already do

          3. Toby

            Theres a big difference between giving them a free pass and ” rip the slithering fupps a new one”.

            So no, im not suggesting a free pass. But when people like you think that the objective of the media is to attack and rip politicos- we have forgotten the meaning and function of both media and politics.

          4. Janet, dreams of warm feet

            what can I say I’m in a violent mood, I’m sure we can teach a compromise, starting with transparency, honestly and accountability, then they can avoid my violent fantasies

          1. Janet, dreams of warm feet

            The right to hold politicians to account ? hmmmmmm… where to start ?
            Journalist actually being journalists and asking questions on behalf of the Irish people these politicians are meant to be accountable to …is that such a wild concept ?

          2. Toby

            The concept is fine. But I asked about RTE. This is an organisation that pays its people are than the politicians it interviews. It cannot sack its people. They are the best Pais semi-state in the country. They lose a ton of money and have done for years. They regularly fail their statutory obligations to the independent sector, Irish language and minority groups. They distort the advertising sector with monopolistic practices.

            So given this, why should they be allowed judge others or hold them to account.

            So please, continue!

          3. Janet, dreams of warm feet

            well they must keep up the façade Tony that they indeed ARE journalists, haven’t you seen their latest propaganda add declaring they are the only ones you can trust, it’s hysterical

  1. Barry the Hatchet

    Damien English is an absolute eejit and always has been, and he’s done himself no favours with this stupid soundbite. But it also seems a bit much to suggest that not being able to buy new clothes for six weeks is a crippling hardship.

    1. Optimus Grime

      While not a crippling hardship Barry it can be extremely tough if you have kids who refuse to stop growing during lockdown, the inconsiderate monkeys. My son needed underpants during the last lockdown and it was a pure headache trying to get some. Pants Barry he just needed some pants!

    2. Optimus Grime

      While not a crippling hardship Barry it can be extremely tough if you have kids who refuse to stop growing during lockdown, the inconsiderate monkeys. My son needed underpants during the last lockdown and it was a pure headache trying to get some.

    3. Barry the Hatchet

      Fair enough Optimus, you have a good point there. Hope you got it sorted and the wee fella wasn’t reduced to going commando!

    4. Otis Blue


      FG always put him in front of the media when they’re trying to defend the indefensible. The logic being that his 100 mph staccato gibberish will simply confuse people.

        1. Janet, dreams of warm feet

          yes indeed, jesus the paper work I had to learn for real estate, make your eyes bleed

          1. Janet, dreams of warm feet

            no , but you do need a little exercise to stay regular and you need a form for that :)

  2. Toby

    We are now in the lets catch everyone out phase, and it can only bode ill. Divisions are being stoked, decisions picked apart, politicians being pilloried- for what? To appease the ego of some media types have become bored being responsible and now are going to be insufferable in trying to make a name for themselves. Common sense has left the building.

      1. Toby

        So trolling is anyone you disagree with? Helpless little goblin looking to blame the world for your own ills.

  3. dav

    Anyone else remember John Bruton and the tax on Children’s shoes??
    Damien English fell into Miriam O’Callaghan’s overly emotive question far too easily and gave her the soundbite she wanted.

  4. Charger Salmons

    The number of Covid-related deaths in England over the past seven days involving individuals who were under 60 and without a pre-existing condition was zero.
    The total number for this category since the start of the pandemic is 315.
    Yet the clamour is growing for another full lockdown.

    1. Brother Barnabas

      agree broadly with your point but 60 is a fairly low bar – what’s the figure for, say, 75 or 80?

      1. Charger Salmons

        Considerably higher obviously but
        the average age of C-19 fatalities in England is still over 80.
        As far as I can see nothing in this second wave has changed from the first – the elderly,sick and infirm should be massively protected and the rest should be the subject of regional or even local lockdowns.
        Another extended lockdown in winter will be an economic and social disaster.
        Sadly I fear politicians on both sides of the Irish Sea will be bounced into the easy option.

        1. Joe F

          You’ve changed your tune old boy. How come a few weeks ago, you were saying all this lockdown business was a load of nonsense? You were going over to the North of England, where you could still get some pints. Explain your thinking clown man. You seem to have pivoted 180 degrees there old sport.

        2. Barry the Hatchet

          “the elderly, sick and infirm should be massively protected” I think perhaps one of the difficulties with this idea is that, if the virus is transmitting at a very high level in society, it is next to impossible to protect those vulnerable groups.

          1. Brother Barnabas

            very difficult to properly isolate and protect these groups, but it’s not like we havent had almost 9 months to prepare and get the necessary structures in place

          2. bisted

            …the outbreak in the care home in Galway suggests that once the number of new cases goes over 1000 per day they become vulnerable…thankfully, the NPHET advice was finally taken after a 2 week gamble by politicians…their model was deadly accurate…

          3. Janet, dreams of warm feet

            it suggests to me that my friend who works in a care home is correct, that people pay a lot of money so that underpaid and undertrained staff who have neither the resources or the will to deal with a difficult job being made more challenging and that no initiatives by our “protect the vunerable government ” have been instigated to change that scenario.

  5. Eoin

    Clothing, food and shelter are basic human rights. The state is getting us used to having our basic rights messed with. There is no other logical reason.

  6. Nullzero

    Take away gargle from the electorate and you’ll be out on yer bum bum in double quick time come the next election, even though wine has had a greater impact on covid numbers than kiddies socks.

    1. Janet, dreams of warm feet

      Most people buy wine with their weekly shop in the supermarket, what difference of they are already in there ? There’s hardly nice cavistes at the end of every street corner

  7. Micko

    “Clothes aren’t essential”

    Even the pro lockdown zealots on Twitter can’t defend that opinion. It’s brilliant, even though they might think it, their ‘virtue signalling’ programming won’t allow them to condone it.

      1. Papi

        Think outside the box, you may have to, J-Cloths, duvets, plastic, the dead bird in the garden, all could be haute-couture!!!

          1. Brother Barnabas

            i especially liked your penis gourd made from the pringles tube, papi – but perhaps it wasn’t the best choice for the parent-teacher meeting.

          2. Charger Salmons

            Would that be with one of those small Pringles tubes you buy in pubs for a couple of euros ?

    1. Janet, dreams of warm feet

      they are really dreaming of everyone in uniform you see, maybe something along the lines of Hugo Boss ?

  8. spud

    from citizensinformation.ie

    0% (Zero) VAT rating includes all exports, tea, coffee, milk, bread, books, children’s clothes and shoes, oral medicine for humans and animals, vegetable seeds and fruit trees, fertilisers, large animal feed, disability aids such as wheelchairs, crutches and hearing aids.

    There’s a reason they have 0% VAT.

    If a Government minister doesn’t know, or if they Government don’t…. why are they in Government??

    1. Charger Salmons

      And teachers, surely the most grasping and laziest part of the public sector, will be distraught at the prospect of spending even more of 2020 at home.
      With no sun to top up their tan in the garden this time what are they going to do ?

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