There was an interesting article in the Sunday Times over the weekend [on Sunday, actually].
It listed the total amount of time our illustrious TDs spent speaking in the Dáil over the last four years.
Top of the list is Bertie, at 142 hours and 48 minutes, while bottom of the list is Noel Davern at 1 minute and 30 seconds.
Quite a gap.
However, one must realise that of Berties 142 hours and 48 minutes, only 28 seconds were intelligible, so that evens things up a bit.
A surprising entry was Jackie Healy Rae, once noted for never shutting up. He only managed 18 minutes and 48 seconds. Maybe he has said everything he wanted to say. Or maybe he has discovered meditation. We will never know, because he is not saying.
Mary Harney spoke for 35 hours and 30 minutes. That is a lot of monotone. I wonder if she managed to crack any jokes in that time?. I doubt it.
I don’t think it is really a fair list though, as the content is more important than time. After all, if you look back at some of the defining speeches of our time, some were quite short.
- Neil Armstrong on landing on the Moon – “That’s one small step for Man. That’s one giant leap for Mankind” – about 10 seconds.
- Albert Einstein on discovering the power of nuclear energy – “E = MC2” – about 3 seconds.
- Archimedes on his theory of flotation – “Eureka” – 1 second.
- Newton discovering gravity when an apple fell on his head – “Ow” – .5 seconds.
So we mustn’t judge Noel Davern too harshly. Though I think he might have said just a little bit more. After all, he earned an estimated €600,000 in that period and spoke just 300 words. That works out at €2,000 per word. So I hope they were good words.
It also means this little scribble is worth around €650,000. Anyone want to buy it?