Those of you who have been following my musings over the years will know the affection, esteem and, dare I say it, love we Irish have for our politicians. Our love for our Glorious Leaders rivals that even of the North Koreans.
They have a very hard time deciding how to spend the taxes we willingly give them and of course we rely on them to provide the guidance as to how we should live our lives. We would be utterly lost without them.
Unlike most countries, we want to show our appreciation for all their hard work and diligence so each year we send them all on an all expenses paid holiday to the destination of their choice. Not only that but we send their families too, though for the sake of accounting we count the extras as "civil servants", "advisors" and the like.
This is where we are sending them this year –
US – Taoiseach
France – Tánaiste
Canada – Michael Noonan
China – Brendan Howlin
Italy – Richard Bruton
New York – Joan Burton
San Francisco – Jimmy Deenihan
London and Birmingham – Pat Rabbitte
United Arab Emirates – Phil Hogan
Mexico – Alan Shatter
New Zealand and Eastern Australia – Simon Coveney
Japan and Korea – Frances Fitzgerald
Boston and Cleveland – James Reilly
Atlanta and Savannah – Minister Leo Varadkar
Washington DC – Attorney General Máire Whelan SC
Lebanon – Paul Kehoe
Scotland – Jan O’Sullivan
Pittsburgh and Philadelphia – Dinny McGinley
Spain – John Perry
Netherlands – Michael Ring
Vietnam – Kathleen Lynch
Germany – Fergus O’Dowd
Chicago and Kansas City – Sean Sherlock
Romania – Ciaran Cannon
Western Australia – Alan Kelly
Russia – Alex White
Norway – Tom Hayes
Belgium and Luxembourg – Paschal Donohoe
Now you may think this is rather an extravagant gesture, costing us millions when we are hard pressed to pay the electricity bills?
It's because they're worth it.
Or at least because they think they're worth it.