Updated: 21/06/17 : 05:43:49
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MacSharry has his best day in national politics

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor

MARC MacSHARRY had his best day in national politics yesterday, Tuesday.

Maybe no surprise that it didn't happen in the Dáil, in which he has only been a member for sixteen months.

Besides, the Dáil is becoming more irrelevant, helped there by its new (new?) Taoiseach.

Varadkar's rating yesterday was 4/10 max for turning up, no more. 

'Mac' has put in some very good shifts as a member of the Joint Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee.

Banks Inquiry

That watchdog body includes both TDs and Senators; the Sligo TD has had a few chances to shine during the past decade.

Up to now his best showing was on the Committee's inquiry into the banks, where he was joined by another (then) Sligo Senator, Susan O'Keefe. 

Yesterday, however, was a star day for the Sligo town TD as he cross-questioned Garda Commissioner, Noirin O'Sullivan.

In these columns nowhere will you find any criticism of O'Sullivan's work. 

However she seems Hell-bent on cashing her chips with this Committee. She looks a busted flush. 

'Mac' turned down the volume on himself yesterday and turned up the heat, repeatedly, under the Garda Commissioner.

It worked well. He functioned extremely in asking measured questions in a measured tone.

He quarried the Commissioner relentlessly in her refusal to provide one FACT to him.

Namely, he wanted to know the signatory on a bank account held in Cabra, Dublin but related to the matters being probed re: the Garda College in Tipperary. 

In politics and journalism it does NOT always matter whether the question is answered, either.

The reader, the viewer, will form their own opinion as to whether they 'believe' a particular (non) answer. Lasting impressions last. 

Both RTÉ's main news yesterday evening and TV3's 'Tonight With Vincent Browne' extensively featured 'Mac.'

After Tea

But his best showing was the riveting Public Accounts Committee session after tea last night. 

The Committee's work was shown live for several further hours on a TV channel (too) seldom watched, the Oireachtas channel. 

Sligo town's Fianna Fáil TD failed to get ANY satisfactory answers from the Garda boss.

Yesterday was hardly a special 'day to remember ' in the career of Noirin O'Sullivan.

Hopefully her internal debrief on the two recent days answering questions will not be wasted by sterile Garda groupthink or surrounded by officers and PR-types.

Police Service

The issues now to be decided extend beyond the original allegations and the implications WILL be far reaching for shaping the police service in the Republic. 

It wasn't just with 'Mac' that Noirin O'Sullivan failed the litmus test yesterday.

She failed dismally with Catherine Connolly, Mary Lou McDonald, Bobby Aylward, with Alan Kelly and David Cullinane -- the latter two excellent. 

Yet, it was not the performance which will raise most eyebrows and most questions when the Committee begins to write its report.

The stonewall series by the Director General of the Department of Justice -- upon legislators! -- had to be seen to be believed. 

In contrast, the entire showing last night by Josephine Feehily, Chair of the Policing Authority was refreshing to watch. 

It brought brevity, precision, some insight and always great clarity to how, say, she saw the issues she was asked about by TDs and Senators. 

Yesterday was a (small) turning point for this State. How often has that been said but mark my words and mark the date.