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Playing your part for team Ireland

As my colleague in real estate picks up the All-Ireland Best Actor award, it struck me how important the team is in so many aspects of life.

Regular listeners to RTÉ Radio will have heard a lot of talk about theatrics recently, and, for once, it was not a reference to the players on the stage-in-the-round of the Houses of the Oireachtas. The dramatic theme was down to the All-Ireland Drama Festival, which is held at the beginning of May each year at the Dean Crowe Theatre in Athlone, sponsored by RTÉ.

There is an actor in all of us

It’s where the cream of amateur drama competes for a slew of stagecraft awards. My profession was well represented this year by my colleague in real estate, Mr Padraig Broe, a favourite to take the Best Actor award for his role in the Moat Club’s production of Sebastian Barry’s The Steward of Christendom.

In fact he did win the All-Ireland Best Actor award for his physically and emotionally demanding role of Thomas Dunne, Barry’s great grandfather and the last Chief Superintendent of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, a part that has been compared to King Lear in its sheer, daunting difficulty. Some might say he’s acting every day in his role as auctioneer and estate agent! But aren’t we all acting, to some extent, in the roles we carry out every day?

Whether it’s putting on a brave face when things are not going so well, or steadfastly refusing to see the signs of improvement despite the evidence, there is a bit of pretence going on, especially as the canvassing steps up for the European and local elections in just over a week.

Team Players

Something else about the All-Ireland drama finals struck me; the importance of the team. There were around 30 people involved in the production of the Steward of Christendom when you consider the cast, director, lighting and sound designers and operators, set designers, builders, the costume lady, prompter, van driver and set painter! The audience might remember one man – Padraig Broe – such was his performance, but without the team, his performance, indeed the play, wouldn’t have been possible.

It’s the same for the candidates in next week’s elections. Of course they are trading on their own personality and convictions (if they are independent!) but they are also dependent on the team of people behind them; the grass roots party members or supporters, election agents and strategists.

Point scoring or the good of the constituency?

Once elected to the local authority or European Parliament, they join another team, wherein they encounter people whose views they don’t necessarily share. This is the thorny issue; once elected, which team is more important? The disparate team members must work together for the betterment of the whole; Kildare or Europe. Yet they must toe the party line. It is a problem with our adversarial style of government that party point-scoring often takes priority over the real objective, which has to be making life better for the constituents.

Taking the concept of the team a step further, you could say that each one of us belongs to the same team, at a national level – team Ireland. What’s the best way to serve this team? You probably wouldn’t feel much attachment to a team in which you didn’t have much of a say, so make sure you vote on Friday 23rd May.

Padraig Broe
Padraig Broe
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