Is Bruton an ambassador?

By | July 8, 2006

Been meaning to post about this all week, but my fill-in work presenting the Lunchtime Show on Newstalk 106 seriously hampered my online idling…

“Sue Denham” carried this piece in The Sunday Times last week

Diplomacy called for as Bruton faces a question of state

Just as prophets are without honour in their own land, so ambassadors get no kudos in their hinterland. “Bruton not really an ambassador?” ran a headline in last week’s Meath Topic, the local newspaper of John Bruton, the former taoiseach, who is now a Brussels bigshot in America. “Controversy has arisen over the actual status of Bruton, as to whether or not he and the EU can correctly describe him as the EU ambassador to the USA,” revealed the Topic.

Actually, the undermining of Bruton’s status seems to be the work of Anthony Coughlan, the anti-EU campaigner, who reckons “only states have ambassadors and the EU is not a state”. Bruton, he says, is only a head of delegation.

The Topic contacted the European commission to check Bruton’s stats — had the local boy made good or no? “We are not an embassy,” the EU office in Washington told them. “But Bruton has courtesy rank as an ambassador. He is recognised as such by the United States and given full diplomatic status.”

Sue looks forward to the former taoiseach passing around the Ferrero Rocher at his next party. ”

The background to this is that the brother and his wife (who live in Washington DC) attended a party thrown by Brutal on Europe Day (whenever that was..maybe a month or so ago). Someone took a photo of the brother, the sister-in-law, Brutal and Finola which needless to say winged its way back to Enfield and was enthusiastically placed in The Meath Topic – the local rag. It was on the front page (since The Topic produced different editions and just changes the front and back pages for areas like our’s and keeps the main paper the same). There was a detailed explanation of who was who in the photo and parentage established etc. The headline read “Europe Day at the Ambassador’s Residence”.

The following week the Topic arrived with a story headlined as detailed in the ST piece above. Now Coughlan was writing to The Village the same week complaining that Bruton was being called an ambassador on Morning Ireland. However we are quite confident that Coughlan wrote no such letter to the Topic and instead some local (un)worthy was piqued by the honour being shown towards the county’s former Taoiseach. WHO would be so bloody petty? Coughlan’s pettiness is at least ideologically based -he is a well established Europhobe and would be justifiably exercised at what he would see as the assumption of state/sovereign powers by the EU. But the local….that was just pathetic…