Dana would like to remind whoever becomes the next president that they have to protect the constitution. And there we were thinking being president was about nothing more than putting the kettle on for Travellers' groups and trying to seduce the queen of England with flattery.
Dana issued this solemn constitutional reminder on Miriam Meets last Sunday. She was on the point of telling a story about hay (I won't bother you) but interrupted herself first to say: "Can I just say, before I tell you that story, that whoever is president has to protect the constitution because it enshrines all the rights of the people of this country? Whoever does it."
Maybe Dana worries that whoever becomes president will be too heavily influenced by those infidels in Europe and will forcibly turn us into the kind of people who murder lickle babies. Either that, or Dana worries that the next president will somehow be elected to the job in spite of his or her complete ignorance of its constitutional responsibilities. Maybe Dana is worried that the next president will be a halfwit.
She might be right. Anyone who thought the image of Bertie Ahern in Áras an Úachtaráin was as frightening as a nightmare could get, can now entertain the spectacle of Dana in the park too, since she has refused to rule herself out of the running.
Miriam O'Callaghan asked Dana if she would consider it. "It's not on my radar but I've learnt never to say never," said Dana. "I said I wouldn't be a singer and I was; I said I'd never be in politics and I was. And as I'm sitting before a prospective candidate such as yourself, I'll never say never."
O'Callaghan wondered if Dana was concerned about being seen as a single-issue (anti-abortion) candidate. I'm paraphrasing. O'Callaghan was so determined to be nice and gracious and charming, and to be seen to be treating everyone the same (which is both her strength and her weakness) that it took her quite some time to phrase this question. She ended up with: "Do you have to be careful that you don't become – and I don't mean this as an insult – a caricature?" ('Too late!' said everyone at home.)
Dana's brothers, Gerald and John, were on the programme with her. They said people are practically begging Dana to run. "We probably get 80 or 90 calls every week, and that's been going on for eight or nine months," said Gerald or John.
I make that roughly 3,240 people... or it could be just the one person with a lot of spare time and a flat-rate phone bill. You decide.
On the subject of being presidential, another possible candidate presented himself later that same day. Peter Keenan, paediatric emergency consultant at Temple Street Children's Hospital, came across as quite the feudal overlord on Marian Finucane, which must surely qualify him for some position in Irish politics.
Keenan took exception to this newspaper's treatment of Mary Harney's expensive Thai holiday last Sunday. The contrast between an expensive Bangkok resort and an overcrowded casualty department was not useful, he found. I mean, for the love of God, what are we paying government ministers for, if not so that they can afford to escape once in a while from the whingeing of the proletariat?
"She is quite entitled," he said. "It's really very tabloidy and not worthy of the Tribune."
Marian Finucane argued in support of the comparison. "If you think of people in all their misery, the point they're making is she's off having a ball while people are in their misery," said Finucane, who has two broken ankles like the main character in Misery, and who was explaining a scenario that ought to have been as unambiguous as a Stephen King novel.
But Keenan would not allow that it was anything other than a "convenient contrast". He would not see anything symbolic in it. And of course, you must admit, if you had devoted your best years to making the health service look like the aftermath of the Battle of the Somme, you would probably need to get away from it all as well. Be reasonable.