Overheard this weekend…

I followed Ian Paisley’s directions to see the Whore of Babylon. Very disappointed – expected some Iraqi babe, instead some German bloke in a white dress was there. Should we report the “Rev” to the ASA?

– Confused of Shankill Road.

In other news, tomorrow morning Micheál Martin kicks off alongside Hillary Clinton (about whose hair the Daily Mail has been only partly diplomatic), jointly hosting an event in New York devoted to infant nutrition and the First Millennium Development Goal.

Peter Power will be moderating a round-table discussion alongside USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah.

It’s a remarkably good show for Ireland, and the only question that comes to mind is, why?  Part of the answer seems to be that Dublin lobbied for this event fairly hard during Secretary Clinton’s visit to us in October.

Part of the reason for that seems to be the Millennium Development Goals are immensely popular at home (especially in the Dáil and NGO sector, c.f. the letter by 32 members of Oireachtas in Monday’s Irish Times, 5th class schoolchildren marching on Leinster House, &c.) – part seems due to the omnipresent and fully charged up Peter Power – and part to distract from Ireland missing its MDG targets last year and in 2005, and slashing the aid budget by a quarter over the past two years.

With both the aid budget and graduate job market in lean years, you can sympathise why Irish Aid is pushing overseas volunteering for graduates.  It’s also quite a contrast to the UK, where the DFID budget is growing but seems to command less public support.