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Gambling is requisite in Irish politics

It is unthinkable that an Irish politician would miss the chance to be seen gambling.

Placing a wager on the horses is just something that one does, when one is in public office. It's a way of being "of the people."

The Galway races, an annual week of the horses, is in progress. In yesterday's Irish Times, there is a large color photograph of the Taoiseach, (prime minister) Bertie Ahern, placing a bet.

Other government "notables" were mentioned in the article, and it seems clear that it is for the benefit of the media that such a large number of political types are in such conspicuous attendance.

Also at the races were the minister for finance, the attorney general, the agriculture minister, the sports minister, a couple of junior ministers, and a former taoiseach.

  — 2 August 2002, Kilkenny