It had to be an Irish politician that finally suggested this! Ireland has been leading the European Union the past six months, including chairing and hosting the EU’s meetings. Micheal Ring tried a different approach to having all 27 ministers show up and read a speech.
Sports Minister Michael Ring might actually have made a difference. At the Council of Sports Ministers in Brussels, the Ringer pioneered a new approach to these meetings. The usual drill sees each of the 27 ministers reading a prepared script outlining their country’s viewpoint. It’s tedious stuff.
Minister of State Ring decided to change this. He announced to his fellow sports ministers: “No scripts today! If you cannot speak without a script for thee minutes ye shouldn’t be in the job you’re in.”
The politicians looked a little uncertain. Their civil servants looked horrified.
”Let me tell you this,” he continued, “I came through Westport town council and the county council, I’m in the Dáil and now I’m a Minister and we had more debates in the town council than we’ve ever had here.” The ministers were discussing drug misuse in sport. They had brought their scripts, but after initial misgivings and a bit of cajoling from Michael, they decided to throw caution to the wind and have a proper discussion. Ring banished officials to the margins and let the ministers do the talking.
“It was mighty. Mighty altogether,” he tells us. “I was told this was the most successful meeting in Brussels for 20 years. We had a lively exchange of views and a frank and open debate. The place was packed and the meeting went on for nearly four hours.”