| 8.4°C Belfast

Overstaying your welcome is a symptom of our body politic

A team of doctors on an exploratory mission to Northern Ireland have discovered a new and seemingly contagious disease. They have identified, for the first time, what they call MNRS.

They made their discovery while circumnavigating Sir Edward Carson’s statue and admiring the white stone portals of Stormont. From their vantage point on the upper deck of a red open-top Belfast tour bus, they spotted the figure of a 61-year-old man, later identified as Peter Robinson, a local inhabitant.

He was strolling across the lawns nonchalantly, seemingly unperturbed by his condition and in full view of not only the doctors on the bus, but members of the public.

On closer examination, doctors were amazed to see that Mr Robinson bore the full symptoms of MNRS, which is short for Me Not Resigning Syndrome. Reports suggest he had developed a range of festering sores in the past year. These symptoms appeared after exposure to television and radio and were exacerbated by contact with members of the media.

Now doctors have returned from Northern Ireland with disturbing new evidence and concerns that MNRS has spread to other parts of the province and even crossed the sectarian divide.

The forthcoming findings will seek to allay the fears of sufferers around the world. There are two key indicators as to whether a person has contracted MNRS or not.

The first test is a simple one. If you feel you have a need to resign from your job for some reason and do so immediately, then you have nothing to fear.

Doctors say you do not have MNRS and can move swiftly on to look for another job.

On the other hand, if you are saying to yourself and to others, as is the case with Mr Robinson, that you have no reason to resign and you intend to continue to do whatever it is you do, regardless of any public concerns about your condition, most certainly, you have MNRS.

A final further test will confirm your condition. This involves gathering around you as many supporters as possible. If they can be persuaded to say you should not resign, that you are irreplaceable or that they cannot exist without your talents, you may have chronic Me Not Resigning Syndrome for the rest of your life.

Doctors who examined Mr Robinson fear that his condition could be highly contagious, particularly among leaders of church and state. Other worrying examples of suspected MNRS are starting to appear in various parts of the country and even abroad.

A major outbreak was feared at an address in London earlier this month. Gordon Brown, aged 59, a father of two young children, showed all the symptoms on May 7. At first, he indicated he was not leaving his post and might stay on until the autumn.

However, on further examination, Mr Brown was given a clean bill of health after he had second thoughts, summoned removal vans to his residence in Downing Street and announced he was resigning forthwith. He is now enjoying a well-deserved convalescence in Scotland and is unlikely to show any symptoms of MNRS ever again.

However, MNRS is spreading across Northern Ireland. Aside from Mr Robinson in east Belfast, another serious case has emerged in Armagh, where a 71-year-old man is showing all the symptoms.

The focus of attention is now on the condition of Cardinal Sean Brady. He announced in March that he would consider his future options, whether to step down or not, after it was revealed he had a nasty sore dating back more than 30 years. As with Mr Robinson, the Cardinal’s symptoms only emerged after contact with the media. His MNRS condition is confirmed and is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.

Health chiefs are baffled as to why the condition is striking high-ranking politicians and churchmen at this time. Amid growing public concern, doctors believe there is a high risk that others may be infected. Reports from as far away as Rome suggest that the Vatican has a number of sufferers.

A pandemic does not seem likely at this stage, but members of the public are advised to remain alert. A close eye on politicians and church leaders is essential to avoid any further spread.

Admits an NHS spokesperson: “Once established in a community, Me Not Resigning Syndrome is not treatable.”

Belfast Telegraph