Five billion, by Jesus! Five billion. Roll that around your tongue there for a minute like a good smoky, solid old Irish whiskey. Five billion.
It doesn’t sound much when you say it fast, does it? Five. Billion.
That’s how much our government plans to spend on the new Dublin metro. The northern section.
They propose to spend the same on the southern section, having already spent about €800 million on the tram system for Dublin, and another €800 million for the Dublin port tunnel which, sadly, will soon be unnecessary when the port is moved, but hey! shit happens, and after all, it’s only money when you get right down to it.
So let’s see. That’s five and five – ten! Ten billion. And then we have the trams and the tunnel. €11.6 billion. Right. And then there’s the €3.4 billion that needs to be spent electrifying Dublin’s suburban rail system. Let’s call it a round €15 billion. Hey, overseas friends: that’s about €22 billion dollars. That’s almost the cost of three days occupying Iraq, for fucksake!
Do you notice anything missing from this list?
Well, how about the name of every other city in Ireland, except Dublin, where the politicians, the judiciary and the media people live?
Isn’t that clever?
Isn’t it clever that we’re all taxpayers, that we all pay the same money to the Exchequer, and that only about a quarter of the population live in Dublin, yet we see €15 billion of our money spent on Dublin’s public transport system as compared to — what spent on the rest of the country?
Well, at a rough estimate, to approximately fuck-all. I go to town on the bus like I always did, the same as people in Cork, Galway, Waterford, Sligo and everywhere else do.
Isn’t that great? Isn’t it a credit to the people of Limerick, Cork, Galway, Waterford, Sligo and everywhere else that they’re so happy to send their taxes to build all these things in Dublin? And what’s more, that they’re willing to forgo the same benefits for themselves, in an outburst of public-spirited generosity. Damn good of them. Damn good.
Meanwhile, our former national airline, complete with its valuable Heathrow slots, which was sold off by our government for no obvious reason, has just announced its abandonment of Shannon to set up shop in Belfast. Also on the East coast, just like Dublin, and now at the centre of the political universe, since they stopped shooting each other.
Why? Was it an uneconomic operation in Shannon? Far from it. Every flight was full.
Who can tell?
Maybe it’s because, in our little anti-democracy, some people’s votes count more than others’.
I should have kicked in a few pennies to Bertie‘s dig-out fund. Shit.