Jesus, the Ionanists must be chewing the sticky carpets in 23 Merrion Squeer.
Not that I’d call them carpet munchers or anything like that, especially with the Pure in Heart Virgin Battalion waiting in the next room. All that pent-up unrequited sexual energy just waiting to overflow in an outpouring of rage that can only be cured by chaste, Catholic marriage. Nothing like a bit of Rosary bondage to get the juices flowing.
Wouldn’t you love to know how they while away their days, waiting for The One to appear? Reciting pious thoughts and ejaculations, perhaps. Tying each other up with Sellotape. Messing with the heads of impressionable teenagers in the schools they visit.
Pure in Heart — putting sexual guilt back into education.
Who can tell what goes on in the Merrion Squeer tardis, filled with organisations that have absolutely nothing to do with each other? Nothing at all.
Ionanists, Pure-in-heart sworn virgins, hereditary Bourbon princes, the Knights who say Ni, demented American pizza-millionaires, retired priests, supremely-gifted PR ninjas, Pulitzer-winning journalists, all wandering around the same smallish house and, horror of all horrors, sharing the same toilet on the second-floor landing. That would explain the discarded chain-mail hanging from the banisters, wouldn’t it?
Why do I mention the carpet-munching though? You might reasonably ask this.
Well, it seems the peasants are revolting. In a deep affront to the principles of Ionanism, Limerick City council today voted unanimously to support marriage equality for same-sex couples. A council full of conservative backwoodsmen has no problem with marriage equality. What does that say about the Ionanists?
I suppose we should look forward to the next ex cathedra statement from Ireland’s greatest public relations expert, explaining how Limerick City Council speaks for nobody.
It seems Limerick City and County Manager, Conn Murray has a gift hitherto possessed only by de Valera and Gandhi: the gift of looking into his heart and finding true knowledge of what the people need.
For reasons best known to himself, Conn took the decision to mentally select a panel of candidates for the job, and then he held virtual interviews, before finally announcing his choice of the winner. None of the candidates, it seems, actually knew they were candidates, or that Conn was interviewing them, but how could they? The job was never advertised, either externally or within the local authority. It wasn’t put to tender and it was never announced publicly.
Of course, there could be a perfectly reasonable explanation for this. Perhaps Conn wanted candidates who could operate on the same astral plane of enlightenment as himself. Candidates who would know in their hearts what he was seeking. Candidates who would become one with The Vision.
And so, as Conn sat on his mat, cross-legged, quietly chanting to his management crystals, all became clear as the face of the true winner slowly materialised before his inner eye.
Om! shouted Conn. I think I’ve got it. Om!
Patricia Ryan. Of course. Who else? The same Patricia Ryan who had been advising the Board since the start of the year for a very reasonable €700 per day. The same Patricia Ryan who worked for Pat Cox, chairman of the City of Culture board, when he was in the European Parliament. The same Patricia Ryan who worked as a special adviser to Mary Harney when Mary was health minister.
It was clear to Conn now what the universe had been telling him all along: No need for many question, Grasshopper, if there is only one answer.
When the universe is truly in harmony, many wondrous things happen. How pleased Chairman Pat would be when he discovered that Conn had selected Patricia for the role. And how happy Mary Harney would be for the same reasons.
What a nice surprise it would be when Conn told them about his moment of inspiration.
In a celestial selection process, there is no discussion of payment because the work itself is its own reward, and this is why Conn never discussed such matters with Patricia before announcing his moment of enlightenment. The universe, in its infinite wisdom, will find the right number when the time comes.
There will be plenty of time to speak of gold and copper, of astral travel, and naturally, of astral-travelling expenses.
For now, let us just meditate on a selection well done and give thanks to the stars for bringing everything into harmony.
In time, the universe will reveal exactly what a CEO does.
What do a millionaire Killiney couple and an unemployed Moyross mother of four have in common? Not much, you might imagine, until you compare the demands they make and their complete blindness to the notion of personal responsibility.
On the face of it, you might think that the Kellys, who entertained and enraged the country in equal measure recently, share little or nothing with Serinna Corbett, but then you dig beneath the surface to discover that they have precisely the same outlook on life if not, perhaps, the same guile.
These two cases embody the distorted, unreal thinking that beset our country and consumed those of every class and status, including politicians and bankers. I’m not responsible. Somebody else is. Just give me the money.
The Kellys, you’ll recall, were thrown out of their palatial €4 million mansion next door to Gavin O Reilly, recently ousted from Independent News & Media. They set up a tent on the side of the road and compared themselves to poor Irish peasants in the 19th century, evicted by evil landlords. It mattered to them not a tittle that they had defaulted on their mortgage and that the cost of the loss would fall on the public purse. They wanted the house anyway, even if the taxpayer had to cover the loss. Uncomfortably for Brendan and Asta, the papers did a bit of digging and discovered that they owned 21 apartments in Dublin and a further 13 in London.
Now, on a much smaller scale, but with precisely the same mentality, we have a Limerick woman, Serinna Corbett, who has launched a media campaign to get a bigger council house.
Well, according to the Limerick Leader, Serinna thinks her living conditions are beyond human endurance. Having a 13 year old, and an 18-month-old sleeping in the same room is just wrong. It’s just not on. She wants a bigger house from the council.
According to Serinna, the 13-year-old has ADHD, which she says causes fits and hallucinations. (It doesn’t). He might wake up in the middle of the night and attack the baby, she says. Oddly, the obvious solution doesn’t seem to occur to her: bring the baby into your own bedroom. No. The baby must sleep in a place where he faces danger, just as the other children have done for five years now. You see, according to Serinna, the heating is defective, and the children ran the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. This danger didn’t prevent her turning on the heating though, which seems a strange thing to do when you believe it threatens your children’s lives.
Serinna’s clincher is this: there’s another baby on the way. You have to stand back and think about this for a minute. Another child on the way? Well, how the hell did that happen? Did a postcard arrive through the letterbox? Hi, future mother. See you soon. Best wishes, Your New Baby.
Serinna, apparently, wants to qualify as a midwife, which is great news. At least she’ll find out where babies come from but in the meantime this fait accompli seems to be sufficient for Serinna. I got pregnant. Now sort it out.
No. Just no.
Exactly like the Kellys, there’s a complete disconnection between actions and consequences. You live in a house that you consider too small for your family, so what’s the obvious next step? That’s right, bring another child into the world, and then make it some other person’s responsibility. The rest of us in the real world, work out what we can afford, how many children we can clothe, feed, shelter and educate, but not, it seems, on Planet Entitlement, an enchanted fairytale place where everything is free no matter how much you screw up.
Amazingly, the mayor of Limerick, Jim Long, gave this woman 90 minutes of his valuable time, according to the Leader. What exactly did they discuss for an hour and a half, and more to the point, has he nothing better to do? Wait — don’t bother answering that.
Go away, Serinna. Go away Brendan Kelly. Take some responsibility for what you do, instead of expecting the public to cover the cost of your behaviour. Isn’t it about time we started connecting actions with consequences in this country? Isn’t it about time we started relating rights to responsibilities?
When you point out fairly obvious things, people tend to brand you as a fascist, even though all you’re doing is pointing out fairly obvious problems. I don’t know why this is, but it seems to be the reality. Maybe it’s because those criticising the viewpoint come from such privileged backgrounds that they have the luxury to point fingers without ever having to worry about economic realities. Who can tell? I don’t know.
We had a teacher years ago, a Christian Brother called Kelly. He was a little rat-faced fellow with buck teeth, very intense, very serious, a good teacher of Latin and mathematics. He was the year head which meant he was responsible for keeping us reasonably well behaved and I have to admit his job wasn’t easy. There’s no getting around it. We were a bunch of jerks. Fourteen-year-old pricks.
I’d say he couldn’t have been more than about 27 or 28, but there was something in his over-controlled demeanour that suggested he was battling demons. You could see by his eyes that he wasn’t a man to cross, and we didn’t. We might have been jerks but we weren’t fools.
He wasn’t one of those teachers who try to make friends with the kids. Most of the time he was fair, but you were in no doubt who the boss was. He used his leather sparingly but with great effect.
Kelly turned up one morning even more tense than usual. His face was tight and his eyes bulged. He looked like someone who had been awake all night staring at the ceiling and now that I have the benefit of many years hindsight, I think he probably had no sleep. Yesterday’s chalk-dust still coated his soutane and his frizzy hair.
Today, he hissed, we’re going to talk about sssexsssss!!
Oh shit, we all thought.
His ratty little eyes darted around the classroom, daring any of us to snigger. This man was boiling with rage.
The time comes when a boy starts to hanker after sssexxxssss, he spat.
Jesus Christ, everyone was thinking. This sounds like evil shit.
And for a full three-quarters of an hour, Kelly went on to spell out the mechanics of sexual intercourse in graphic detail, his voice filled with rage and disgust as he did his best to indoctrinate us with the belief that sex was shameful.
I now realise that he had no idea what he was talking about.
Poor Kelly had learned all the nonsense he was spouting from some Christian Brothers pamphlet produced by another equally-inadequate celibate. His rage and disgust were directed inwards at himself, having probably been recruited as a young lad like us, whisked away to a monastery, with no affection, no family around him, no intimacy, no outlet for his emotions. I now realise that Kelly was fizzing and popping because, intelligent man that he was, something inside him knew what he had missed out on. But the Christian Brothers machine that controlled him was running at full throttle, and the misfortunate Kelly was in many ways no more than a glove puppet.
I can still see him, the poor rat-faced, buck-toothed little fellow, pacing around the classroom, hissing Sssexxxssss! with the contained rage that only a 28-year-old virgin might possess.
You must be kidding. Any questions? We all stared at our desks, hoping against hope that the torture would end soon.
In a parallel universe, I might be sitting there as an adult he’d be afraid to hit, and I sometimes think I’d like to ask a question.
Brother, did you ever have sex?
But you know, that might be an extreme cruelty to inflict on a man who was clearly tottering on the edge of the abyss.
Down at Madame Tussaud’s ultra-lifelike digital councillor show, Limerick City Council, some of the holograms have started to talk without the caretaker switching them on, but of course, since it’s only a glitch in the software, the noises make even less sense than the usual pre-recorded spiel for the benefit of visitors.
And what caused this software glitch?
A Trojan, of course. What else?
The Denis Brosnan Trojan, to be precise.
And what damage does this virus cause?
Well, if left unchecked, it can wreak havoc with expenses, attendance at foreign conferences, daily allowances and in extreme cases, it can even uninstall all of the holographic councillor programs.
The Brosnan Trojan is attempting to install two incompatible programs on the same partition: Countycouncil and Citycouncil. It re-maps the drive and renames it Onecouncil, leaving the holo-councillors with no program of their own.
The IT people are on it, and as we speak they’re trying to decode some of the gibberish being emitted by the holo-councillors, in the hope that something meaningful might lie beneath.
Take, for instance the error message put out by holo-councillor Locky 2.0: Teething problems will develop into turf wars, leading to migraines and cancerous results.
Clearly, the random nature of such messages presents an almost insurmountable obstacle to cracking the code.
Holo-councillor Locky 1.0 is equally fragmented: These country bumpkins have no regard for Limerick. They have destroyed the city with the planning, and are no friends of ours. We are not here to serve Newcastle West, or other places in the arsehole of county Limerick. I am a city man – I don’t go down there, and have no time for them.
The recently-installed Mariabot front end has been reconfigured to address directly the Dublin 4.0 chipset, and the hope is that this last-ditch effort will succeed in removing the Brosnan Trojan from the system so that the holo-councillors can once again delight children and adults alike with their light, pre-programmed chatter.
As one of the token Indiedrones observed, Jesus, if this goes ahead I’ll never see New York.
Yesterday I had the surreal experience of attending a meeting in council chambers at city hall. It was for the purpose of being present while councilor Tom Shortt brought up our issue relating to saving the green space of Vize’s Field.
For the past two months, since the site notice to build was wrapped around a skinny lamp-post (contrary to regulations), my neighbours and I have been campaigning tirelessy to get the council to listen to us and leave this one green space. It’s not so big, a half acre site. Right now it’s trees, majestic and fine sycamore and beech are in full leaf and their sight and sound swaying in the breeze provides a welcome oasis from the city grime and frowns. We are asking the council for nothing, no funding, no regeneration money, just to take their carefully laid plans and build this towering monstrosity on an alternative site.
On the weekend we held a picnic on the green. We hung up bunting and baloons, and people came to share the fun and get to know their neighbours. They came from the city, from Prospect, Weston and Moyross too. We had a magic day. Local councillors turned up, some of them turned up their noses and left. Some stayed.
We have collected almost 200 signatures from the area and 18 independent objections were lodged. We want to keep this green space as an amenity to the community. There is a thing called due process, it suggests that the public opinion matters and that we have a say.
I have a question, maybe you can help me with this, Why?
Why do the council give the public the impression that we have a say when clearly it’s a lie?
Why put us through this fiasco? Is this not an abuse of power?
Tom Shortt, who is not in our ward, but feels the city is the city, stood up and spoke for us in the council meeting. He went out on a limb. We held up giant photos of the field taken from above, showing the trees and the grass and the beautiful, well kept old houses in the area. Our elected respresentatives could have said something, they could have backed him up.
You could have heard a pin drop. I felt for him. We cringed in the public gallery where we sat speechless, you see the public are entitled to their say. But this is a dictatorship, plain and simple.
This begs many questions, the first being why have we elected these representatives? Now coming into their second year of office what have they done in this area? These are the same people who fought like cats and dogs over the bus lane. Why? Because the nice folk of O’Connell Avenue are doctors, solicitors, people of influence. Not arty types, not people who create a vibrant community that contributes to the city. Our voices are unimportant, unwanted.
These are the same people who will fight tooth and nail to have car clamping done away with. They will shout and roar, and get personal, it’s like a créche but less mature.
Our votes are the same as everyone else’s. There are 474 registered electorate in this ward of Limerick. Almost 200 of them signed an objection to building on Vize’s Field. That’s nearly half. We are all being ignored. Why did we vote for these people who tell us that that if we choose to live in Limerick city centre we can’t expect much.? That we don’t deserve anything.
The building that’s earmarked for this site is a part 8 development. The heads that be; builders etc will no doubt enlighten us on the ins and outs of this. Basically it’s the council building on council land. So they are applying to themselves for permission. Make any sense?
It hurt to sit there and hear about €300,000,000 being allocated for the regeneration of Limerick. We don’t get a penny. We aren’t looking for a penny, just to have our green site to look after it, to sit at a bench and let the dog run around. We want to see our elderly neighbours get out of their high-rise flats that are already there. What good will it do to squeeze in more flats? High density, inappropriate building, it goes against all the urban design guidelines. They are contradicting themselves. But I guess you can do that when you’re the law can’t you.
People worry about anti-social behaviour. So do I. I worry that, when Irish citizen are so brutally ignored, abused by their local authorities, what sense of civic pride does that instill?
The director of housing complains that the inhabitants of the Watergate flats burn their rubbish up against the walls of their flats. That’s a four storey building of social housing right? Maybe they do that because they can. They probably don’t care. How much will we care about our city when we have no say.
Council members applauded the work of festival organisers and plan to spend huge amounts of money on fireworks and parades, in an attempt to improve Limerick’s image on a national scale. They are papering over the cracks. What kind of a city garden we could create with the money wasted on any one of those events?
The director of housing said it would be impossible to build this building somewhere else. Impossible. He said that the people’s park is just around the corner and if it was good enough for him in the 70’s it can be good enough for us.
How hard can it be to look at some other sites in the area, more suitable sites like Hyde Road, Carey’s Road, the acreage behind the old factory on Lord Edward Street.
He said that they grassed over the site in goodwill to the residents and now we were being mean and taking advantage and wouldn’t want to give it back. Nobody said a word. Nobody supportedus in this. Do none of our local, elected members of council care about the feelings of their electorate? Clearly not.
The residents of Bowman Street, St. Joseph’s Street and the surrounding streets keep their homes in picture postcard condition. We are a mixed and vibrant community. We contribute to Limerick, we like it, we choose to stay here, we like it, for now.
Today this issue is being discussed at a closed meeting of ward councillors and the director of housing. We don’t have a say. Why would we? We just live here. These councillors are out of touch with reality. They are not interested in how we feel. If they do not want our votes, fine, they won’t get them.
Pat O’Sullivan (independent) is running a campaign based on 99% honesty, and you can’t get better than that. He means nearly everything he says and he understands most of the issues. He says he’ll deliver on some of his campaign promises, and many of his policies make sense.