Across The Pondby Paddy Duffy
- Conor Cusack, John Murray and Ireland's continuing crusade for mental health awareness
- Seven things the Irish learned thanks to the Senate referendum
- Mayo have an All-Ireland ancient curse similar to the Red Sox jinx
- Remembering the radiant Mira and her buzzing modern Facebook shrine
- Remembering two giants, Seamus Heaney and David Frost
On the whole, Ireland’s history has been so nutty we shouldn’t really ever travel without an EpiPen, whether it be losing battles due to our hired help showing up at the wrong place like at Kinsale in 1603, or the Earls fleeing Ireland accidentally forgetting to bring their wives in 1607. You’d think modernity would have ironed out some of our more idiosyncratic creases, but not so. Our government just won’t let that happen.
Last week Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith announced that the government would be giving out free cheese to the needy just before Christmas. Yup, free cheese. Inevitably, the announcement was met with incredulous, mocking derision. In a year where another government bright idea was taxing ATM withdrawals to curb tiger kidnappings, the notion that 53 tonnes of cheese would raise national morale was the high water mark of the “if you didn’t laugh, you’d cry” feeling currently pervading the country.
It’s an absolute rarity, but Donegal is currently the center of the Irish political universe. Following a successful case to the High Court by Sinn Féin, Donegal South West faces a bye-election on the 25th November, nearly a year and a half since the seat became vacant. Up the road in Donegal North East, histrionic spoofer Dr Jim McDaid said bye bye to the Dáil after 21 years of doublespeak and scandal, bringing the government a case of glandular fever away from collapse.
The people of Donegal North won’t have to worry about replacing him just yet, but in Lifford across to Glenties and down to Bundoran the posters are already up. And while we’ll have a distinct lack of fiscally conservative CEO’s throwing their money around like a lightweight wrestling opponent or scarcely believable TV slots involving sheep, it should be an intriguing race all the same, for several reasons.