9th April 2011
A roadmap for recovery
I'm bamboozled by the amount of money we owe, accordin' to Cantwell we're on the way back to the bike, the bare feet and the blisters. He claims the Ireland of ‘The Quiet Man' will look like a glimpse of the future by the time the ECB is finished with us.Things are serious alright; every time the county manager stands up to address the council I close my eyes and wonder what bit of bad news he has for us now. Last week he read out a list of items that will no longer be available free of charge such as tea, coffee, paper, pens, pencils and photocopyin'.
Moll Gleeson has taken to bringin' her own toilet paper to county hall, "There's never any in the women's loo;" she whispered to me, "I'm tired of givin' out about it but no one listens. If I say anything in public the papers make fun of me, but let me tell you Maurice Hickey, this is a stealth tax of the lowest type," she said.
"It's below the belt, right enough," says I, "we'll be runnin' in behind the bush with a sheet of newspaper before we know it."
As the days go by I'm beginnin' to believe that Cantwell's prophecy isn't far off the mark. Without doubt there isn't a bob anywhere, least of all in the council coffers; a fella can't as much as get a pot hole filled or a blocked gulley cleared. I'm not sure this new government will do any better than the last shower. The latest news about the banks and the amount of money they need to stay afloat has put a swift end to Enda's honeymoon. Nevertheless, I think people are tired of bad news and false dawns.
In the pub we have given up complainin'; instead we've turned our attention to what can be done about the crisis. You might remember some months ago our publican Tom Walshe banned all talk of recession, depression and meltdown, but he lifted his ban for the duration of the election campaign. He was about to reinstate it but decided instead to permit discussion of politics and economics as long as the participants in such conversations offer solutions.
"Doom and gloom will only bring more of the same," he declared
"Well," says I, "our county manager seems to have decided the only way out of the current mess is to cut everything; goin to the jacks will be a luxury by the time he is finished with us."
"That's interestin'," says Tom Cantwell," he's adoptin' one of the two classic ways to get through a downturn; you either spend your way out of it or you cut your way out of it."
"Do any of the experts recommend sleepin' your way out of it?" I asked
"Maybe drinkin' your way through it mightn't be a bad idea," says the publican
"That's all you want," says Cantillon, "an ill wind to blow some good in your direction."
"There's never any shortage of ill-wind in this pub," says Tom Walshe, "if I could only bag it and sell it I'd have no recession."
"But seriously," says Pa Quirke, "what can the likes of us do about the crisis?"
At that the door opened and in came a flustered Moll Gleeson, "Tom," says she," I know I'm not a regular customer but can I please use your toilet?"
"Of course you can, Moll," says Tom, "guest appearances are always welcome, even in the loo."
After Moll emerged from her ablutions she was fulsome in her praise of the condition in which she found the facilities.
"Well Tom Walshe," says she, "fair dues to the private sector; at least you know how to look after your customers, unlike the public sector where you can't even get a piece of toilet paper these days."
"Oh," says Tom, "if you can't have peace, ease and comfort in that department, where can you have it?"
"Moll," says Pa Cantillon, "in your opinion, as a leading local political figure, should we spend our way out of the recession or should we cut our way out of it."
She looked out at Cantillon over the top of her glasses and said, "In my opinion, Pa, I think we should shut up about it, we're drivin' ourselves into the pit of despair with all this auld talk. Now, Mr. Walshe, give me a large brandy and perhaps someone in the company might sing a bar of a song to take the miserable look off our faces."
Here, here Moll.