I woke up just as the flickering red flames began to gently lick at my scalding toes. Perspiration was flooding from every sweat pore in my body, brought on by the intense heat.
On awakening, it took me several minutes to fully realise that I had only been the subject of an involuntarily sensation associated with sleep; a nightmare to use the common term. But this frightening event wasn’t my usual strong emotional response emanating from the mind and typically experienced after a late night’s over indulgence on goats cheese. No sir, this dream contained situations of great danger, discomfort, psychological and physical terror, to which today my weekly visit to local practising and counselling psychologist, failed us both to identify.
Let me further elaborate on the situation in which I found myself in the very early hours of this morning.
Myself, Phil Hogan TD (Him of Property Tax and Irish Water Fame), Bashar Assad, (President of Syria) and Vladimir Putin (President of Russia) had all died the same day and gone straight to that place of eternal torment in the afterlife, known plainly to everyone, (with the exception of used car sales persons), as “Hell.”
On arrival and while beginning to experience the intense and increasing temperature, not to mention having to listen to the screams of the multitude who had arrived earlier; all four of us were attracted to a single bright red phone; same the only piece of office equipment to be seen. It lay sitting on the reception desk occupied by that supernatural entity that is the personification of evil, namely the Devil himself, “Lucifer.”
Having been fully processed by Lucifer and now lined up bound in heavy chains arraigned according to our time of arrival, all four of us began to speculate on the need for this red phone. The Devil, overhearing our whispered conversation quickly informed us that same was for telephoning the planet Earth.
Putin immediately asked permission to call Russia and his conversation concerning matters on the Crimea just lasted for five minutes. His call completed and phone receiver replaced; the Devil then informed him that the cost of his Roaming Call Forward was one million Russian Roubles. Without hesitation, as one does when in charge of taxpayers money, the stern-faced Putin immediately pulled out his cheque book and wrote Lucifer a cheque without question.
Next Bashar Assad calls Syria and his conversation on matters pertaining to ISIS lasted some 30 minutes. Call again complete, the Devil informed him that the cost is 6 million Syrian pounds and again Assad, perhaps more reluctantly in his case, pulled out his cheque book and wrote Lucifer a cheque.
Just as I was about to phone the wife, Phil Hogan brushes me roughly aside and rings Ireland. His dictatorial style discussion was mainly about some intended legal action against Independent Dublin MEP Nessa Childers and something else about not “being unable to make an omelette without cracking eggs”, which I am afraid I didn’t fully grasp. His boring, bullish droll continued for over 4 hours; however on finishing his call the Devil informs him that the total cost is a mere €5.00 Euro.
An understandably outraged President Putin, on hearing the low-cost, goes pure ballistic; demanding from his new host an explanation on why Phil Hogan got to call Ireland so cheaply.
The devil smiles and replies: “Since Fine Gael and Labour took office, the whole of Ireland has gone to Hell, so his call is categorised as being only a Local Call.”
My worry of course and that of my psychologist is more selfishly complex; despite this all being just a nightmare, what was I doing in Hell with these guys, to observe this scenario in the first place?
Is it a premonition or a forewarning of some kind maybe of things yet to come – I continue to wonder?
“Eaten bread is soon forgotten”.
Eugene (Surname known but withheld) got his correspondence from Irish Water this morning, pushed through the letterbox in the door of his home here in Co Tipperary. (I sometimes regret we called ourselves Thurles.Info as we get more email communications than a citizens advice bureau.)
Eugene hasn’t opened his correspondence yet, (See Picture taken today).
Eugene began his working career in the summer of 1964. His take home wages for a 50 hour week in a shop back then was £3.6.4., after he had paid his then Social Welfare Stamp. His damp accommodation, which consisted of one room, cost him £1.10.0. per week, including electricity, no cooker and a communal bathroom on the next landing. His remaining salary was used to buy food and allowed also for one trip to the cinema on a Sunday night.
Moving from job to job in search of better payment opportunities Eugene eventually settled here in Co Tipperary and married in mid 1970. He purchased his present small two bed roomed home for £8000.00 one year later, despite constant refusals by banks and other lending agencies, who deemed his income of £60.00 per week, at that time, too small to meet annual repayments. His then employer, anxious not to lose a hard-working loyal employee, had a quite but threatening word with the local bank manager, former guaranteeing to meet any shortfall in the case of future default.
House then purchased, Eugene and wife went on to raise six children, educating four of them to the very highest standards. Two of their children however were born mildly handicapped and today still remain residing at their parents home, an address from which they have never relocated.
At no time ever in their lives have Eugene or his wife ever been arrested, sold drugs, collected Social Welfare Payments, Carers Allowance, Free Travel, Unemployment Benefit or any of the allowances which are their entitlements, in respect of their handicapped children. Both parents, as PAYE workers, have always paid, in full, all taxes down through the years, claimed by the Irish State.
“We made a conscious decision, if possible at all, never to be a burden on the Irish State,” Eugene informed me today.
Eugene currently takes care of his two children and his wife on one standard old age pension around €200 per week. Despite working uninterrupted for some 50 years for various employers and contributing hugely not only to Irish State coffers, but also hugely to the local community, imagine his surprise on receiving the above correspondence, which cannot simply identify his very existence.
“Not that it matters, we won’t be able to afford to pay for water until my wife gets her old age pension in 3-4 years time.” Eugene states with a shameful apologetic tone in his voice. “I’ve lost my independence, I feel a failure. Years ago taxes were levelled on a man’s ability to pay. Rheumatism has me crocked, and despite all the stamps and PRSI I paid down the years, I don’t even have access to a doctor, an optician or a dentist any more, without ready cash in hand.” Eugene continued. “My family doctor requires €50 every three months just to renew children’s prescriptions and I must travel a 118 mile round trip to attend my local hospital,” he states.
It would appear that our Irish Free State government, through Irish Water, have forgotten one more pair of hands that once helped keep a nation fed, yet who sought nothing in return, and Eugene is not the only one.
We have advised Eugene with regards to his true entitlements, with the warning that he may have to fight in order to gain that which is his true entitlement.
Time for that “Lion To Roar”!
Three men, believed to be in their early 20’s, have been arrested following a drugs haul in Roscrea, Co Tipperary. While Gardaí refused to comment on the arrests, all three men detained are understood to be natives of the area.
We understand that the haul was discovered at approximately 11.50pm on Friday evening last, (Sept 19th), in the area of the Grove Motors car park on the Birr road leading out of the town. We understand that an alert member of the Garda force, on routine patrol, observed two cars parked in what were described as ‘suspiciously circumstances.’
On approaching the vehicles, the Garda is understood to have observed packages being discarded from a passenger window of one of the parked vehicles. On examination an estimated €4,500 worth of cannabis was discovered to be contained in the abandoned packages.
It is understood that two men were arrested at the scene and a third man was arrested the following day, in relation to this offence. We also understand that all three have now been charged under the possession of drugs and possession of drugs for the purposes of sale and supply.
Note: Anyone found guilty of this offence is liable to a Class C fine on summary conviction in a District Court. If the court decides, he or she could be subject to a fine and a prison term not exceeding 12 months. On conviction on indictment for this offence, the court can decide on an appropriate fine. The court can also impose a life sentence for this offence if it decides it is necessary. However, lesser sentences can also be imposed, either with a fine or alone.
Where the market value of the drugs is €13,000 or more, the person convicted is liable for a minimum sentence of 10 years. Similar penalties apply to someone convicted of importing drugs with a value of €13,000 or more.
Meanwhile Naval Service, Customs and the Gardaí have foiled a major drug smuggling operation when they detained a yacht with up to €80 million worth of cocaine off the south west coast of Ireland in the early hours of this morning.
The Joint Task Force operation involved the LÉ Roisin and the LÉ Niamh detaining an 18.9 metre yacht ‘Makayabella’, carrying an estimated one tonne of cocaine on board, at around 3.00am this morning some 250 miles off Ireland’s Mizen Head in West Cork.
The ‘Mayakabella’ is expected to arrive at 9.00pm at the Naval Base at Haulbowline in Cork Harbour, where it will be forensically examined.
Time to “pack your load and be on the road” to Dublin or overseas as our combined Tipperary Councillors were forced to vote 29 to 10, to maintain the current status quo, thus clarifying that there will be no reduction in Tipperary’s Local Property Tax for next year.
Figures published by the Department of the Environment have revealed in recent weeks that revenues from the property tax here in Co Tipperary was far lower than was actually required to run our county’s basic services.
Tipperary Councillors were therefore forced to vote to maintain the status quo, having being told that a 15% reduction would only benefit householders to the tune of €0.58 per week, but would further constitute a reduction in existing essential funding required to provide services like road maintenance, housing, burial grants, arts grants, burial grants and annual Christmas lighting.
Despite the forecast of a €6 million Euro saving made from the merging of North and South Tipp County Councils earlier this year, Tipperary stands to acquire the second highest amount under Equalisation Funding.
Tipperary County Council’s CEO Mr Joe MacGrath confirmed that to meet Tipperary’s financial burden and ensure that services are basically maintained, €22.76 million will be required from central government. While only €9.8 million is collected from Tipperary property owners, this estimate demonstrates a €13 million deficit in our county’s finances or €7 million less than Dublin expects to spend on cleaning up our capital’s image and designing that new logo for the city.
This is what happens to a community left totally ignored by government, due to all emerging employment prospects being conferred on just a few areas and with about 10 councils nationally only able to introduce a 15% cut in property tax next year, without harming their existing services.
“Believe none of what you hear, and only half of what you see.” ― Benjamin Franklin.
How Dublin and our local elected politicians see Tipperary. Source: Imgur
If it is reported in a daily newspaper, heard on our radios or viewed on our TV’s then surely it must be true; Dublin has been voted the world’s second friendliest city by readers of the so called travel tourism guidebook ‘Rough Guides.’
This month, the guide book asked its readers to vote for the friendliest city they had visited and Dublin was unveiled as the runner up, taking the number two spot on the planet. For those even remotely interested; the list of top 10 cities are Glasgow, Dublin, Montreal, Liverpool, Copenhagen, Vancouver, Toyko, Dubai, Melbourne and Manchester.
‘Rough Guides’ replied by inviting tourists to; “Spend a weekend enjoying Dublin’s Georgian town-houses, squares and historic churches among some of the friendliest people in the world.”
Welcoming this news, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, Mr Niall Gibbons said that it “chimed” with Dublin’s own research undertaken recently which discovered how truly attractive our ‘Fair City’ is, to our overseas visitors and highlighted the fact that the ‘Irish Welcome’ was one of the country’s main attractions. (How much public funding was wasted on that research result one wonders?)
Mr Gibbons stated: “Again and again, our research shows us that the friendliness of our people is one of our unique selling points. This accolade bestowed by the readers of Rough Guides gives Tourism Ireland another wonderful platform to continue to promote Dublin and the island of Ireland, throughout the world as a ‘must-see’ destination.”
Well to use the supposed riposte of Marilyn “Mandy” Rice-Davies sometime back in the 60’s/70’s, “He would, (say that) wouldn’t he?” Looks like Dublin will now not need to spend the recently announced €20 million fund to clean up our capital’s image and design that new clever logo for the city. Same was announced last month by a colleague of Mr Gibbons; the former deputy chief of Ryanair, Mr Michael Cawley. This €20 million funding will no doubt now be divided up countrywide, (in the interests of friendliness) with a substantial amount being instead invested to assist neglected Tourism interests and marketing here in Co Tipperary. (Yes & Pigs Might Fly).
Let us pick, at random, a friendly day in the life of Dublin City; lets pick yesterday the 20th September, 2014 as a typical example.
In one incident: Dublin senior footballer Jonny Cooper was stabbed in the face and neck on Dorset Street, Lower. He was treated at the Mater Hospital and thankfully his injuries are not thought to be life threatening.
In a separate incident: Another male in his 20’s is in a serious condition, following a stabbing in Blanchardstown. This incident took place in Whitestown Park at around 5.15am, with the victim taken to Connolly Hospital.
In another incident: An investigation is being carried out after a shooting took place at around 3.45pm at Belcamp Grove, Priorswood in Dublin. A 32-year-old man was shot by a gunman on a bicycle as he was leaving the garden of his house.
In another incident: RTÉ confirms it is cooperating with Gardaí; later investigating allegations about “creepy and menacing” phone calls made to a “high profile businesswoman” from its Montrose Studio campus in Dublin by someone who was employed on a casual basis. (Perhaps possibly this situation is the reason why thousand of Irish Water protest marchers in Dublin, latter who feel they are justified in stopping the implementation of a tax on a human right to swell our governments coffers, got no real TV coverage yesterday.)
In another incident: A 31-year-old male was arrested in connection with a car-jacking at knife point in the shopping centre car park at Palmerstown, in Dublin.
In another incident: Dublin Region Homeless Executive director Cathal Morgan has stated that there is a growing trend of families being forced to leave private rented accommodation in Dublin; to move into homeless accommodation. Official figures agree that the number of people sleeping rough on Dublin’s friendly streets has increased by almost 50% since April last.
Finally: How many friendly drug dealing thugs left Dublin yesterday, heading for Co Tipperary and elsewhere, using high powered motor vehicle down Ireland’s motorways. Their intention would have been to behave like the ancient marauding Vikings, to plunder the private dwellings of those living alone in rural areas, latter presently now devoid of any real Garda presence.
In a past publication by that same so called travel tourism guidebook ‘Rough Guides,’ North Tipperary towns receive the following testimonial: “Thurles is of very little interest in itself. Having seen the Rock of Cashel, most people head out of Tipperary for the west, and frankly this isn’t a bad idea – the north of the county has little to distract you. Templemore is even less interesting than Thurles.” Of course there is little of interest in Thurles itself, it has all been stolen from our midst to enhance Dublin’s National Museum thus destroying our Tipperary rural tourism economy.
In the words of the brilliant Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu (Around 400BC) and Al Pacino of “Godfather” film fame; “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”