LEADING players in that long-running Dublin panto entitled The National Children’s Hospital and Our Disappearing Spondulicks include the young Mr Harris, the dreaded Demon Vlad and a cast of thousands (mostly Blueshirt Posh-boys).
Occasionally the buffoonery makes the nation snigger, but the more we deplore the hames the actors are making of a good show, the more it’s becoming clear that the plain people of Ireland are getting very annoyed with Vlad’s unfunny jokes and the young Mr Harris’ inscrutable reluctance to reveal the cost of the hospital – which is the point at issue.
What’s infuriating is that we pay them big bucks, but these barnstormers have turned out to be flops who can’t figure out whether they’re participants in a knockabout comedy or in a tragedy involving moral weakness that could lead to the downfall and destruction of them all.
As comedians they’re useless, unlike the stars of Cork pantomime in the good old days when our Auntie Maisie drank her tears in the Opera House, immensely amused by Paddy Cotter and Paddy Coughlan.
But, with respect to Vlad, the young Mr Harris and chums, who are amateurish, bungling actor-politicos, we feel that eventually they’ll be thrown out on their oxters – along with the Paschal Donohoes, the Heather Humphreys, the Michael Creeds and the Jim Dalys (hold on a sec! Spare him! He’s one of our own!).
Harris and Fr Ted
A classic example of a crummy actor is the young Mr Simon Harris who has no talent whatsoever. Indeed, he was lucky to get the juicy part of Health Minister, but his failure to tell the audience why €2 billion will be sucked into the hospital project has ‘done him in.’ Not even the Sydney Opera House cost that much!
The quick-thinking wandering minstrel, Alan Kelly TD, quipped that Harris would be quite a hit in a Fr Ted comedy with his ‘little bits of Information.’ He was referring to the excruciatingly-tedious way Harris releases details regarding building costs, despite the fact that the project already has swallowed a whopping €400m.
Indeed, observers are asking saucy questions as to the nature of the young Mr Harris’ academic qualifications and whether or not his alma mater, the DIT, equipped him for the complex task of Health Minister.
French and Journalism, it seems, were the subjects he took which, it’s being suggested, might not be providing the expertise or knowledge necessary to oversee the construction of one of the biggest hospitals in Europe.
Perhaps Harris would have done better if he had opted for a diploma in ‘Drama Performance’? Within such a discipline he could have made use of a theoretical perspective to blend fictional and non-fictional events without ever having to join Fine Gael.
As for his other subject, Journalism, well, that certainly enhanced his studies at the DIT. After all, isn’t it the function of a successful hack to confuse the stuff people read with real news – just as in FG politics?
All that aside, public disquiet regarding the cost of the Children’s Hospital continues to grow. Complicating matters is the condescending manner in which Fine Gael, Vlad and Health Minister Harris deal with the controversy. It does nothing to reassure the country!
Corkonians who exist in a state of mental inactivity after a hard day’s work, or ten pints of Beamish, have been asked by the Cork County Board to reflect deeply on what it calls ‘Corkiness.’
Sometimes the word is spelt as ‘Corkness’ and was coined recently in GAA circles as a means to mitigate the feeling of awfulness caused by the county’s lack of success in winning All-Ireland titles. In a nutshell ‘Corkness’ or ‘Corkiness’ means restoring passion to Cork football and hurling, as well as reviving pride in county and team.
At a recent County Board meeting, an appeal was made for more gusto and exuberance from the fans, and more eagerness to win from the players.
County Board chairperson, Tracey Kennedy, defined Corkness / Corkiness as ‘that air of confidence just on the right side of arrogance – an unparalleled pride, and an insatiable desire for Cork to be the best at absolutely everything.’
‘The best of absolutely everything’! Ah, yes! But isn’t it a fact that Corkonians always have an exalted dedication to the GAA because of the superior quality of their big brains, their droll, chucklesome, waggish sense of humour and their hard-working, honest and sensitive attitude to sport?
Of course, if a misguided person doesn’t like a Corkman or Corkwoman – and it happens sometimes – that’s okay; not everyone has good taste!
Some of the detractors might say that Corkonians don’t care about anything outside the city, but that’s an attitude that falls within the category of calumny and detraction. So long as a person lives within the county boundary, they’re officially Corkmen and Corkwomen.
What’s more, the characteristics of the West Cork dialect, often associated with a rural environment and lack of Third Level (DIT?) education, cannot be seen as a defect or a flaw, but rather as a good thing. Accents mean people can be different, but still are blessed because of their origins and where they live.
And, besides, isn’t it a fact that there’s an accent for each parish in West Cork?
Yet, in a GAA forum, a narky anti-Cork person complained that Tyrone doesn’t prattle about Tyroneness and that pride in one’s place doesn’t require ‘blow-holing’ (whatever in the world is that?).
And, asked the disgruntled writer, ‘can anyone imagine those at the helm in Kilkenny coming out with this sort of bloated self-regard that Cork has: it would have Brian Cody spitting in his hands.’ To which we say, ‘don’t spit into the wind, me aul butty.’
Indeed, the County Board chairperson, Tracey Kennedy, was doing nothing more than encouraging pride in what the Germans call ‘Heimat’ or homeland.
The Spanish refer to ‘La patria chica,’ which loosely translates as the ‘little homeland’ or one’s own place, town or area to which one feels tied by customs, culture, music, gastronomy and, of course, sport.
And yeah, so what if gobshites up the country depict Cork GAA fans as ‘cocky, one-eyed and aggressive’? That’s no big deal because behind it all is envy of our treasured ‘Corkiness’!