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COLM TOBIN: I hope Fine Gael have better luck at 're-charging' than I did this week!

March 30th, 2024 4:00 PM

COLM TOBIN: I hope Fine Gael have better luck at 're-charging' than I did this week! Image

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WE have established a new family tradition whereby we go away to another location in the guise of a holiday and one of us ends up getting sick.

Why suffer in the comfort of your own home when you can do it in an exotic location at great expense?

The location we have chosen this time is Dingle, where we have come to spend a few days over the Easter, and the winner of this Holiday Lurgy Lottery was me!

I’ve just spent two days in an AirBnb bedroom in some weird fever dream where Páidí Ó Sé and Fungie are wrestling on the floor of Dick Mac’s pub and meanwhile, my family draw water and medicine up the stairs. It’s a first-world problem, to be sure, and I have little to complain about in all fairness.

I’ve been here since last Thursday for the Dingle Animation Festival where the organisers put on a brilliant few days targeted at Irish animation students. They manage to get some serious names over here in the process, including executives from Disney, Netflix, the BBC and more, and there are some inspiring keynotes and pitching events put on for up-andcoming Irish filmmakers and animators.

It’s democratic, ambitious and great craic, all the elements that I love about working in this business. Storyboarders from Pixar will go through their craft in presentations and students get to take part in a Pitch & A Pint even where they have to put their ideas in front of the world’s most influential executives, animation studios and programme commissioners.

There is nothing else in the world quite like it.

For the rest of us, already making shows for these people, it is an opportunity for some truly unique and priceless facetime with industry buyers, the equivalent of the Irish getting the run of the White House around Paddy’s Day.

Obviously, we’re making cartoons and not nation-building, but it all counts I suppose. These events always leave me inspired and invigorated, with the Irish contingent being supported by Animation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Screen Ireland and our own buyers in RTÉ and TG4.

Unfortunately this year, the lurgy came and sabotaged the last day, and with my family due to join me for a few days downtime after the event, we are stuck indoors for the time being with a mixture of rain and illness stopping us in our tracks. Still, there are worse places to be under the weather.

The TikTok Taoiseach

NOBODY has mentioned Simon Harris since I arrived down here. Literally. Not that domestic politics would be on the tip of everyone’s tongue in the world of talking mice and Spongebob Squarepants but there is very little evidence from the youngsters I’ve met that the TikTok Taoiseach has inspired an Arab Springtype centre-right revolution amongst Generation Z.

I don’t want to be down on Simon, he seems like an eager chap who has clearly been successfully oiling up the parliamentary party behind the scenes in his role in higher education.

Charlie Haughey was famous for doing the chicken dinner circuit back in the day. I’m not sure what the equivalent is for modern Blueshirts. The pulled pork, sourdough and gravy train? The ‘aul sushi and Kombucha conveyor belt? The Organic Irish Grass Fed Wagyu Beef and tripled-fried parmesan chips trail?

Harris is far too smooth with the soundbytes for my liking, very much in the mould of AN Other from the UK Tory party in recent years, from Cameron on through Sunak. I’m not sure how well that goes down here in Ireland and I’m not sure Fine Gael is looking in the right corners for renewal. Managerial and meticulously prepared, for sure, but he’s some ground left to prove he’s got the common touch.

With plenty of issues facing the coalition and some tricky business coming down the tracks, there is plenty that can go wrong for Harris and his partners before an election is called next year. For them to get to that point unscathed, it would have to be seen as a success for the new Taoiseach.

Back in the saddle soon!

I DON’T think I’ve ever looked forward to the spring forward of the clocks as much as I have this year. For me, it’s been a particularly long and busy winter and I am looking forward to getting out in the evenings again for a bit of exercise.

So, I’ll be raising a glass to the celestial bodies this weekend and to our quirky ways of trying to put order on their movement. A

nd next week, I’ll be back in the saddle in the evenings again to get the old body back on track, to re-establish some slipped good habits and hope again for brighter and better days to come. If it’s good enough for Fine Gael ....

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