Tag Archives: Dublin

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Leak No Evil

The Irish government has been rocked to its core this week after thousands of classified files containing highly sensitive information were leaked and published online. Politicians and senior establishment figures are reeling in the wake of the revelations, which implicate many of the country’s ruling elite in various scandals and nefarious activities which allegedly took place over the last few years.

It is believed that the confidential data was released by a disgruntled civil servant earlier this week. Mickey Reilly, a 44-year old Dubliner who has worked in the Department of Transportation for twenty years, is alleged to be the man responsible, and is currently being pursued by the Gardaí. It is thought that a particularly miserable Monday at work is what drove Reilly to take such drastic action. Reports indicate that during the course of the day, already severely hungover and way behind with his workload, he had his hat crushed by an overweight woman on the Dart, got his tie stuck in a printer in a manner found most amusing by his colleagues, and, most worryingly, farted loudly in an elevator in front of an attractive co-worker.

It was this very Monday evening that a humiliated and emboldened Reilly procured the secret files from a government database and published them en masse on his hastily prepared and somewhat unfortunately named whistle blowing website MickeyLeaks. The site received hundreds of thousands of hits in its first few hours online, although Gardaí are investigating the possibility that some of this traffic comprised individuals with a particularly specific sexual fetish mistakenly soliciting Mr Reilly for an activity known in such niche circles as ‘damp squibbing’.

By Tuesday morning the nation’s media had seized on the most salacious of the newly disclosed secrets, bringing disgrace and shame upon many of Ireland’s most recognisable faces. The following is but a brief synopsis of a few of the more shocking stories to be divulged in the MickeyLeaks scandal.

The politicians of Ireland are most prevalent among the alleged incidents, with few currently sitting members of government escaping the sensationalist headlines. Records of expenses claimed by TDs have shown the errant spending of taxpayers’ money that has occurred in recent years.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore and his team of attachés claimed thousands of Euro after a diplomatic trip to Japan, most of which seems to have been spent on alcohol and escorts, with the remainder puzzlingly set aside for a shovel and a bag of lime. It has also emerged that Taoiseach Enda Kenny himself has been skimming extra packets of pink wafer biscuits and purple Snack bars from the Dáil canteen. One of the more troubling disclosures is that Leo Varadkar had a hundred thousand business cards printed that read Leo Varadkar: Politician, Patriot, Amateur Gynaecologist, accompanied by a rather lewd picture of the Minister.

Another startling revelation concerns a directive from Minister for Health James Reilly to remove all the beds from a Dublin hospice last year and relocate them to his house for the weekend so he could have all the Fine Gael lads over for a slumber party and watch some Sex and the City DVDs.

One of the most serious allegations is that a new government jet had to be purchased recently, at massive cost to the taxpayer, after Ruairí Quinn and Pat Rabbitte took it out for a spin after a night in Leggs. They ended up crashing it into a field after running out of fuel while circling around looking for Alan Shatter’s house, so they could land and ring the doorbell, then call him a wanker and run away when he answered.

Another state institution to be damaged by these accusations is An Garda Síochána. One particularly embarrassing story related by the leaked files concerns a Galway sergeant who attempted the off-duty arrest of two young men in a pub who he claimed were ‘acting like feckin’ queers, so they were’. The sergeant was later promoted for his actions.

A separate document details a case whereby a second-year student at the Garda College in Templemore was removed from the course before his final exams after it emerged that he was in fact a sheep. It is believed his unusually high scores in both the cognitive and physical aspects of the training were enough to mask his true identity for such a long time. It is rumoured he is now working part-time as a security guard at a major third-level institution.

Another document pertains to the visit of President Obama last year and the unit of Gardaí that were assigned to chaperone him. It has emerged that three of these officers were suspended from duty after they took the President’s iPhone from his hotel room while he was in the shower, and took dozens of photos of their testicles with it. They then tagged the President in these photos on Facebook with the caption, ‘I hereby award these balls the Congressional Medal of Honour.’ The reports indicate that the President was most displeased, especially since his wife Michelle, on seeing the pictures, briefly changed her relationship status to ‘It’s complicated’.

The Irish clergy, already much maligned in recent years, do not emerge unscathed from these leaks either. One incident concerned the bishop of a small parish in Cork fabricating a supposed miracle in order to garner interest from locals. The deception involved carving crude likenesses of the Virgin Mary onto objects such as trees, walls and rocks. The ruse fell apart somewhat when the deluded bishop attempted to carve the face on a statue that was already of Mary, claiming that it looked ‘even more like Mary than usual’.

A number of alarming cases of alleged child abuse are also recorded in the documents, including one particularly heinous example of a punishment given to an unruly child in a Christian Brothers school in Carlow. The boy was made to perform every single role in the annual Nativity play, which for the sake of realism was scripted exclusively in Aramaic and Latin, and had been extended to over three hours that year. Although he collapsed from exhaustion during an encore, the Carlow Examiner described it as ‘a virtuoso performance’. Remarkably, the priests responsible were not reprimanded for their actions, but were instead simply moved around repeatedly from parish to parish.

Ireland’s legal profession has also taken a hit in the wake of this exposure. The leaks have confirmed persistent rumours that one of the country’s top barristers, Michael O’Shaughnessy Shaughnessy, does not actually have a cocaine habit, and instead prefers to simply enjoy the odd cigarette and a nice bottle of red at the weekends. Needless to say he has already been sacked by the other partners at his firm, Shaughnessy, Shaughnessy and O’Shaughnessy Shaughnessy, who released a statement earlier today remarking that he ‘has brought disgrace upon this noble profession’, and that he was ‘a complete bastard’.

Staying with legal matters, the judiciary has not been spared humiliation as a result of the leaks. A prominent High Court judge, Mr Justice Ulick O’Gogarty, has been incriminated in a bizarre sexual scandal. The sordid details of the case are too offensive to publish, but it is believed that the judge has been banned from Dublin Zoo for life. It is also reported that some of the zoo’s sloths are currently undergoing extensive psychological counselling as a result of the ordeal. A spokesman for the zoo commented that ‘unfortunately sloths are often vulnerable to this sort of abuse, since they are such lazy feckers’.

Ireland’s finance sector has come in for much criticism over the past few years for its craven greed and corruption, and these documents serialise even more serious examples of this avarice. One branch of AIB illegally repossessed an entire seaside housing estate so that the staff could go on a surfing trip over the bank holiday weekend and have somewhere to stay.

Another report indicates that Anglo Irish Bank is partly responsible for massive inflation rates over the last number of years, after it allowed its investors to use Monopoly money instead of real money as part of their property speculation.

One of the most damning indictments of all concerns a bank manager who had his entire office plated in solid gold at the height of the Celtic Tiger. Unfortunately he was found dead in the room shortly afterwards, having suffocated due to the fact that he couldn’t open the door, which now weighed about two tonnes.

Thousands more of these sorts of stories appear in the documents, and the fallout from their shocking revelations is sure to continue unabated for some time. Reilly is already a hero to the ordinary people of the country for exposing the sins of its most powerful citizens.

It is believed that the fugitive civil servant is currently taking refuge in an Ecuadorian fast food outlet in Dublin’s city centre, and is seeking asylum there, which is somewhat confusing since it clearly has no powers to grant such a thing.

Gardaí have surrounded the building and are presently attempting to coax him out. When asked by a journalist if Reilly was facing a long and tortuous incarceration for his crimes, a senior Garda official remarked,

‘Ah no, sure we’re just going to give him a bit of a telling off. What do you think this is, America?’


Éamon de Valera: Zombie Hunter

Another summer has arrived in Hollywood, and with it another slew of preposterous blockbusters aiming to make millions from the slack-jawed, gormless dribblers that pass for young people these days. As everyone now knows, a shady cabal of movie producers has been secretly building a giant particle accelerator under the Hollywood hills over the past few years. Only instead of using boring things like electrons and atoms, the boffins enter variables such as historical figures, supernatural creatures, absurd plot lines, and other such elements of successful films. Nine times out of ten the machine just churns out 3D remakes of ‘80s films with less dialogue and more explosions, toplessness, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Every now and then, however, it produces an inspired, original idea, such as has happened with the upcoming Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The alternate historical angle is always ripe for entertainment, and coincidentally, this week in Ireland has seen the discovery of a secret journal kept by former Irish President, Taoiseach and very tall citizen, Éamon de Valera. It provides a fascinating insight into a hitherto unknown series of events that took place during the War of Independence. The following are some extracts from that journal.

December 16th, 1920, New York:

I have been over here for eighteen months now, and the effort of raising funds for our revolution back home is taking its toll. I’m feeling particularly dispirited after meeting with the American Secretary of State today, who advised me that there were probably better ways to earn money than performing an Irish dancing set outside the gates of the White House. Now he tells me.

My depression was not helped when I received a letter this morning from my Minister for Finance, Michael Collins, urging me to come home at once. It appears the British have sent a formidable force of soldiers to our shores to crush our rebellion once and for all. I have decided to set sail for Ireland at once, and I must admit to being concerned and puzzled by Michael’s description of this new squad of troops as ‘a bunch of unkillable, decaying feckers. They’re pure weird Dev.’ He even took a whole three pages to recount a rather crude anecdote about one of the British force feasting on poor Arthur Griffith’s brains. I depart tomorrow at dawn, with a troubled heart, a grave fear for my beloved country, and very sore feet.

January 14th, 1921, Dublin:

I have only been home for two weeks, and the situation here grows worse by the day. The British invasion has swept across the city, and ordinary Irish people seem to be joining their ranks for some inexplicable reason. The soldiers wander the streets night and day, groaning and muttering, occasionally shouting things like ‘God save King George’, or ‘It’s so temperate here compared to Calcutta’, although mostly they seem to talk about their penchant for brains. Their eyes are a deep crimson, and have the same glazed, empty appearance that seems to come over my colleagues whenever I speak in the Dáil. The pallor of their skin and their general sluggishness suggests that they are suffering from some ailment or other, perhaps Spanish flu, or possibly Protestantism.

Only myself, Michael, and a small band of men have so far escaped their advances, and we have taken refuge in St. James’s Gate brewery. Although its high walls offer us adequate protection, I fear we may be undone by the nightly seven-hour singsongs the men indulge in after sampling the massive quantities of Guinness, which are sure to attract attention sooner or later.

One among our group is a young man by the name of John Charles, who is studying to become a priest. He says he dreams of one day becoming a bishop, and even carries a giant crosier around with him. I have become particularly close with him since he saved my life just last week. I was on patrol when a young woman, clearly afflicted with the disease, attacked me from behind, shouting something about cockles, mussels, and brains.

As if from thin air, JC appeared, and smashed the poor girl’s head to smithereens with his crosier, all the while screaming ‘God wills it!’

‘Holy first communion Dev, that was a close one.’

‘I don’t know how to thank you JC, you saved me from being transformed into one of these beasts.’

‘To be honest Dev, I didn’t even notice she was one of them, it’s just that short skirt she’s wearing is so inappropriate to be out and about in.’

We walked away arm in arm, each of us content that whatever happened in this crazy war, at least we would have each other.

February 20th, 1921, Dublin:

These past few weeks we have lost many men to the enemy forces, and now only myself and JC remain. It was just yesterday that Michael met his gruesome end. The undead horde had breached the outer walls, and we were fleeing for our lives. With the brain-hungry masses descending on us in their hundreds, Michael turned back suddenly.

‘You go on ahead lads, I’ll hold them here.’

‘No Michael, you’ll never survive.’

With his hurl in his hand and that mad glint in his eye, he ignored our pleas as he sprinted into the frenzied crowd, pucking the heads off the vicious creatures left, right and centre.

‘Holy papal bulls Dev, that’s a brave man.’

‘The bravest,’ I whispered softly, wiping a tear from my cheek as we turned and ran for our lives. Amidst the horrific shrieking of the infected as they closed in on our fearless companion, I could have sworn I heard the proud, plaintive cry, ‘Up Cork!’ I am stricken with grief at his loss, and my only hope is that history will not judge me responsible for the death of my gallant comrade.

March 13th, 1921, Dublin:

Myself and JC have taken refuge in Trinity College these past few weeks after fighting our way across the city. In the college courtyard we were attacked by a group of infected scholars, who chanted bastardised Oscar Wilde quotes as they approached.

‘To love brains is the beginning of a life-long romance,’ moaned one of them, before JC sprang into action and quickly dispatched the erudite fiends.

‘Feckin’ Proddies,’ he muttered to himself as he cleaned the blood from his enormous bishop-stick. And from his crosier.

March 17th, 1921, Dublin:

Having barricaded ourselves into a room in the college, our enemies soon surrounded us, leaving us with no option but to stay here and wait for them to breach our defences. We had become resigned to our fate, and last night as we sat by the window overlooking the infested city streets, I sang a few bars of Come Out Ye Black and Tans, a rebel song that Michael had taught me, in an attempt to lift our spirits.

To our surprise the crowd outside instantly became agitated and began to drop to their knees, holding their heads and screeching wildly. As I continued to sing, one by one the zombies’ heads began to explode.

‘Holy First Vatican Council Dev, the feckers can’t hack the rebel tunes at all at all.’

I smiled wryly to myself as I surveyed the corpses below.

‘Let’s get a good night’s sleep JC, we’ve a big day ahead of us tomorrow.’

‘Fair enough Dev. You want to be big spoon or little spoon?’

And so it came to pass that today, on the day that we celebrate Saint Patrick driving the snakes from our shores, myself and JC set out to bring an end to the British invasion once and for all. We mounted one of the college’s speaker systems on an abandoned car in the courtyard, and crashed through the front gates onto the streets. From every direction came the hordes of enemies, loping towards the car with flesh-lust in their eyes. And then I began to sing.

We drove around the whole city, singing every rebel tune, lament and ballad we could think of, to a chorus of exploding heads and horrific screams from our vanquished foes. We ran out of fuel in front of the GPO, and in the spot where five short years ago we had proclaimed our independence, we finished off the remnants of the British forces with our bare hands.

As the sun was beginning to set, we stood there on the field of battle, breathless, exhausted, but victorious. I turned to my ally and friend,

‘You know something JC, this could be the start of a beautiful republic.’

He turned to me and smiled. ‘God wills it, Dev. God wills it.’ And with that we walked, hand in hand, down the street, towards our future. Towards hope, and freedom. Towards a better tomorrow.


We Don’t Need Another (Super)Hero

The long-awaited superhero blockbuster The Avengers was finally released this past week after years of media hype, much fanboy salivating, and a series of extended trailers posing as movies in their own right, such as the fairly decent Thor, the tedious Captain America: The First Avenger, and the downright lamentable Iron Man 2.

The movie will no doubt run along somewhat predictable lines: The makeshift team of mercurial heroes are thrown together; sparks fly; personalities clash; Scarlett Johansson flashes some side-boob; Robert Downey Jr. arches an eyebrow and makes a pithy remark; Samuel L. Jackson sends his driver to collect his cheque. All very banal and utterly unsurprising.

What audiences need is an entirely new kind of superhero film, one removed from the tired clichés and overused tropes of the black hole of originality that is the Marvel Universe. Perhaps one set in Ireland, against the backdrop of our economic woe, could be the answer…

The film opens with a sweeping panorama of a ravaged, decrepit Dublin ten years in the future. The once prosperous city, now known as AvivaPolis, has crumbled under the weight of insurmountable debt, massive unemployment, and the closure of that savage little doughnut stall on O’Connell Street. Gigantic toxic banks line the streets, their colossal smokestacks spewing waste high into the grey, lifeless air as they burn the carcasses of household charge withholders in order to turn their remains into miniature European flags.

Cash-for-gold shops stretch as far as the eye can see, interspersed with the makeshift tenements of the legions of citizens who have been evicted from their homes. Their crude dwellings are thrown together using anything that can be found: mountains of now useless 2 Euro coins, posters pleading for a ‘Yes’ vote in the 27th referendum on the austerity package, old issues of the Evening Herald full of pictures of food so people could remember what it looked like.

Towering above all of this misery and desolation lies an enormous glass dome perched on top of the Spire, the headquarters of the evil Troika, a trio of ruthless oligarchs who rule the city with an iron fist. The fist itself is kept out in the RDS and is taken out on special occasions to crush dissidents and small animals, so as to keep people in check. Some say that the Troika escaped from a two-dimensional floating prison in space and came to Earth to conquer it. Others maintain that this is just the plot of Superman II and that the Troika are in fact from mainland Europe.

Marching along the streets day and night, clad in black leather uniforms and EU flag capes, are the Siptuplets, the police force of the Troika. Legend has it that the Siptuplets were once part of the proletariat, but were corrupted after years of pay agreements warped their socialist ideals and turned them to the dark side. Their commander, known only as Dr. Joe, is regarded as the Troika’s right-hand man, and is feared even by his own men. He once found one of his subordinates feeding half a cheese sandwich to a duck that had been ejected from his lake for non-payment of a Credit Union loan. He proceeded to beat the man to death with the bird, then beat the bird to death with the cheese sandwich.

In this dark dystopian hinterland, amidst the turmoil and grief that lies over the city like a dense fog made of turmoil and grief, there is but one beacon of hope for the Irish people. He is a shining light who inspires hope in the face of the city’s oppression. A noble insurgent against the forces of economic subjugation. A daring warrior poet who stands resolved to fight for the fiscal independence of every starving man, woman and child that he represents and holds dear. His name, let it be praised, is Shinnerman.

As night falls in AvivaPolis, our intrepid hero may be seen dashing across a darkened rooftop, or perched atop a vacant block of apartments, broodily surveying his domain as he plans his next strike into the heart of the wicked Troika. Grubby-faced children point and call to him as he swoops from building to building. “Oh Shinnerman, where you gonna run to?” they shout. He turns and answers with a low, sonorous growl, “I go to finish what I have begun.” And with that he is gone, leaving just the slightest gleam of light as the price tag on his tricolour cape catches a glint of the waxing moon.

The Shinnerman is always vigilant, always alert, always looking for a way to end the Troika’s reign of terror with the economic policies he has scrawled on the napkins stuffed into the pockets of his Celtic utility belt. He will not rest until he has restored economic independence to the island. He will not retreat until the hordes of homeless are safely returned to their abodes. He will not waver until the Troika is vanquished and his people can go back to spending their social welfare on essentials like cigarettes. The only problem is…he has no idea how to do any of this.

And so Shinnerman recoils once more into the shadows, vowing to return and liberate the city from bondage, just as soon as he’s figured out a few things. In the meantime, however, he’s heading to the chipper, followed by a trip to the bookies. He got a great tip from a taximan the other day for the 3.30 at Doncaster. Shinnerman, away!


Follow That Colour Scheme

Our fleet of taxis may soon be following the lead of those in New York, London and many other cities around the world in adopting a common design. The National Transport Authority recently proposed a “distinctive external branding” for the nation’s taxis, “such as a single colour.” This has led to some speculation over which colour we should choose, with The Irish Times seeking suggestions this week as part of a competition. Some of the replies are quite inventive, particularly the one that calls for them to be “painted a weak shade of yellow, to reflect the typical taxi driver’s jaundiced view of the world.”

Picking a colour will be difficult, however; we can’t just copy the iconic yellow of New York, or Britain’s classic black cab design. We need to come up with something original that has some sort of significance for us. Green would appear to be the most appropriate choice, and a post-box green taxi would certainly be very patriotic, as well as being easily recognisable. Though perhaps, seeing as our country is in the red for the foreseeable future, a nice hue of scarlet would be more suitable, symbolising our embarrassment at the excesses of the Celtic Tiger days. Or a deep shade of blue to reflect the mood of the country.

Maybe instead of forcing taxi drivers to accept a uniform colour, we should allow each one to decorate his own cab. No doubt this would lead to a lot of crudely painted Dublin flags and some truly atrocious spelling mistakes, but it could also yield some interesting designs. Given the nationalistic tendencies of many of our taxi drivers, there would inevitably be an awful lot of Irish flags and murals of dead Irish heroes adorning the streets. Imagine being driven home in a massive Bobby Sands memorial on wheels, it would certainly be an edifying experience. Get a history lesson and a ride home for the price of one. But whatever you do, don’t bring any food in with you. And don’t even get me started on the soiling charge.

The chance to design your own taxi would bring some healthy competition to the industry. We all know how much taxi drivers love that. There’d be a scramble at the rank every Friday night to get the Batmobile taxi, or the Ghostbusters taxi, complete with theme music. Getting a lift home would be something to look forward to as opposed to something that has to be endured. Who would mind listening to the driver waffle on about the government if you were being chauffeured home in Doc’s DeLorean? You might even get a few cars designed as giant soap boxes, for any taxi men with a keen sense of irony and self-deprecation. Probably very few on second thought.

There would also be an opportunity to earn the country some much-needed revenue in the form of advertising. Individual taxis could be sponsored by businesses – “If you’re getting the ride tonight, home that is, be safe. Get a Durex cab. We’ll get you there 98% of the time.” Or how about the Guinness taxi, which brings you three quarters of the way, then takes a break for a few minutes before dropping you home. The foreigners will never get the hang of that one though.

It’s doubtful that any of the above ideas will come to fruition, and if a common design is implemented, it probably won’t be very interesting. It is a shame because for such a creative country, most of our streets are rather drab and lifeless, and a splash of colour and imagination would be a welcome change. If the taxis do have to be altered in any way, one thing is for certain: you’ll be paying extra for it. If there is a chance, however, for the driver to add his own little personal touch, there is one very simple message that, if painted on the side of a cab, would ensure that it is always in high demand: “Silence guaranteed.” You couldn’t put a price on that.