Passing notes, freely wandering around the room, whispering down the back with their best buddies, back talking, and petty bickering. I know what you are thinking, what a disruptive bunch of Leaving Cert students. Sadly this is not the case, this was my visit to Áras An Chontae, Castlebar, for one of the county council’s monthly meetings.
Having never witnessed such an event, I was more then curious to discover what type of business would arise. The impressive chamber was an experience in itself. Placed before each of the councillors was a small lap-top computer and elegant microphone. Looming from the ceiling above their heads were five immense plasma screen televisions, no doubt for watching episodes of The West Wing to rile themselves up before each meeting.
The pantomime commenced with a quick Our Father and then down to business. Although I was once an avid fan of the television show Bull Island and comedians such as The D’Unbelievables, I was completely unprepared for the antics that were to ensue.
The councillors were very passionate about all the issues discussed from the N26 to SNAs. I was quick to discover that all councillors had the incredible ability to listen to the argument of another councillor, then repeat the same argument while carefully rewording it so it sounded like a new issue they had raised and nobody had agreed on the topic at hand.
Some of the more memorable quotes from the performance were, “Councillor, will ya turn round and talk, turn around, sure you’re feckin’ ushheless anyway!” My own personal favourite, “That environmental shower are too busy protecting every frog, shhnail and shhlug in the Co Mayo, rather then letting us build our roads!” During the final minutes of the meeting someone said: “Right, we’ll try and wrap it up now, we are running out of time.” To which a councillor responded: “Ah the only person running outta time is the man lying below in the church!”
If Pat Shortt were to observe one of these meetings he would have enough material for his shows to last the rest of his life.
So I strongly advise members of the public, in these recessionary times, not to waste €30 on show tickets to see the likes of John Kenny and Pat Shortt, but head on down to Áras An Chontae to see all those campaign posters in full animation.