You could be forgiven for thinking the world has gone back 50 years — there are Kennedys all over Ireland, there are spies hiding out in Moscow and trying to fly to Havana, there are hurling strongholds like Waterford left in the football championship and to cap it all, the Rolling Stones are still giving concerts.
It is as if we find ourselves back in the era of Mad Men, but just with Twitter at our disposal. All this week, countries around the globe are finding excuses not to let in whistleblower Edward Snowden, who must be fed up of the room service menu in an average Russian airport hotel. (Yes Meester Snowden, it is turnip lasagne again today. You no like. hah? )
Sitting there in the corner of his room, rocking back and forth clasping his laptop, he is calling out for someone to take him in.
So, let’s be brave here. Let’s get the city council (preferably the Mayor cos he’s great for the invites (Obama, the Pope, Prince Harry ) to invite Edward Snowden to chill out here in Galway. Let’s do a deal with the States to allow him to fly into our unused airport (We could do it on quiet park and ride days, so scheduling would not be a problem ) and we can ‘mind him” here. (nudge nudge, wink, wink, Mr Obama )
After all, what have the Americans planned for him, but a lifetime of headache and waterboarding to get secrets out of him which they already know.”
At a time when even the Ombudsman and the Financial Regulator are emigrating, we should be accommodating with open arms anyone who wishes to come here. And he seems such a decent chap, more like a grunge rocker than an international man of mystery.
The Americans should agree to this — Give him six months here in the city, have him holding court in the hostelries of the town, give him a grant to work on his novel and before you know it, he’ll become just another dreamer in Galway and nobody will believe a word he says.
He’ll just become a part of the scene, a fella with a great scéal to tell on a cold winter’s night in Garavans or in Tigh Neachtain. Gather around while I tell ye tales about what so and so got up to on his email.
He’s already revealed that the Americans are reading German emails (how exciting would that be? ), so he probably knows more about the bank guarantee than any Irishman.
Galwegians can say “Look, there’s Snowden, the fella the Yanks are after.” In time, he’ll get the monicker The Yank like a fella from my home town who planned to emigrate to the States and whose impending departure was feted with so much porter and craic, that he never left and lived the rest of his life in Mayo known as the Yank.
Let him walk the streets of Galway with his laptop under his arm, offering secrets for pints and rollies. Heck, I’ll even give him a column entitled Snowden’s Secrets in which he can weekly reveal an intercepted titillating email about any of the well-known people in the city (along the lines of ‘Guess who ordered an inflatable donkey?’ )
Galway could ‘mind him’ as a sort of international agreement in return for which we could get the IDA to do a deal ensuring more American companies coming in and giving us more clean jobs for shiny happy people.
We have become home to an unusual cabal of people, we’ve had rogue traders, reclusive pop and film stars, and even Whitey Bulger was rumoured to be hiding out here for a while. So get on the phone now, we could do with the exposure, the jobs, the craic...and the gossip.