It was Tuesday the 15th, the day of The March on Leinster House. I was up to Dublin the night before as I knew tings would kick off early and I needed to be up front in the crowd and close to the speakers like. Hiding in plain sight they call it in those spy fillims. I knew the CCTV cameras around Leinster House would be working overtime scanning the crowd and the place would be sick with peelers. So I was in front of the crowd, with the stage hiding me from the cameras, and I had on the disguise that Peig and Saoirse made up for me – great craic the girls had in putting it together. I’m not going to tell yees or else it wouldn’t be a disguise now, wuddit?
Why the paranoia Paddy, you ask? The reason for that was that one of my mates in the guards was tellin me to watch my step as I was now on the wanted list. Not the official list like wanted dead or alive or anything like that cos I haven’t committed any crimes, not since I was a youngfella anyways. No, I was on that unofficial list sent around to each barracks cos I was pissing certain people off like, according to me auld segotia, anyways. To be honest we’re not that close anymore since he said no to putting a bug in Pat’s office – I mean, WTF I sez? If you can bug the Cabinet meetings, why not stick one in that gombeen’s office, I asks. Then we can find out which pylon corridor he’s chosen in Waterford. We could make some serious money at Paddy Power. But he wasn’t interested – Dublin coppers obviously do OK already.
Anyways, I came up on the train from Mullingar the night before, and checked into my hotel close to Leinster House, and kept low in my room – room service burgers, beer, and saucy movies, heaven I tell yees. The next morning I had to put on the disguise before I checked out. You should see your wan’s face at reception, but I paid cash and was out the door in the shake of a tail.
The people were everywhere, and it was grand altogether. Lots of smiley faces, and people shaking hands and asking “Where you up from?”. It was like a big family, and I mean big. I laughed at the RTE News later that night when they said ‘about 2000’, but sure that’s to be expected when Rabbitte is their boss – the Minister of MisCommunication – I stood next to a Gard with a head on him like your man Gleeson in the fillim and asked him about the numbers. He spoke into his radio, listened and told me, “there’s easy over ten thousand, close to eleven”.
I was moved up close to the stage. Another fellow next to the stage, Michael, told me he was a chef from a castle. Probably Malahide, but he didn’t say. Your man had a rucksack on his back and the guards were watching him, thinking of the Boston Marathon I’d wager. I whispered this in his ear and went over to tell the guards as well that it was all grand, your man was a chef just carrying fresh produce, and they relaxed. It’s amazing what a cuddly disguise can do to relax people. I’m going to suggest to Peig that maybe we try this outfit in the bedroom.
I was standing next to your man from the Pylon Alternative Alliance – Duggan? – who was busy telling me how he was organising everybody into a structure. I guess he wanted to be at the head of that structure, but then I wouldn’t know for sure. I asked him how could he be saying that pylons were the alternative? I said he should come and see my bungalow with the pylon in the back – pylons are the problem I sez, not the alternative. He didn’t seem to take me seriously, it might have been the disguise. My friend, you seem a straight-up bloke, I sez, so a word of advice. We have a common enemy – EirGrid and Fat Pat. The strength of the movement is the community – the People – listen to them, don’t tell them what to do, we have the cute hoors doing that already and God forbid you turn out to be another cute hoor. We are all singing from the same hymn sheet – let the people find their own voice, don’t tell them which song to sing, especially if it just happens to be your favourite song. This is a people’s movement, let the people rule. Like they do today, and those gombeens in Leinster house are sweatin cos of it.
I even know what its called now, I saw it on the letter to those Arbitration lawyers of EirGrid – participatory democracy. A mouthful sure, but delicious to the discerning palate, so my chef friend told me. I am sure thats how the Waterford groups are so strong, and leading the rest of the country by example – the people speak and the people govern – the leaders follow.
Jeanie Mac – it was like a who’s who of anti-pylon people – Tom McGurk, who is tall enough to step over the feckin pylon and a top man – he must be to speak over that Right Hook. Gerry Adams – with his own sign that he made in his office – ‘SF Against Wind’ – no mention of the undergrounding, but just connect the dots, Gerry. I spoke to a lovely lady from Mayo who had never been to a protest before but this was important she said – good woman yourself.
Of course there were loads of cute hoors looking for all the votes on offer – sure everyone is suddenly anti-pylon. Before you cast your vote just remember who was there from the beginning, fighting in the trenches. Your man Kieran Hartley will get my vote for sure – he was there from the start with the heroes from Comeragh Against Pylons in Kilmacthomas. I remember in the early days when Kieran travelled all the way up to Mullingar to speak to us, when we didn’t have a clue – well I did, having taken the thirty pieces of silver, but the people there didn’t have a notion what was going on and Kieran spoke to us and answered all our questions. Gas Man – he gets my vote for Europe.
A fellow in front was making a lot of noise and trying to stir things up – I saw the Carlow colours and thought he was a Hogan supporter – a Phil-istine – trying to start a fight maybe. The guards were watching him for a while as your man was foaming at the mouth and roarin fit to bust. When I got close and saw the Rasta colours I realised your man was there to support the hemp / biomass option and he was singing ‘Stir It Up ’, rather than just acting the eejit.
The speaker that impressed me the most was himself, Sean Cullinan. A bear of a man – he would be playing flank for Munster if your man Stander wasn’t so brilliant – but with the intellect of Einstein (and youse thought I was too thick to know these things. Remember I was two years in Maynooth, so I know all about Albert and his Theory of Serendipity). Sean was telling us how important it was for us to vote for the pylon candidates in the elections on 23 May. Forget party politics, vote for your anti-pylon candidates cos that is how we will kick Leinster House in the arse. Get our people into the European parliament to shout back at the wind lobby, get people onto your local Council to stop planning applications for more turbines. That is the way forward. People power.
And then I saw Midi. She was carrying an As Gaeilge sign COSC AR PYLONS. My fluffy disguise got me around the mountain men, but when I got to her my tongue was frozen and I sputtered out some jibber-jabber about elections. And how did she reply in that gorgeous voice of hers? She told me that her full name is Midi de Paor Walsh, it sounded like music when she said it, and she be standing in the Waterford Council elections. I told her that if I lived in Waterford I would vote for her, and maybe I could come down and live in her spare room? I wanted to speak forever but Midi was on a mission to save us, and next thing she was gone in a beautiful blur.
At that stage I was sweatin fit to melt. I needed scoops, loads of them. With one last look at my big happy family, I was gone, out of the disguise and away, back to Mullingar.