28 Feb 2008

When the Clintons decided to leak this ‘controversial’ photograph of Barack Obama to the American press, my first thought was ‘So what’s the big deal – Barack once spent a summer as a trolly dolly for Swissair?’

By the way, can I refer you all back to Dispatch no 8 of February 13th of last year when I endorsed Obama for Taoiseach? I don’t think he’d even declared his run for the Presidency. Check it out for yourselves.


In a south eastern County, a citizen (probably, in truth, wrongly in that he didn’t first contact the local authority in advance) decided to ‘rebuild’ a small, existing structure on a farm in a very rural area. The first building stood without the benefit of a foundation so, after he demolished it, our correspondent poured a new strip foundation for the replacement which was supposed to be identical to the first. Then he got a letter from the local authority insisting that the new foundations be completely removed… and the original structure rebuilt.


Another correspondent writes about a planning application made for 4 houses on a site right beside his house. Through no fault of his own, he missed the newspaper ad and only found out about the proposed development when the site notice was posted. However, the site notice went up long after the period for observations had elapsed.

When our correspondent – who had hoped to make some observations about the proposed development – wrote to the Council to explain how circumstances had conspired to deny him his right to comment, he had his letter returned ‘because it had not been submitted within the two weeks of the newspaper ad’.  


Am I hearing correctly that the new Clare County Offices in Ennis are already too small and that the planners are now in the basement where the archives were supposed to be, meaning that requests for archival material are taking as long as ever?


A few weeks ago, I had a piece in the Trib about the lack of public transport in Dublin. At the time I hadn’t heard about The Dargan Project: a comprehensive plan, privately drawn up, which is the most sensible thing I’ve read to date on how the situation in Dublin could be improved.


When you have a blog, you get this piece of software which tells you how many people are reading it, how often, for how long, and so on. You also see how people came upon your site in the first place. So, for example, if someone types ‘Planning Dispatch’ or ‘who the !*!*! is Garry Miley’ into the Google bar and then clicks on your site, their enquiry shows up on a list. Here are some of the Google search terms folks have recently used which led them to the Dispatch

Pat Kenny is cool
Norman Foster and the Illuminati
Where is Ennis Co Clare
Pat Dolan’s hair
Where can I get codeine
Irish planning secrets revealed
Maleface speye (I have no idea either)
Colm Cantillon (this happens a lot, Colm)
Is Garry Miley Irish?
Miley on the radio talking about Jesus
Cure for car boss syndrome

But apart from obvious search phrases which make direct reference to me or to the Dispatch, the phrase most often used to link to the page, and by a long shot, is

Ultraviolet tattoo: 

Speaking of which, despite all your best efforts on my behalf in getting me onto the various blog award list of nominees, I didn’t make it to the short list in any category. We did our best and I won’t trouble you with the matter again.  


Ciaran Cuffe reminds me a lot of that other Trojan of Irish public life, Hugh Murray, who, despite his business partner, Sean, being elected the new president of the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland (now, Hugh, that had to hurt a little bit) which would give him (Sean) the right to be anybody’s Car Boss, Hugh drives around town without a care in the world in that Fruit Gum coloured Lexus (not the model that almost has cred) which depreciates so quickly it costs more to buy used than it does new.

(Incidentally, Ciaran, as you’re new to my world of ‘what email contributions should have said, not what they actually in fact said’ please don’t take offence at me making your contribution more interesting than it actually was. I wouldn’t say I’m a fabulist, I just lose patience with reality and tend to alter it to suit my needs. You’ll get used to it.)

Did I hear somewhere that Fidel Castro turned Cuba’s golf courses into military training academies and such because he felt so sore a losing a round to Che? Shortly before Che was sent to Bolivia?


All of which for some reason reminds me that Ray D’Arcy may soon find himself the next victim of my Walter Mitty type imagination. This is after his people called me up last week (I’d sent them an email looking for a mention for the TV show) and grilled me like an Al Queda suspect at JFK airport to see ‘if I’d make a good radio guest’ (‘When you were on Tubridy, did he, like, say he might have you back? Oh really? Wow! Cool! Did he, you know – this is going to sound really weird! - send you an email or some kind of follow up that, you know, would make it look like he’d be happy to, you know, have you back? Oh, fanTAStic! Is that something you could forward on to me? And I could pass on to Ray? FanTAStic – don’t want to promise anything, but, you know, you sound just perfect for the show…). Then, they call up to say that they’ve decided to have me on and they’ll get back to me with a firm date. But then, next thing I know, they’ve DIS-invited me! That’s right. Someone from his organisation sent a message straight through to my voice mail to say thanks for talking to them, but having thought about it a bit, ‘Ray thought the piece might be [I swear to God, this is what they said] ‘too visual’’.

Well Ray, no hard feelings.

Except… you being the sock-puppet interacter par excellence I was so looking forward to seeing you work with Dustin on the National Song Contest last Saturday. Well Ray, you’re losing your touch.

Vintage Ray


Here’s some Pat Kenny and Des Cahill stuff I thought was funny

This gives me flashbacks to my days in the Council

Where Russia is coming from and we’re headed if we’re not careful

A woman, while playing golf, hits her ball into the woods. As she’s retrieving it, she finds a frog in a trap.

I’m a magic frog,’ says the frog ‘If you free me from this trap, I’ll grant you a wish.’

The woman frees the frog, but the frog says ‘I’m sorry, I should have told you that the grant of the wish comes with a qualification: whatever you wish for, your husband will get the same wish tenfold.’

The woman thinks about it for a while and answers: ‘I’ll have a heart attack please.’

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