THE season of pollutants and irritants is truly upon us. The past week has seen me reaching in desperation for my antihistamines. Either the pollen count was exceptionally high or the fallout from the Anglo Irish tapes had left me in an awful fever, with streaming eyes and a bulbous nose. Whatever it was, I was miserable.
Certainly, the polluted tapes made me as mad as hell, but for the life of me I couldn’t tell you exactly why. It wasn’t as if I had ever expected chivalry to be the culture that nurtured the financial Knights of the Round Table.
And then there was my inability to get my head around financial issues – even my own. I get dizzy when they talk about millions and I’m lost altogether when they get to the billions.
I was surprised, though, that those banking executives had so many swear words in their vocabularies, and that they were sprinkled so liberally through the discussions.
What really shocked me, of course, was that they had any discussions at all.
Everyone around me, however, was frothing at the mouth over the tapes. But, as far as I could see, no-one else got hay fever from the controversy. When I asked people what it was about the disclosures that annoyed them most, they told me that we had all been taken for a ride – all the way to austerity - by a bunch of boorish bankers, and the audacity of these buccaneers was hard to stomach. Hell hath no fury like a taxpayer scorned, it seems.
By the end of the week, at least some of them were bored by the whole affair and said they didn’t want to hear another taped conversation for the rest of their lives.
Meanwhile, a few of us fretted about what the rest of the globe would think of us. The world might boycott the Gathering when they saw what we were really like. And the ECB might cut us loose altogether.
But thankfully, President Michael D came to the rescue with the announcement that these crude banking executives did not in any way reflect the real people of Ireland.
That’s when I broke out in a rash, because it suddenly dawned on me that I could have written the script myself a few years ago and nobody would even have batted an eyelid. That’s it, I said to myself, I’m allergic to displays of public outrage, especially from people who were taken for a ride.
But there were other irritants in the air last week too. There was the former Miss World, Rosanna Davison, who is about to graduate as a nutritionist - from what college she doesn’t say – who advises that milk and dairy products should be eliminated from the diet.
If that’s what they teach at nutrition school these days, I’ll be damned.
Humans have been drinking milk and using dairy products for over 7,000 years and chances are we wouldn’t have developed to this stage without its many beneficial components.
The farmers, naturally, are outraged at Rosanna’s lactose bias. Their economy is vulnerable enough without a ‘Playboy’ model attempting to undermine it on what appear to be very tenuous grounds.
But I loved the response of John Comer, ICMSA president, who dismissed the beauty queen’s comments as “faddish quackery”. Good on you, John!
Then there was Limerick city councillor, John Gilligan who wanted to rename Charlotte Quay and George’s Quay in the interests of progress.
The idea was to break the final link with the British Monarchy, although I’m told that while a little known British Queen and an even lesser known British Princess are the most likely sources, no-one can say for certain who Charlotte Quay was named after.
I don’t agree with Cllr Gilligan’s proposal. We’re all monarchists at heart, and even if we weren’t, we were once subjects of the crown, and we can’t draw a veil over our history or tear out the pages we don’t like.
Anyway, Limerick, like many other centres around the country, has already lost too many place names that recalled its colourful, colonial and chequered past.
Maybe we should reinstate a few of them in order to keep us grounded and to give the full picture to future generations.
Finally, it is very irritating to find that the HSE has once again changed the names of our local hospitals. I don’t know if they’re being pretentious or if they trying to confuse us.
The Mid-West Regional Hospital is to become Limerick University Hospital, but that won’t make it any easier to get a bed in a ward.
They should never have abandoned the Saints. Health services were much better when the hospitals were called after local Saints like St Nessan’s Orthopaedic Hospital in Croom and St Munchin’s Maternity Hospital, in Limerick. At least there was some hope of a miracle then.