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The Chain Gang Will Have A Field Day

by Jimmy Rhatigan

Thousands, perhaps millions of doubting Thomases may believe that a majority of politicians of all hues and ranks would turn up for the opening of an envelope,
Motive would simply be to get their jaws on a page of a local newspaper.
A combination of ego, brass neck and a craving for publicity is no doubt the reason for such public posturing.
We thought that the envelope occasion represented narcissism at its brilliant best.
We would have given it first prize in any brass-neck competition.
Or rather we would have given those who gathered to celebrate any envelope opening a reluctant stamp of approval for opportunism.
That was until we came across another gathering with a difference in the wonderful Wexican holiday village of Fethard-on-Sea.

It wasn’t an earth-shattering news event, but the New Ross Standard reported a great day for Fethard when public figures turned up for the open of a pedestrian crossing.
Yes, you read it correctly, a pedestrian crossing.
The crossing is outside the village’s Mini Market owned by the local Dillon family and links what is probably the village’s busiest store with a children’s playground.
For Fethard it was a health and safety boost and indeed a good excuse for those with political ambition to wear a chain of office that so many councilors seem to delight in prancing about displaying.
Other local public representatives went one better.
New Ross political folk took official openings to a new level when they gathered for the opening of a bench in a local town park.

The bench, funded by what is called a Keep Well Campaign, is described as a Happy to Chat bench.
Should pedestrian crossings and benches take over from the envelope, the notion has to be that councilors and some local authority employees will be run off their feet with photo shoots.
A second crossing has been provided in Fethard’s main street but there is no word yet about the official opening.
That crossing is outside Molloy’s Pub.
That would perhaps be an ideal venue for the official opening of the village’s next pub crawl?
Or maybe a Pint-to-Pint meeting?
The official opening of this, that or the other throws up all sorts of possibilities.
Justification maybe for a proposed €8,000-a-year hike for councilors?
As much as we tried to avoid it, we are back to the envelope.
And the chain gang will have a field day.

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