Thursday, April 30, 2009

Burning down the house

Roll up, one and all. It's May Eve, that wonderful day when greens in Rathbane, Garryowen and Prospect are lit up with the majestic sight of poor people burning all their crap.

Apparently, the Oidhche Bealtaine bonfires have their origins in Celtic rituals. But today they're driven by more practical concerns. After all, those four years' worth of Argos catalogues aren't going to walk out of the house by themselves.

Come this time tomorrow the city will be smouldering and the green brigade will be in apoplexy.

That grass will take 4,000 years to recover, they'll say. And dammit I'm never going to get that smell of burnt suitcase out of my linen.

Let them snarl. Who really cares?

People will complain about the lump of taxpayer money - about €50,000 - that it takes to clean up before, during and after these bonfires.

A spicy meatball, indeed. But were we to impose a blanket ban on all bonfires the cost would be higher. Banning what has essentially become a habit to so many people would only serve to encourage bigger fires, rowdier youngsters and a lot more collateral damage.

As long as no one throws a cat or a barrel of anti-freeze on any of them, The Board cannot see the harm in it.

Though he didn't see the harm in feeding bone meal to cattle either, and look how that turned out.

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