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25 May 2012 Edition

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SIDELINES...

It’s not easy being mean

IF YOU THINK you’ve got it tough in these harsh times of austerity, spare a thought for ‘poor’ Áine Collins, Fine Gael TD for Cork North-West.

Áine was an accountant and a business consultant before she became a tribune of the people but she’s apparently been complaining she’s finding it hard to make ends meet on an annual salary of just €92,600 (plus €50,000 in expenses for costs).

Ballyhea anti-bail-out activist Diarmuid O’Flynn (see Feature, Page 8) says that he and other campaigners lobbied the TD against her government making the public pay for bankers’ bills. They cited Russian-born Trinity College Dublin economist Constantin Gurdgiev to back up their argument, to which the Fine Gael TD reportedly replied:

“The best thing he can do for Ireland is get on a plane back to Moscow.”

Willie Frazer – he should have gone to Specsavers

WILLIE FRAZER, the ever-vigilant unionist campaigner, is always on the look-out for reds under the bed or republicans in the woodwork and eagle-eyed Willie espied them in May in a County Tyrone primary school — or, as Willie would have it, “the junior headquarters of SF/IRA Youth”.

Rambling away from his south Armagh bunker, Willie’s new target was St Patrick’s Primary School in Donaghmore, where he saw the flags of Poland and Turkey and the Irish Tricolour flying high in the schoolyard. He promptly posted his snapshot on Facebook and, outraged, asked: “This is a school in Tyrone flying the Irish flag on the school grounds — why?”

He went on to describe the school as “the junior headquarters of SF/IRA Youth, or it may as well be”, adding: “I wounder [sic] do they also train the children in how to use weapons, for it seems they can do what they wont [sic].”

Only — never mind the semi-literate dribbling about weapons training by the school — it wasn’t the Irish Tricolour of green, white and orange that Willie saw but the Italian Tricolore of green, white and RED.

The school was flying the flags as part of a European project during which teachers from Poland, Turkey and Italy visited the school.

St Patrick’s Principal Dera Calahane said she was “shocked to read how vindictive and inciteful the comments were”.

Reflecting the serious implications of Willie’s wild and wilful stupidity, the school is taking legal advice and reporting it to the PSNI.

The Facebook post has now been removed.

March of the penguins

A KING PENGUIN has walked all over the Liberal Democrats in Scotland’s local elections. And to top it all, people p-p-p-picked up a penguin over the Green Party candidate.

Dressed head-to-toe in a penguin suit, ‘Professor Pongoo’ (real name Mike Ferrigan) ran (or waddled) in the Pentland Hills ward of Edinburgh City Council to try and raise awareness about climate change and other environmental issues.

For the entire campaign, Professor Pongoo canvassed homes in his colourful costume, posed for photos and took part in very serious debates.

“As a penguin,” Professor Pongoo declared solemnly in reference to the Conservative Party’s government coalition partners in Westminster), “I can teach the Lib Dems how to walk the walk.”

He said he intended attending council meetings dressed as a penguin.

In the end, Professor Pongoo p-p-p-picked up 5.6% of the first-preference vote, slipping well in front of the Lib Dems with 4.7% and the Greens further back on 4.1%.

Indecent proposal

WILL the SDLP’s three MPs and 14 MLAs happily stump up the seven grand apiece leader Alasdair McDonnell is pressing them for to improve the party’s organisation as it frantically tries to play catch-up with Sinn Féin?

Big Al told the BBC’s Inside Politics programme that the cash has to be found somewhere if the party wants to “run a decent press office”. Does he not think it’s decent now?

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