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6 November 1997 Edition

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With a mobile phone in one hand...

By Eoghan MacCormaic

Life's a stage, isn't it? And there's a point when life and drama merge, and for those of us who happen to be looking on, the blur of it all becomes a form of entertainment in itself. Sunday nights aren't going to be the same after the ending of Making The Cut, and its glimpse of white collar politics associating with the drug and criminal world.

Mind you, I could always read the Sunday papers. If I really wanted to. If I really wanted a glimpse of white collar politics associating with the drug and criminal world. It's all there; the scandals, the bribes, the land re-zoning. Like a Penguin novel.

And Making the Cut had its ironic moments. During the final show just after we'd been informed of the crooked politician's links with a mobile phone company seeking to set up shop in Ireland, the ad break arrived. The first advert was for a well-known mobile phone company. Ho Ho. For a brief moment I didn't know if I was watching fact or fiction. It was a wee bit close to the bone... I wonder what RTÉ head rolled down to the dole on Monday morning after that technical fault.

Mind you, Michael Lowry wouldn't have been the only politician sitting on the edge of his seat on Sunday evening, as the gripping drama unfolded. Many jaws across the country must have dropped with a thump on many pious craws as the plot unfolded. Telecommunications and the need for sites transmitters has become a point of conflict in this country in recent times, with protests in various sites across the country at plans to set up new masts. And as Making the Cut pointed out, telecommunications equal more than phones: it's TVs, computers, the Internet.... God knows, maybe it even boils down to ordering your next pizza or Chinese takeaway. And there are many republicans up and down the land who have voiced their objections to masts being erected in their localities, objections for a range of reasons including the environment, health, privacy etc. But not me. Count me out on this one comrades. I'm a technophile.

I abstain on the whole issue, mainly on the grounds that I have a mobile phone. Don't laugh and don't sneer. Th'ole mobile is an essential piece of equipment in this day and age for revolutionaries. Have you ever tried finding an empty phone box just when you needed one? Or discovered that the phone card you carry everywhere with you has no units left? That's when you need a mobile, mucker.

And if in doubt, think of PH Pearse. `Some people think that the sight of Orangemen with guns is a curious sight... a more curious sight is a nationalist without a gun'. That's what Padraig had to say way back in 1913. I have my own version for the 1990s: `the sight of the establishment with mobile phones is a curious sight.... a more curious sight is a revolutionary without one'. There you are. I'm prepared to nail my colours to the mast... if I can find one. Technology and progress is good, it's the people that control it that stink.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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