Dear World. Don't believe Irish stereotypes
Dear Rest of the World,
We hope this finds you well. The weather here has been quite cold this week, and one of our Senators said he wouldn’t get into a taxi driven by any single one of you, but otherwise we’re keeping well.
Anyway, to the awkward matter at hand. We were hoping you could do Ireland a favour. Don’t worry, we’re not asking for more cash! We promised to pay you back for the, you know, economic “situation”, and we’ve got the payslips to back that up, so don’t you worry.
No, this correspondence arises out of the global news story arising from some Irish councillors’ views on drink-driving. If you wouldn’t mind, we’d like to address some inaccuracies in recent headlines.
“Irish council paves way for drinking and driving” (the Daily Telegraph). No it doesn’t.
“Lawmakers in Ireland Vote to Allow ‘Moderate’ Drunk-Driving” (Gawker). No they didn’t.
“Ireland may allow ‘moderately’ drunk driving” (Salon). No it won’t.
“ ‘Drunk Driving’ Permits Approved By Irish County Might Let Rural Drivers Imbibe, Drive.” (Huffington Post). Imbibe? Look who’s been logging on to thesaurus.com.
“Irish County Legalizes Drunk Driving” (ABC News). Seriously, it’s a nation’s reputation you’re toying with. You could have just called one of us at random to check it out. We can still afford phones.
You know who you are
And on it went, World. You know who you are. New Zealand, Australia, Canada, probably lots of other non-English-speaking countries whose results my version of Google News didn’t bother to give me.
Then, a full 24 hours after the story broke, leaving facts to eat dust, the BBC’s Breakfast television programme got in on the act. Its presenter introduced the item by saying: “People who live in isolated rural areas of Ireland could be given the freedom to go to the pub, have a few drinks and then drive home without running the risk of being arrested.” (No. They. Couldn’t.)
The councillor who proposed the motion, Danny Healy-Rae, was interviewed live. The first thing he did was to say hello to the television show’s “listeners”. At this point, the Irish public collectively banged their heads off the breakfast table in resignation. You might have noticed. It caused a minor tidal wave in the Irish Sea.
In your defence, World, you will not have been aware of the Healy-Raes before. You will not appreciate that they are like Russian dolls: every time you think you’ve reached the last one, another, more minor version pops out.