Ross O'Carroll-Kelly: ‘I officially name this Robbin’ Island'
I’ve hordly ever seen the old man this excited about something non-rugby related
'The old man, Hennessy and Kennet all just stare at me – in, like, total awe? That can happen sometimes – I’ll say shit that’s accidentally clever.'
“You’ll love this,” the old man goes. “Hennessy wants to petition Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to change the name of the Rock Road to Joan Burton Way – on account of how many hours he’s spent stuck in a BMW on it!”
I just stare him out of it. I’m like, “You better not have called me into town just to tell me that joke! I’m one of the few people out there trying to keep this property bubble going.”
We’re standing in the humidor in Peterson’s. The old man runs his nose along a Romeo y Julieta the size of a Subway sandwich and he tells the dude he was looking for something a little bigger.
“That’s the largest cigar we stock,” the dude goes. “Anything bigger than that would probably constitute a fire hazard. Or at the very least a public order offence.”
“Europe, no doubt,” the old man goes, “and its nuisance – quote-unquote – regulations! Well, never mind, I’ll take one of these for me, one for my legal counsel and one for my driver. And, Kicker, you’ll have one, too.”
I’m there, “I don’t smoke cigors.”
He goes, “You might when I tell you the news that Hennessy and I received this morning. Yes, I’ll take four – thank you.”
The dude goes off to wrap them.
“I’m getting the feeling,” the old man goes, “that Leo Varadkar is going to be the best thing that ever happened to this country.”
I’m like, “Leo Varadkar? That dude who wants us all up at half-six in the morning?”
The old man chuckles. “Yes,” he goes, “there’s something of the boarding school hall monitor about Leo – I’ll give you that. But Hennessy and I have just received the most wonderful news from his – inverted commas – administration.”
“Is there any chance of you telling me before I die of actual boredom?”
“Well, you remember we tendered to build that private prison on Lambay Island?”
“The one for people who refuse to pay their water chorges?”
“That’s right – the famous Aquatraz! Well, it’s been green-lit, Ross. The Department of Justice is going to make the announcement this afternoon.”
Woorking and claymun the soshilt. You’re a g… g… g… gas man, Ch… Ch… Cheerdles
“But I thought they got rid of water chorges because, well, there weren’t enough people who were actually into the whole idea?”
“With Leo at the helm, I’m not sure that water rates will ever stay permanently abolished. In the meantime, the Government has asked us to go ahead and build the prison anyway.”
“But who are they going to put in it?”
This South Dublin Life
“Dole cheats. That’s strictly entre nous, of course.”
He pays for the cigors, then he tells me to follow him.
The famous K… K… K… Kennet is sitting behind the wheel of the Beamer at the top of Grafton Street. In the back is Hennessy, who, like my old man, is shitfaced in the middle of the afternoon. I get into the front passenger seat.
“Where to?” Kennet goes.
The old man’s like, “Howth Harbour! We had the idea over a couple of celebratory lunchtime brandies, Ross.”
I’m there, “I can smell them.”
“I said to your godfather here, ‘Let’s go out to the island this afternoon and turn the first sod! I’ll ring Kicker and see if he wants to come along!’ Well, it’s history being made, isn’t it? Ireland’s first-ever privately-built and privately-run prison – with me and this chap here in charge!”
God help us all.
So, like, an hour later, the four of us are standing on the deck of Hennessy’s boat and we’re approaching the island. I have to admit, I’ve hordly ever seen the old man this excited about something non-rugby related. He can’t keep still. He’s pointing to where the gord towers and the other features are going to be.
“Of course, in the original plan,” he goes, “We were going to lay mines in these waters, but the Department of the Marine nixed the idea – something to do with the United Nations Convention of the Law on the Seas. Red tape, in other words!”
The boat eventually, I don’t know, docks? Then off we get, on to the island. The old man hands out the cigors, then he goes, “So what do you think, Kicker?”
I’m there, “Not much. It’s all just basically fields.”
I actually find nature a bit boring.
He’s like, “Not after next week it won’t be! We’re going to have construction chaps on the site 24-hours-a-day, building a state-of-the-art prison, large enough to accommodate 450 prisoners, which means we should be able to squeeze about 1,900 beds into it.”
You can see that Kennet’s nervous listening to all this talk of prison. I sometimes forget that him and the old man shared a cell in the Joy. He goes, “Who are thee godda p… p… p… purrin this priddon, Ch… C… Cheerdles?”
“Just dole cheats, Kennet. You’re not a dole cheat, are you?”
“You’re not working for me and claiming social welfare, are you?”
Kennet laughs – and it’s pretty obvious what the answer to the question is.
We need a name that says it’s for welfare cheats
“Otherwise,” the old man goes, laughing along, too, “we might as well just leave you here!”
Kennet keeps on laughing. “Woorking and claymun the soshilt,” he goes. “You’re a g… g… g… gas man, Ch… Ch… Cheerdles.”
Hennessy lights the old man’s cigor, then goes, “We still need to come up with a name.”
I’m like, “What do you mean?”
“Well, we can’t call it Aquatraz because it’s not a prison for people who don’t pay their water rates.”
“Not yet,” the old man goes. “Not yet.”
“We need a name that says it’s for welfare cheats.”
“What about Robbin’ Island?” I go.
The old man, Hennessy and Kennet all just stare at me – in, like, total awe? That can happen sometimes – I’ll say shit that’s accidentally clever.
“Hennessy,” the old man goes, “I hope you’ll not raise an objection if I were to ask Kicker here to turn the very first sod on Robbin’ Island?”
Hennessy’s like, “Go ahead. He’s earned it.”
I look around me. I’m there, “Okay, what am I going to actually dig with?”
They all just look at each other.
“Did anyone bring a shovel?” the old man goes.
No one answers.
The old man goes, “Well, you don’t need to go down too deep. I’d say just kick some of the earth away with your foot. I officially name this … Robbin’ Island.”