Children: FPP Needed First


The recent ill-judged outburst by the spiritual leader of Ireland's cartholic car-owning society about the so-called "cartraceptive culture" shows how little this powerful individual - who has himself never driven a car - understands about the planning of family mechanisms. He has also seen fit to criticise "a la car" purchasing, whereby cartholics pick and choose exact specifications, and wants to drag us all back to the old days, when you could have a car of any colour you wanted so long as it was black.

All right, not very funny. But what exactly is a "contraceptive culture" anyway? Am I missing something, or is the State inundated with books, films and music celebrating the joy of prophylactics? Are there summer schools debating the alleged superiority of the coil over the condom? No. These handy but meaningless "culture" phrases are a little like the "politics of" nonsense, whereby you can speak, for example of "the politics of decommissioning" and say nothing at all while sounding meaningful. We have heard it all before anyway. It can be only a matter of time now before we are told of something called the permissive society. But perhaps what we need is an overhaul of the family planning laws, and the whole thing put under corporation and county council control. People would have to make their plans public in the newspapers and we would not then be landed with unwanted or unexpected children.

Cavan County Council: McCooley and McCooley (Jimmy and Nuala) wish to apply for outline planning permission for bungalow, garage, septic tank, small boy and slurry pit. Also to retain telecommunications mast support pole in the Long Field and to attach antenna to support pole.

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council: Full planning permission is sought by Mr and Mrs Ivan Erve for new girls (2) to complement existing lads (2), plus single-storey bay window to rear and ancillary works at 567, Sallynoggin Snug. Of course we will have to brush up on the old Gaeilge if we are not to be hoodwinked by the cute hoors who slip in their family extension application in Irish.

Drogheda Corporation: Permission sought for new glazed entrance porch to private dwelling at 33 Cairn Dubh Heights agus cailin amhain. Plus change of use from retail and commercial premises to residential being two-storey at front and 16-storey at back comprising 144 two-bed apts, agus buachaill beag. Applicants Seanin and Maire Gliste. Naturally we would first have to appoint to the various corporations and councils a number of moral arbiters, and God knows - who better? - there are plenty of these around with very little to do except lecture the rest of us when given the chance.

But what happens if you are living peacefully beside your neighbours, and the next thing is they produce a squalling brat without any heed paid at all to the proper planning procedures?

You have the right to make a written complaint to the authorities.

However, accidents can happen, so it is only fair that the new parents, who may well be as surprised as yourself, can apply for retrospective planning permission.

Kilkenny County Council: Planning permission sought to retain two-storey extension to dispatch area, covered loading bay, "jumbo" carton store, truck parking area, plus Kevin (three weeks). Applicants J&D Ferguson, Inistioge Bacon Reprocessing Plant.

And what if retrospective permission for Kevin is refused? I am sorry: it may sound harsh, but it has to be a case of "all that will have to come down". Kevin will become corporation or council property and will be included in the annual public sale of reclaimed goods. The parents will have their chance to bid for him at the auction if they wish, but it will be an open market and they will have no more rights than anyone else.

If we are to handle this thing correctly there can be no place for sentimentality.

Naturally we will also have to make sure everything is conducted above board, and that the officials involved are of the highest integrity. The last thing we want is a brown paper envelope scenario, and the spectre of a tribunal in years to come. The emotional trauma of discovering, as a grown man or woman, that your birth permit was illegally bought under the counter by desperate parents - that you owe your life to Mickey Joe Cahalane, former corrupt corporation family planning official, grade three, now retired - is too awful to think about.