Lord, make us good – Frank McNally on a to-do list for Ireland

Open peace talks with the Dublin seagulls

A to-do list for Ireland:

Fix the housing problem.

Drain the Shannon.

Put bike lanes everywhere.


More greenways too.

Do something about hotel prices.

Build a train line to Donegal.

Bring back the Great Northern Railway while we’re at it.

Write Robert Emmet’s epitaph.

Or at least set up a State-funded commission firm to study the feasibility of writing his epitaph sometime in the next 10 years.

Appoint a suitable Irish Times columnist (ahem) to head the commission, on a salary commensurate with the importance of the task.

Cherish all the children of the nation equally.

Stop summoning them to flag. If necessary, ask them politely next time.

Solve the English Question.

Find a new, improved fudge on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Failing that, find a way to divide the opposition (perhaps by introducing a sea border in the DUP?).

Stop saying “Up the ‘Ra”, even ironically or in alcohol-fuelled sing-songs.

Bring back General de Chastelain to supervise the decommissioning of all Wolfe Tones records, if necessary by burying them in concrete somewhere, at night, in the presence of two clergymen.

Call for a Border poll (eventually).

Come up with a bloody good plan first, in case it wins.

Order signs for the new Kathleen Lynn National Children’s Hospital.

Name something important after Vicky Phelan too.

Extend the Liffey Boardwalk to Leixlip.

Extend the Dublin Bike Scheme to the suburbs.

But make the seats softer first. Either that or consider the introduction of rubber cobblestones on city centre streets.

Find some reliable goal-scorers for Stephen Kenny.

Win a men’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final.

Answer Ireland’s Call (with a better song to sing at rugby matches).

Criminalise the playing of Fairytale of New York in public places earlier than December 15th.

Erect a statue of Flann O’Brien.

Save No. 15 Usher’s Island.

Do something with Liberty Hall. Preferably involving explosives.

Clean up O’Connell Street.

Tax derelict sites.

Open peace talks with the Dublin seagulls.

Put a viewing platform on the Wellington Monument. Also lifts on the outside, so we can get up there.

Reclaim Grattan’s Parliament.

Restore peatlands everywhere, to reduce carbon emissions.

Revitalise rural towns and villages.

Save Cork from rising sea levels. Maybe.

Consider making Irish illegal, as a way of encouraging more young people to speak it.

Irish poets learn your trade/Sing whatever is well made.

Sing the lords and ladies gay/That were beaten into the clay/Through seven* heroic centuries.

*Make that eight.

Cast your mind on other days/That we in coming days may be/Still the indomitable Irishry.

Lose some weight.

Read more books.

Smile occasionally. It costs nothing.

Reform the Leaving Cert, including the award of retrospective, honorary Grade As to promising students who screwed up their exams in 1979 for reasons they don’t want to discuss here.

Ignore the World Cup.

Stop watching shite like I’m a Celebrity.

Do something about the weather. Either that or buy a proper raincoat.

But don’t forget sunscreen either.

Check the immersion.

Get milk (from a reduced national herd).

Find a way to let Monaghan win the All-Ireland, just once.

Call your mother.