After reading this article in today’s Irish Times, we’re not sure that Blather.net agrees with this new carry-on by the embattled Irish Government – it reeks of Paddywhackery, wastage of public funds and diplomatic expansionism. However, if improves our social lives when travelling, then it can’t be all that bad, and god knows, we need a lift after getting slammed recently by Luxembourg in the International Drinking Awards.
Dublin, Ireland: The Department of Foreign Affairs today announced the conferring of consular status on Irish pubs around the world. This long-anticipated move – partly driven by cost-cutting measures – has been welcomed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, MicheÃ¡l Martin, as well as the International Publican Association (IPA) and ordinary Irish travelers.
“This is a great day for the Irish nation and the Diaspora”, said Minister Martin. “Irish pubs abroad, whether they be in London, Long Beach or Langkawi can officially become the little bit of Ireland that they’ve long been offering people. Irish citizens make some 8 million trips abroad every year, so by offering consular services at obvious, friendly locations like pubs, we hope to better able to deal with regular problems, such as replacement passwords, dealing with arrests, fighting, sunburn, shortage of money, hurricanes, and that kind of thing”.
src=”http://www.blather.net/zeitgeist/michael_martin1_200.jpg” width=”127″ height=”200″ class=”mt-image-left” style=”float: left;margin: 0 20px 20px 0″ />
This enlargement in the role of pubs in the everyday life of Irish people worldwide is just a first step, according to government sources, with plans to claim pub property as Irish soil, and the right to claim diplomatic immunity and CD car plates for regulars.
Harold Pettigrew-Barrow of the Irish Publican Association was expansive on what this means for Ireland. “At last, we Irish can shake off our chains of oppression and servitude, and spring forth upon an unexpectant world. I don’t normally agree with decisions made by the somewhat bourgeois Government of Ireland, but this new plan should restore Ireland to the global superpower it once was.”
However, sources within the Irish Civil Service, unwilling to be named for the purposes of this article, have stated that “this is nothing but an excuse for the government to cut jobs in the public sector – jobs that were given to Department of Foreign Affairs for life. There may be a strike on the cards”.
The news has rung a happier note in Irish pubs abroad. Colleen Kowalski, of the Brazen Hussey Bar and Grill, in Dublin, Ohio, welcomed the news.
“We’re forever getting people in here saying that they’ve lost their flight details, lost their money or spouse in a gambling accident, or need to use the phone to call their other. With the best will in the world, we can’t keep up that kind of service without some sort of official intervention from the powers-that-be. It’ll be a real boon to the business to be able to give out passports, there’s even talk of a loyalty scheme. It brings a tear to my eye, let me tell you.”
It appears that the Irish announcement to expand its consulates has raised tensions in some countries, with Uruguayan Foreign Minister Gonzalo Fernández currently drumming up support for a Latin American demarche against the Irish government. There are reports of demonstrations outside The Shannon pub in Montevideo.
“This smacks blatant cultural imperialism by the Irish”, Fernández told El Pais. “It’s clear that the Irish government will not rest until every man, woman and child in Uruquay is dressed in green, and singing Amhrán na bhFiann. We will be bringing the matter up with the UN Security Council”.
In Saudi Arabia, a country with strict Muslim controls on the consumption of alcohol, Ambassador Tom Russell has been summoned by King Abdullah to explain the matter, while in Iran, a spokesman for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that “this is nothing more than a cynical move by the fascist Irish Regime to expand its powers in the Middle East. Ireland’s current hypocritical stance against the Government of Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme is a sign that the Irish and this move to create a cellular network of government-sponsored drinking establishments is a clear sign a possible coup attempt, possibly late on a Friday”.
Meanwhile, back home in Dublin this morning, retired actuary Fergus “Madra Mire” McArthur, seated at the bar of Buswell’s with a pint of cool, clean Guinness, was philosophical; “I think it’s a great idea, I do. It’d be much handier to be able to fill in all them forms at a bar rather than be traipsing down to Molesworth St and queuing up for a passport every ten years now, wouldn’t it?”
When questioned on this statement, McArthur replied “Yes, I know we’re on Molesworth St. now, I mean if and when one would find the need to drink in a different establishment then it would be very handy.”
The new Pub-Consular service will be in operation from April 1st, in Irish pubs around the world. A full list of Irish pubs, clubs, embassies and consulates can be found on the Depart of Foreign Affairs website, while details of the services offered can be found here.