“WE are coming to a sad end,” mourned Cllr Denis O’Mara at Mountmellick Town Council annual budget and monthly meeting.
The Council will be abolished next May, so members were having their last Christmas gathering. Understandably enough, festive cheer was at a premium.
In the dim distant past, when Mountmellick Town Commission, as it was then called, was first established, it probably consisted of bewhiskered, stiff-collared, hard-hatted males in watch-chained waistcoats.
Times have changed since then and now - horrors of horrors - Mountmellick Town Council even has two female members, Rosemary Whelan and Lisa Delaney.
Poor Paddy Bracken, the Council Chairman, incurred their disfavour. An innocent bachelor, he made what could be interpreted as a chauvinistic remark. Under discussion was the recently-developed riverside walk between Irishtown bridge and the Convent bridge. The walk should be wide enough to cater for “women with buggies,” Paddy stressed.
Whereupon Rosemary struck like lightning. “And men with buggies,” she snapped. Lisa nodded.
A short time earlier, Ollie Payne had exited the chamber to answer his phone. He came back in, mobbing the sweat from his brow. “Enda Kenny never ceases to amaze me,” he mused, implying that he’d just taken a call from his party leader and Taoiseach.
Chairman Bracken (to general amusement): “How do you stand it?”
Whatever about Enda Kenny, Enviroment Minister Phil Hogan certainly would not have been welcome. He is axing the Town Councils.
Cllrs Michael Gormley and Stephen Lynch accused Big Phil of failing to answer questions on the issue. Of, in effect, doing a disappearing act.
Bobby Delaney offered them another form of comfort. It was, he recalled, 14 years since Coillite had allocated to each family in the state a tree to mark the millennium. It would, he thought, be nice to visit those trees and check their growth. Hug a tree, in short.
Paddy Bracken offered a more immediate consolation - refeshments in a local hostelry.