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Monday 5 December 2016

Michael O'Doherty: Twitterati who got worked up about burgers might try slice of humble pie

Pat McDonagh
Fianna Fail’s Micheal Martin

According to an Irish website, an unprecedented sense of excitement descended on Dublin last week.

Or, as lovindublin.com so pithily put it: “In-N-Out Burger came to Dublin, and pretty much everybody lost their s**t about it.”

It would be easy to dismiss the frenzy as another example of damn hipster faddishness, and it’s hard to dispute such a notion when you read Tweets saying: “Wait, what, there’s an in-n-out burger in Dublin just for one day!??? Is this true?? On. My. Way.”

Websites, blogs and twitter accounts gave minute-by-minute updates about queuing, buying and tasting said burgers, with another website, dailyedge.com, imploring its disciples thus: “They’re only serving until 3pm. GO GO GO.”

Obsession

But even allowing for the usual degree of hyperbole with which such people describe their latest obsession, there is something deeply disturbing about the hysteria that overcame Dublin’s self-proclaimed influencers for what is just another fast-food restaurant.

Because at that exact time, half-a-mile away on Bow Lane in Smithfield, another long queue for food was forming. It wasn’t a once-off, however, as this queue – even longer than that outside In and Out Burger – forms twice a day, seven days a week. Yet strangely, Dublin’s bloggers, social media fanatics and foodies don’t consider it worthy of mention.

The problem is, the queue outside the Capuchin Day Centre doesn’t feature a collection of Dublin’s coolest or most influential people. Instead, it’s composed of the homeless and the poor.

Since 1969, the Capuchin religious order has been handing out free breakfasts and lunches to anyone who turns up for them, with about 750 people a day being given either a hot meal or a take-away plastic bag of basic food items.

In order to receive this, they don’t have to prove their lack of means – Br Kevin Crowley stresses that he doesn’t like to judge people, and the very fact that they have to swallow their pride to queue in full public view simply to be fed is ample enough proof that these people are needy.

The social media hysteria that greeted the queue outside In and Out Burger, when placed in contrast with the other queue for basic sustenance that hundreds of other Dubliners endure, is as nauseating as it is disturbing.

Appalling

Many of those who took to Twitter to breathlessly extol the virtues of a hamburger were probably, last Christmas, piously declaring how appalling Dublin’s homelessness crisis was.

Unfortunately, just like so many fads beloved of Ireland’s Twitterati, it has come and gone, and the message is there for all to see, in 140 characters or less. Sorry guys, but homelessness is just, like, soooo #yesterdaysnews.

Because to a generation of cretins, all of whom can vote at the next election, do you know what’s so hot right now?

A new burger joint.

 

Fast-food furore distracts from fact that obesity stretches belts and resources

Everyone’s friendly neighbourhood Galway- based fast-food chain, Supermacs, is continuing its battle against evil, global fast-food chain McDonald’s, with Pat McDonagh having some choice words to say this week about his nemesis.

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Pat McDonagh

While one has sympathy for Supermacs in their battle against McDonalds, who have launched various lawsuits for trademark violation in an attempt to stop the Irish chain from expanding in the EU and Australia, one might suggest that McDonagh has put his foot in it in the manner in which he has attacked the US giant’s tax avoidance schemes.

The founder of Supermacs, you see, hit out at the “favourable” tax rates that McDonald’s enjoys worldwide, which are now the subject of a European Parliament investigation into how the fast-food giant allegedly avoided paying €3.7bn in EU taxes during the period 2009-2013.

He suggested that had McDonald’s paid considerably more tax than the €16m it reportedly handed over, some public service cutbacks could have been reduced.

Taking umbrage with McDonald’s history of tax avoidance, he specifically pointed to the “severe cutbacks made in essential services such as health care”.

That’s all very well, until one considers that one of the reasons the HSE needs to be funded to the tune of several billion euro each year – Ireland’s obesity epidemic.

Fortunes of taxpayers’ money are spent on hospital space and prescription drugs to fight the nation’s gargantuan waistlines and clogged-up arteries, so before McDonagh sheds a tear for our under-funded health service, perhaps he might like to step back and ask himself what is one of the prime contributing factors to this epidemic?

The junk food that companies such as his own are peddling.

 

Pair just won't take no for an answer

 

Ten years ago, siblings Donna and Joseph McCaul won You’re A Star, the RTE show designed to pick a winner for Eurovision and, in theory, launch said winner on the road to stardom. Sadly, but inevitably, Donna and Joe sank without trace.

That didn’t stop them chasing their dream, however. In 2012, Donna attempted to represent Ireland in the Eurovision again, but came third, while Joe entered the X Factor, and failed to get anywhere.

Three years later, Donna has entered the US version of The Voice, while Joe is giving the X Factor another shot.

God may love a trier, but I’m not sure how he feels about people who simply won’t take no for an answer.

 

Fianna Fail photo is wrong image

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Fianna Fail’s Micheal Martin

Five years after the infamous Fianna Fail autumn ‘think-tank’ in Galway, during which then Taoiseach Brian Cowen gave what sounded like a tired and emotional early morning radio interview that alerted us to the utter ineptitude of his then Fianna Fail government, we have heard much about how things have changed in the party.

Which brings us nicely to this year’s event, because last week, Micheal Martin (inset) posed with delegates, with one picture saying a thousand words. Out of 24 people in the photo, 23 were men.

Of those men, at least 18 were, to put it politely, middle-aged. Of those, at least eight were visibly overweight.

This, apparently, is the bright new dawn for Fianna Fail.

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