herald

Monday 11 December 2017

Boris is right ...why should he pay for an Irish hoolie?

Boris Johnson, the Lord Mayor of London, has been called many things in his life -- a prat, an ass, and much worse.

Now he is being accused of being racist -- against the Irish. He has hit out at St Patrick's Day celebrations in London, complaining that the annual Lord Mayor's Ball for the London Irish was a waste of money, linking the event to Sinn Fein and calling it "lefty crap".

I have been to this dinner, and it has nothing to do with Sinn Fein, and there is certainly no lefty crap going on. But it was an almighty p*** up.

I was there when Ken Livingstone was mayor, and it was a super evening in the Dorchester Hotel.

The room was full of Irish citizens of London, like Adrian Dunbar, Richard Corrigan, and a few Irish politicians over for the ride.

There was wine flowing, fabulous food on offer and many a sceal being told as the room got louder and louder as the evening wore on.

As we all know, the Irish away from home are more Irish than those in Ireland, and by the time midnight came, we all thought we were sean nos dancers, poets and story tellers.

It was a wild night, but not one the London Lord Mayor's office should be paying for.

But I wonder how many cities around the world also think that this crazy day that falls on March 17 is a big waste of money? How much does it cost to dye a river green? What is the cost of cutting off streets for marching bands? And how many cities would like to say to our politicians: "Yer all right, stay where you are this year."

I have been in different cities around the world on St Patrick's Day. But my favourite one was Venice, when myself and my partner stumbled across a tiny Irish bar.

We went in, there was Irish music playing quietly in the background and there were perhaps 5 or 6 people in the bar. We ordered our drinks, said slainte to the others, and sipped a couple of pints. Heavenly.

Boris is right. There is no need for crazy celebrations on St Patrick's Day. You don't have to have bells and whistles or even a garishly green float to have pride.

You don't even need alcohol. Well . . . maybe that's pushing it. Cupla pints and a slainte to your neighbour -- sure that's yer only man.

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