Co-worker either really sound or totally false

Church to replace holy water with kombucha

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O'Malley denies regretting forgetting Arms Crisis actions

Funghi 'back from the brink'

RTE slams Angelus blast.... Pub conversation just like something out of Seinfeld... Guy still ashamed of failed e-mail chain-letter

An Teanga Marbh

Stickz-bitz: Regional Report

Quiz: Test your Bertie Bowl knowledge



These dusty, crumpled foot & mouth mats are a potent symbol of our national decline
I have been out and about in the country, dear readers. Felix is nothing if not perambulatory. And while the general malaise that everywhere assails the very fabric of our national fibre is all too plain too see, one sight keeps striking me square in the eyeballs, a sight that all-too-neatly sums up where and how we have gone wrong as a people and (forgive an old man his outdated notions!) a republic.

For as far as you travel this land, from Duncannon to New Ross, you cannot ignore the miserable, crumpled, dusty, once-proud-but-now-shitty foot & mouth disinfectant mats that stupidly clog our collective drive-ways and business entrances. Ineffectual and ugly, a musky and dirtied shadow of their moist and germ-lethal former selves, they squat, crinkled in heaps, forlornly greeting the keen columnist's eye with a symbolic message that says, "Here I am, at once silly and profound. Go tell the people how crap they are, using me as a metaphor".

O noble mat, how truly you speak! Gone are the heady days of late February, when a confident nation set out each morning to lay new mats between gateposts or under archways, and lovingly replenished with vigorous fluid the proud and sturdy sentinels that already guarded the homestead or place of commercial enterprise. How innocent we seemed then, how thrusting and full of hope!

But those days are gone now. The squalid descent of the country since those times is all too easy to see. And the hellish misery of life in Ireland now is made all the more unbearable by the presence of our neglected, faithful mats, unpreposssessing yet somehow condemnatory, reminding us in croaky, sand-coated voices of our limp and pathetic failures in everything we aspired to.

I hope you all rot in hell.

Next week: Felix looks forward to the summer festivals!



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