Hip-hop politician finds new use for the mayoral chain
LIMERICK's deputy mayor Tom Shortt is keeping it in the family as he clowns around to promote the city.
He is the brother of comedian Pat Shortt, and likes a good comic stunt, especially when it comes to highlighting a worthy cause.
The Labour man was in hip-hop mode to launch an alternative theatre and music festival, Limerick Unfringed, which kicks off today.
To get the party started, he teamed up with hip-hop duo Famous Seamus and Seantastic, from Lords of Strut, who will be performing during the coming days.
Mr Shortt has been bringing his own brand of politics to Limerick City Hall since he was first elected last summer.
He said: "There's a time to be serious, but then there is also a time to have fun and to let your hair down. All fun is not dead in the world and this festival will bring that on to the streets and people can forget all about their troubles, at least for a while."
Mr Shortt, who is an art teacher, reckons that Unfringed is just what Limerick needs.
"We've been trying to re-shape the city," he said. "We've done a lot of work to pedestrianise streets and I think the final two ingredients needed to bring that to life are these Cork hip-hop lads, Lords of Strut."
Mr Shortt also admitted he always suspected the heavy mayoral chain was made for hip hop. "I knew that all I needed was a baseball cap and I'd have the whole look," he confided.
Run by the local Belltable Theatre, there is a packed line-up of plays and gigs with tickets costing no more than €10.
The festival takes place at various venues in the city and features comedy, street theatre, music and dance. It runs until Sunday and the organisers say there is something for everyone.