Friday 19 January 2018

Council foot €1k bill for controversial 'shitty city' poem

Eyre Square in Galway
Eyre Square in Galway
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

A poem which was commissioned as part of Galway’s Capital of Culture bid cost the local council €1,000.

The poem, entitled ‘Our Killer City’, lambasted the city and local councillors.

“Govern, govern my arse, they wouldn’t govern a sly fart on a runway,” one line in the poem read.

The ode was penned by local poet Rita Ann Higgins, and was commissioned with the view of showing Galway’s “edgier” side.

Some people were critical of the poem, arguing that it could have hampered Galway’s bid.

But there was method behind the madness, according to Communications Officer, Gary McMahon.

“The Galway bid for Capital of Culture engaged with local artists and one of the things we engaged with was not just people were giving a very rosy view of the city, but also the edgier side of Galway.

“Not everything is wonderful all the time and we wanted to get a reflection of that, so why not engage with someone who has been critical of Galway, and so, she was,” Mr McMahon told

Galway beat off competition from Limerick and the Three Sisters, which represented Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny, to be crowned Capital of Culture 2020.

Here are some excerpts from the 'colourful' poem:


Galway's bid to win Capital of Culture is all twenty twenty give the horse plenty.

We're in with a great chance, until they hear about the legionnaires' disease outbreak in the fire station, where our life savers need saving.

The birds are tweeting about the arrival of the jury this July.

The word is out they'll rule on the bid.

Best to keep them councillors out of sight, with the malarkey they go on with, in city hall.

Govern, govern my arse they wouldn't govern a sly fart on a runway.

We'll end up crowned the capital of fools.


My ogyny, your ogyny, misogyny.

We laugh about it at bus stops.

We say, aren't some of our elected representatives a laughing stock.

We'll never get Capital of Culture if they look through that window.

Some people live their lives so they can die on a trolley in Galway's A&E.

Just wait and wait and wait and you'll die waiting.

Eighteen million on a new block and not a new bed in sight or on site.

The swans in the canals all know, we underpay our nurses we underpay our teachers we overpay our consultants and we don't know why.

This is fair-play city, or unfair play city if you are a woman working for years in NUIG and hoping for a promotion.



This is pity city, shitty city.

Sewage in your nostrils city.

This is Galway city of expert panels.

City of slickers and slackers who name-call Travellers knackers.


If you want the odour of outrage ask the students at GMIT who have to re-sit exams.

Allegations of cheating.

Oh no not this again.

They are coming in July to rule on the bid.

We'll hide that bit of news about the GMIT and the gender discrimination in NUIG in the parlour that never gets used.

To that we'll throw the new block, the bedless block at University Hospital Galway.


This is Galway slicker and slacker.

Have your home burgled by your favourite nephew, while you are at his other aunt's funeral.

He didn't know it was her house and he didn't know taking her jewellery without her permission was stealing.


This is Galway the bidding city the forbidding city.

Where the woman in court apologised to her man for putting him through this.

The judge asked her, did he apologise to you when he was sticking that screwdriver in your forehead?

No but he wasn't feeling himself that day your honour.


To hell with local artists what do they bring the city?

nothing but scruffy dogs and ripped jeans, hippies with hobbies the lot of them.

As for the buskers, wanting to fit in with the odour of outrage.

Move them on, hide them in GMIT, or The Picture Palace.

Don't mention local artists at all.

Let it be like they don't exist.

Raise the rents is the best way to keep the ripped-jeans gang out, like it's always been.

Artists me arse.


This is Galway, the bidding city the forbidding city.

City of thieves or is it scribes or is it tribes?

The jury are coming this July, the word is out they'll rule on the bid, for Capital of Culture twenty twenty give the horse plenty.

We have a great little city here, a pity little city, a shitty little city.

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