Saturday 16 December 2017

My Week: Mick Wallace* *As imagined by Eilis O'Hanlon

Mick Wallace
Mick Wallace

Eilis O'Hanlon

MONDAY: People often ask me: "Mick," - I insist on being called that, because I'm a man of the people, whether the people want me or not - "Mick," they say, "when Irish history comes to be written, do you think you'll be seen more as Wexford's answer to Gandhi or Che Guevera?". I answer: "Probably a bit of both." Then I generally wake up and realise that the only people saying this to me all live inside my own head.

Call it a hunch, but this week I really do have a feeling I might finally get the spotlight I deserve. Better make sure I look my best. I head to the nearest hedge and drag myself backwards through it in the usual way. Looking this gorgeous doesn't come easy.

TUESDAY: Off to the Dáil to ask the Arts Minister about the feasibility of developing schemes for people interested in working in the music industry. Or something like that. I just open my gob and the words gush out.

Typically, my contribution doesn't make it onto the evening news, another example of how the mainstream media victimises edgy radicals like me.

Am about to call up and complain about bias when the phone rings. It's the guards in Clontarf, asking me to pop in tomorrow. No doubt they want details of all that shiftiness in Nama, which was definitely going on, even if I never do produce any actual evidence.

WEDNESDAY: Questions to the Minister for Education today. I point out that money's never been cheaper and urge her to borrow as much of it as she can to construct more schools, because borrowing loadsamoney to build stuff worked out so well for me in my previous life as a property developer.

Later, I rock on by to the Garda station, ready to do my bit to clean up Irish politics, only to find myself being arrested and sent to Limerick Prison to start a 30-day sentence for non-payment of that €2,000 fine Clare Daly and I both got for trespassing at Shannon Airport. Looks like I'll be spending Christmas behind bars. Won't be able to pick up a prezzie for Clare now, and she was so looking forward to that signed copy of the collected speeches of Comrade Corbyn. On the plus side, I'll definitely make the Six One News tonight.

On the way out west, I see at first hand the devastation caused by Storm Desmond and am appalled, mainly because I can't blame the Yanks. I offer to get out and part the waters like Moses.

The driver says not to bother, Bono's already on his way.

At the prison gate, pretty in pink, reporters ask me how I'm feeling. I point out that I'm luckier than those poor Muslims being killed every day in the Middle East. Although, obviously, I'm referring to the ones being killed by American planes flying out of Shannon, rather than the ones who were already being slaughtered out there by fundamentalist nut jobs.

Waiting to be taken down to my cell, I prepare to join the illustrious ranks of Irish politicians who've been banged up for their beliefs. Men like, er, Ray Burke, Liam Lawlor and that bloke who was done for diddling his mobile phone receipts… on second thoughts, forget it - that's not such a great list to be on.

I'm relieved Clare got me that box-set of Porridge for my birthday last month, or I wouldn't know what to expect. Who was the nice one again? Was it Mr Barrowclough or Mr MacKay?

Less than two hours later, there's a knock on the door and they tell me I'm being released. John Waters did longer than this for parking his car on a double yellow line. "But I've only just started Chapter One of my Prison Diary," I protest. "I'm hoping Johnny Depp will play me on the big screen."

"Worzel Gummidge, more like," quips a screw. That's what's wrong with this country. No respect for visionaries.

Never one to let an opportunity pass, I get on the blower to Drivetime and pledge my willingness to do it all again in the name of world peace and free love, man. I only hope the Nobel Committee's tuning in.

Back in Dublin, I head over to Clare's gaff to see if she fancies celebrating my freedom with some pasta and a nice bottle of vino, only to discover they've carted her off to clinker too. No need to worry, she told me she's done time before over bin charges. Back then I was still living the high life, so I missed that bit of the class struggle. She's released within the hour. Bet she's as mortified as I am. We'll never be able to look Margareta D'Arcy in the eye. She did weeks inside for trespassing at Shannon and she's even older than my haircut.

THURSDAY: Joan Burton's on radio, saying those fines should have been deducted from our wages. You stay out of this, Tánaiste. Going to jail for less than the running time of the new Star Wars fillum means I now won't have to pay the fine at all, which is good - as I'm saving up to cover that old VAT bill. Honest.

Come evening, I attend an anti-war rally in Dublin, where I'm welcomed as a hero. "This isn't all about me," I insist. "You mean," asks the crowd, "we should really be concentrating on the innocent victims of foreign imperialist aggression?"

"No," I say, "I mean it's about Clare too. Where is she, by the way?"

"Over there," comes the answer. The sight of her makes me swell up with pride. Once she always found the right words for each situation. Now she talks almost as much twaddle as I do. More selfies? Soundbites? Don't mind if I do.

FRIDAY: I wait eagerly for a call from Tubs to appear on tonight's Late Late. By tea time, I realise I've been blacklisted once more by the lickspittle corporate media. Clare, grab that ladder, we're going back to Shannon.

*As imagined by Eilis O'Hanlon

Sunday Independent

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