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Ian O'Doherty: Give a little -- it'll help a lot

Really, this recession has become quite tiresome.

I've had to let several staff go as a result of the downturn and have now been reduced to stealing other people's jokes myself, as opposed to having Manny, my Latino man servant, finding them for me.

Yup, things have really got that bad.

But it would appear that I am not the only victim of the current economic crisis.

No, there are others out there who are truly suffering -- ladies and gentlemen, I give you Sean Dunne and Gayle Killilea (pictured).

Now, there are some people out there, cynics and moral degenerates mostly, who would argue that Dunne and Killilea represented absolutely everything that went wrong with this country during the boom years; that they represented the unbridled arrogance and thoroughly common and vulgar avarice that made us loathed throughout Europe.

But I'm not one of them.

Oh no, I think they're a lovely couple but I was moved to tears by a profile of Killilea in this paper last Saturday.

And the reason?

Well, since those nasty men in NAMA took some of their properties, they can no longer stay in their old house as it is now rented out to the South Africa embassy.

No, they have to stay in more modest surroundings -- the family suite in the Berkeley Court Hotel.

My God! The squalor!

Imagine, being reduced to staying in ... a mere luxury hotel suite.

And you thought you had it bad?

Oh for goodness sake. . .

The ISPCC does sterling work, I am sure we can all at least agree on that.

But it would appear that the boffins in the Advertising Standards Association take a different view.

The kids' charity had been running a TV ad campaign called I Can't Wait Until I Grow Up.

You may have seen the ad, which is hard-hitting and features a young boy being slapped by a man we assume to be his father.

It doesn't make for easy viewing but then these kinds of campaigns are produced to shock people.

But the ASAI have banned the ad.

Was it because the violence shown was too visceral? Were they worried about the kid who acted in the ad?

No -- they banned it on the grounds that: "The decision made was in accordance with the provisions of the Code in relation to gender equality. In making the decision the Committee noted that this was the second advertisement in six months where the apparent perpetrator of the abuse of children was a male."

Speaking as a male (well, I was the last time I looked, anyway) can I just thank the ASAI for their concern for the feelings of me and all my other fellow males?

I'm sure men up and down the country were aggrieved, affronted and offended at the idea that a man might be abusive towards a kid ...

You cheat -- and you know you do

All psychics are frauds and liars and cheats.

Okay, I'll back it up a bit here -- the ones who aren't frauds and liars and cheats must be mentally ill.

Either way, they prey on the weak and the vulnerable and anyone who has ever been to a live psychic show will soon see some pretty obvious cold reading tactics. In fact, it can be a horrible, exploitative experience.

But it seems that self-styled 'Britain's Best Loved Psychic', Sally Morgan, has hit a bit of a speed bump.

She was criticised after her show in the Grand Canal Theatre a few weeks back when an audience member claimed to have heard someone prompting her from behind the stage.

Morgan did her first gig since the scandal over the weekend where she stressed her innocence and boasted of her clairvoyant qualifications.

So, I have just two comments -- if she is genuinely psychic, why doesn't she take the Randi Test, which offers a million bucks to anyone who can demonstrate psychic ability under scientific conditions?

Secondly, I say to Sally Morgan -- you're a cheat and a fraud and if you have a problem with that, then sue me.

I know a certain Derren Brown who will make a good witness on my behalf ...

Now that's what you call discipline

Not being a child-friendly type of person, I have come to a tacit agreement with the little buggers -- if they leave me alone, then I won't pinch them when their parents aren't looking.

It seems a fair trade, although the other day I was forced to abandon my traditional Saturday couple of pints with the papers in my local because of the number of little people running around and, I don't know, laughing and having fun and stuff. It was really quite exceptionally annoying.

So my day was made yesterday when I saw that a council in England has threatened a couple with a fine of £7,000 -- if they don't stop their child being noisy.

Simon and Pippa Lansdell have been told by Hull council that their four-year-old, Alfie, was causing noise pollution in his back garden and neighbours had complained.

In fact, they even went so far as to threaten to have him "monitored with digital equipment" to check his noise levels.

Now, some people have said this was a ridiculous, Orwellian intrusion into the right of a kid to play in his own back yard.

I say that's exactly what it is -- but if we encourage children to play and be active and be happy and express themselves, then where would we be?

Bloody anarchy, mate -- that's where we'd be.

Well, he has a good chance

The local population in a village in Bulgaria have created international attention after they announced that they were nominating a donkey to run as the town mayor, in protest at the way regular politicians behaved.

In fairness, it's hardly an original idea.

After all, ask any Dublin motorist who has to put up with the stupid 30kph speed limits in the city centre and they would happily agree that Andrew Montague, the Dublin mayor who brought in the rule, is a complete ass.

Irish Independent