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Ian O'Doherty: My solution to the Terenure electoral boundary war. . .

So what's the story that everyone's talking about? The attack on the Iranian nuclear scientist that definitely, undeniably, categorically was not carried out by Israel?

The fact that Ron Paul came second in New Hampshire earlier this week?

The mounting job losses in Ireland and the emotional, personal and economic devastation that this is wreaking on people?

Nope -- it's about the people of Terenure and how some of them don't want to be in the same constituencies as those knackers in places like Crumlin and Drimnagh.

I must admit to being rather torn on this issue as I am originally from Crumlin, served my primary school years in Drimnagh Castle and now I live in Terenure.

Well, I think I live in Terenure, anyway.

And the reason for the confusion?

Well, I am pretty much equidistant from Terenure village and Harold's Cross bridge -- both are a few minutes' walk -- but I am reliably, and quite sternly informed by several of my neighbours that we are, indeed, firmly ensconced in Terenure and seeing as that is our official postal address anyway, then that's good enough for me.

Not that I care one way one or the other, to be honest.

So I have been following what, at first glance, seems to be the most ludicrous controversy of the year with a degree of attention I wouldn't usually afford something like this.

For starters, I adore where we live.

It's nice and quiet, there is plenty of green space to walk the dogs, the neighbours, by and large, are friendly and polite and Terenure village contains several fine pubs, a couple of great bakeries (the Challah bread in The Corner Bakery is particularly delicious) and it is generally a lovely, laid back place.

So why are the people of the Association of Residents of Terenure (ART) so apparently anti-working class? And is there really such a thing as class anymore?

Well, according to the good burghers of ART, there most definitely is.

In fact, they specified this point in their submission to the electoral boundaries commission that: "The current constituency boundary has left us at a great disadvantage because the make-up of the public representatives who have been elected to our constituency do not, in general, seem to feel they represent the 'middle class' suburb of Terenure."

They then go on to refer to "cultural affinity" Terenure has with its neighbours in Dublin South East, places like Ranelagh and Donnybrook as opposed to the gurriers, skobies and pyjama wearers we're currently forced to vote alongside.

As PR disasters go, the residents association certainly scored a big one.

And, predictably, they have been attacked from all sides as being the kind of stuffy, stuck-up poseurs who make Hyacinth Bucket look like Che Guevara.

There is just one small problem here, however.

The association is right.

I'm not talking about the perception that they think they're socially superior to the people in Dublin 12, as opposed to Dublin 6, but you only have to look at the TDs in both constituencies to see a very real difference in the political preferences.

Dublin South East has solidly middle class people such as Ruairi Quinn, Lucinda Creighton and Eoghan Murphy, while Dublin South Central has the likes of Aengus O'Snodaigh, Eric Byrne and Joan Collins.

How many people in the environs of Terenure actually voted for either Sinn Fein (O'Snodaigh) or the thoroughly loony Lefties? I'm going to hazard a guess that there weren't many.

And given the fact that the likes of O'Snodaigh and Collins virtually waged their entire election campaign talking about protecting the rights of the working class and having sporadic pops at anyone who earns over 35 grand a year as being "rich", then you can actually see why some of the locals in Terenure don't feel they're going to get the same level of representation.

After all, the simple fact is that on purely socio-economic terms, Terenure is a more affluent place than, say, Crumlin.

That's not a judgement on residents in either area -- it's just the way things are.

And, given that the middle classes generally tend to be more conservative while the working classes tend to be more left wing and, in the case of People Before Profit, quite mad, there's no doubt that it would make sense for the switch from South Central to South East.

But the way ART have gone about it probably means this won't now happen.

After all, when you first read the comments, didn't you think: what a bunch of priggish, snobbish idiots who live in Terenure?

I certainly did -- and I bloody live there, so I can only imagine what the residents in less affluent areas of our constituency thought about the remarks.

After all, it sounded as if the solidly middle class Terenure natives drank fine wines, excellent fresh coffee and ate Ciabatta and didn't like the idea of sharing electoral space with the kind of peasant who exists on a diet of cheap Royal Dutch lager, Lyon's tea and only ate batter burgers from the local chipper.

Actually, come to think of it and knowing people from both areas, that's not as far off the mark as it might seem.

But as ever, I have the perfect solution.

And it's this -- the various residents associations in Crumlin, Drimnagh, Dolphin's Barn et al should all club together and release a statement condemning the arrogant poshos in Terenure and tell them to bugger off back to their mates in Ranelagh and Dartry where they bleedin' well belong.

There -- problem solved, innit?

Irish Independent