| 4.6°C Dublin

Ian O'Doherty: Yup, that's a good use of our money

Let's face it, we all know that when times are tough we have to tighten our belts.

You know how it goes -- you socialise a little bit less; you keep a closer eye on the bills than you normally would and you generally avoid unnecessary and trivial expenses.

Unless you work in FáS, of course, that is.

The scandal-ridden organisation, which has been in the spotlight for the last 18 months after revelations of their rather liberal approach to spending taxpayers' money, is back in the wars again.

And this time it's because reports have emerged that they are spending nearly 80 grand on a course -- that teaches people from the Roma community about Irish Travellers.

Yup, at a time when half of us can't afford to pay our mortgages, the brains trust that is FáS is working alongside Pavee Point to: "Teach Roma about the Travellers (as well as) a module on Roma culture and heritage."

Now, you might be forgiven for thinking that the Roma know enough about their own culture without having some taxpayer-funded jobsworth patronise them.

Equally, you might be forgiven for wondering why on earth the Roma should be paid to learn about Travellers.

Also, you might be forgiven for wondering if the money would be better spent buying one-way tickets back to Romania and Bulgaria for those Roma who have never worked here and are claiming social welfare.

OK -- all complaints for the above sentiment can be sent to the Press Council.

After all, I haven't heard from them all week.

What's the Latin for irony?

Hugo Chavez is one of the maddest men in world politics and, if you don't actually live in Venezuela, he's good for a bit of light comic relief.

Hugo was in Argentina last week to receive the Rodolfo Walsh Prize for "His unquestionable and authentic commitment to giving people without a voice access to the airwaves and newspapers."

Well, you have to admire anyone who strives to give the dispossessed a voice and access to the media.

Except Chavez ain't one of them.

And the reason?

Well, so far, he has shut down the main TV and radio stations that had been critical of him while he is also an enthusiastic proponent of censoring Facebook and Twitter in Venezuela to "stop them spreading disrespectful sentiments about public figures."

Um, whoever could you mean, Hugo?

Honestly, giving Chavez an award for journalism is like giving Fred West an award for services to children.

Truly, the web is evil

If The Usual Suspects is anything to go by, the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing us he didn't he exist.

But the Catholic Church aren't as gullible as the rest of us -- oh no.

In fact, they have just had a conference in the Vatican to discuss the rise of Satanism in our society.

And what is contributing to this rise? Well, that would be d'interweb, of course.

Yup, apart from being an excellent purveyor of pornography, it also affords people easy and quick access to Satanic rituals.

Indeed, one of the cardinals involved says: "In just a few minutes you can contact Satanist groups and research occultism. This conference is not about how to become an exorcist, it's to share information about exorcism."

And how do you know someone is possessed and needs an exorcism?

Well, according to the cardinal, the afflicted people: "who are possessed by Satan vomit shards of glass and pieces of iron, scream, dribble and slobber and have to be physically restrained."

Screaming? Dribbling? Slobbering? Physical restraints?

Frankly, mate, that sounds like an average Irish Indo editorial meeting.

But without the vomiting bits of glass, because that would be mad, obviously.

Here we go again

You have to love animal rights group PETA. Actually, scratch that previous sentiment -- we should all despise them with every vicious little bone in our bodies.

Publicity-seeking stunts rather than actual good work have always been their forte and they tend to rely on celebrities, most of whom are too stupid and ignorant to even realise that the organisation has been classed as a "potential terrorist threat" by the USDA's office.

And their latest stunt is a doozy. Cashing in on National Infertility Awareness Week, PETA have offered to pay for a vasectomy for the first man to prove that he has had his cat or dog neutered.

So, to highlight infertility, they want to give some bloke the snip?

I've never bought into the old cliché that Yanks don't do irony, but that certainly blows a hole in my argument.

Aha! I knew it!

Honestly, you women never give us any credit. While you lot have a whole array of hideous female conditions to excuse your bad behaviour, us blokes don't have such freedom -- until now.

A new study has come out which says that, rather than it being unique to women, men also suffer the menopause -- although obviously they call it the 'manopause'.

So, the next time you feel hot flushes, are sweaty and twitchy and aggressive and moany you can say you're just suffering the first effects of the manopause.

And it is definitely not just a hangover, oh no.

Irish Independent