Friday 19 January 2018

Dictator's palace

•I suppose it is inevitable that advisers close to presidential candidates will come up with a few ideas that are cringe-worthy, or even downright daft, but the worst of these usually don't survive long in the light of day. It's about time, therefore, that somebody took the fly-swatter to one such proposal that is still flapping around, irritating anybody with even a rudimentary knowledge of recent history.

I refer, of course, to the promise coming from one camp to rename Aras an Uachtarain as 'Teach na nDaoine' or 'the house of the people'. Sound a bit familiar? Is this a fresh, original suggestion, or could it have been borrowed from somewhere else?

Following a 'dictator to dictator' visit to North Korea in 1971, Romania's Nicolae Ceausescu was so impressed with Kim Il Sung's massive palace that he decided to commission a similar project in Bucharest, to be ironically titled 'Casa Poporului' or 'the house of the people'. It has taken 30 years, but thanks to Mary Davis, it looks like we're getting our own dictator's palace; it might prove useful should the IMF decide to take up permanent residence!

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