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Michael O'Doherty: Sign me up for the McSavage city tour

An organisation called City of a Thousand Welcomes has come up with a plan to make visiting Dublin more enjoyable for tourists.

It will team them up with locals who will share their knowledge of the city, in return for nothing more than bagging themselves a free drink.

Ordinary civilians are being asked to sign up, with volunteers hosting informal chats with groups of tourists in various city centre locations, before giving them a brief guided tour of the city.

Inevitably, there is also a celebrity angle, as some well-known Dubliners have offered their services. Rosanna Davison will be able to show them to the best of Dublin nightlife.

David McWilliams will be able to tell a whole new batch of people how he alone correctly predicted the collapse of the Irish economy, every year since 2004. Bill Cullen will be able to show the last few remaining people on earth who haven't heard his inspiring rags to riches story around the Dublin markets where, as a young chizzler, he sold penny apples at 5am.

Best of all, David McSavage is on board. The sweary comedian was in the news recently for extolling the virtues of cannabis. Calling for it to be legalised, McSavage described his own relationship with the drug.

"I f***ing loved grass," he articulated. "Listening to music when stoned is fantastic."

His particular tour of Dublin should be a high point of the entire venture.

Hand me the painkillers, now even Dempsey's on the old 'drugs hell' spiel

Is it just me, or are Irish DJs addicted to talking about drugs? Following on from the news of Gerry Ryan's habit, Mark Cagney's previous battle with drugs was unearthed again, while Garreth O'Callaghan banged on about the subject for weeks on end -- how he'd suspected it all along, how other prominent RTE stars were taking drugs, and how his life was in danger due to his crusade.


Now it's Ian Dempsey's turn. But faced with the problem of what trauma to admit overcoming, the best that the clean-living DJ could do was confess to a fondness for Solpadeine. That's right, the painkiller that you take to fix a nasty hangover.

But in the hands of Dempsey, it was enlarged into a decade-long drug hell, which is sensationalised with the co-operation of portly journalist Jason O'Toole.

"Solpadeine contains codeine -- known for its euphoric sensation -- which is derived from the opium poppy plant," wrote the world's worst journalist, best known for cashing in on another drugs-related story -- the death of Katy French.


Dempsey confessed that he's got diabetes, which requires him to take insulin, and that he was 'addicted' to Solpadeine, taking the painkiller five times a day. Voicing his opinion that its sale shouldn't be restricted, Ian bizarrely draws a comparison with Coca-Cola, asking why it isn't frowned upon.

"Coca-Cola is also addictive," he claims, showing up his level of expertise on medical conditions -- i.e. bugger all.

Most bizarrely, Dempsey says that he wants Gerry to be 'left in peace'. It's an admirable sentiment, but perhaps if Ian wasn't so keen to talk at such length about his own 'drugs hell', then maybe people wouldn't be tempted to drag up the Gerry Ryan story as a reference point?

Dempsey can't even resist the temptation to follow Garreth O'Callaghan's lead and talk about how he's felt personally threatened, revealing that he called in the gardai to deal with one particular listener who was sending him inappropriate letters.


"You don't know what could happen," Dempsey warned. "And when you walk out of the building, who could be there?"

With any luck, Ian, it might be a journalist. Which would give you another chance to hype your life story up out of all proportion...