Council Affairs: I love the smell of elections in the morning

Limerick County Council Offices in Dooradoyle.

THERE you have it, it’s all over bar the shouting, and there will be plenty of that in the months ahead, let me tell you.

A new year is upon us, and a big one at that, in political terms at least. 2024 promises to be a year like none other. Some predict that this will be the year where the affairs of local government get watered down even further than they did after the amalgamation of Limerick City Council and Limerick County Council back in 2014.

With the election of a Directly Elected Mayor (DEM) taking place alongside the locals on June 7, our newly-elected local councillors will bow and curtsy to their new overlord – Ireland’s first ever supreme overseer of all things Council-related.

Well, not really. The DEM will do the same as the first citizen always did, but just get better paid for putting their names on mortifying effigies, dazzling kindergarteners with their ostentatious bling, and take orders from Active Travel and the fat cats in Dublin.

A cynic, they say, is never disappointed, and maybe I am being too harsh, but I have seen little that fills me with confidence that a DEM will not leave Limerick with more egg on its already perplexed face.

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It will certainly make for tantalising capers into the future.

The local elections too look like they could be a real colourful affair, and if recent months are anything to go by, there will be plenty of dustups, mudslinging, and Machiavellian craftiness for those on the sidelines to savour.

The knives have come out a few times already in the past few months, as councillors lost their nerve and sense of reason with it, as the latest polls and political analysts tipped them right out over the edge.

The months ahead will get ugly, they will feel downright surreal at times, but as a wise man almost said, I love the smell of local elections in the morning.

That intoxicating scent of blood in the air as election posters start to disappear and evidence of transgressions, hoped long forgotten, starts to reemerge and mysteriously land on the news desk here at the Limerick Post.

There’s nothing like it. There’s eating and drinking in it, and it would put hair on your chest, or so one good lady assures me.

The craturs with nothing but notions to offer anyone will be out pointing at lampposts and potholes now in the coming weeks like great fellas altogether in their race to get a comfy chair in Merchant’s Quay.

Before long it will be like the stuff of brutal combat from days of yore in Rome’s Colosseum. In fact, I think most of our colourful local election hopefuls get up in the mornings, look themselves in the mirror and say: “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius. Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”

You really couldn’t be up to them. Cloud cuckoo land some of them are living in.

Still, they brighten up our days with their pesky devilment, and are sure to give plenty of bang for their buck in 2024.

Happy new year indeed!