Didn’t I tell you? I mean, how could Peggy Lysaght and Lourda Kennefick ever be content to be part of a peaceful protest? There was no way the two of them could behave like civilised human beings and enjoy the day out and the carnival-like atmosphere above in Merrion Square, Oh no, didn’t I tell you that before they took off for Dublin on the free travel pass? But of course, you know all that by now – captured for all to see by the RTE cameras. There were the pair of them and the rest of the Active Age Group, as bould as brass at the barricades pushing and jostling trying to get into Kildare street. It was like a scene from Les Miserables.
Ah, of course, you saw her, shure, you couldn’t miss her in a month of Sundays. Remember the fella at the front shouting obscenities at the guards, your man in the red hoodie- well, she was the elderly woman right behind him, slightly to the left. Yes, that’s right, the one waving the placard with the words Póg mo Thóin written in big bold print on it. Not only that but she was wearing what appeared to be a dead Siamese cat on her head. What? No, no, of course, she hadn’t a cat on her head, for feck’s sake, have you ever heard of anyone wearing a dead animal on their head? Have a bit of sense for yourself.
It was a cap she was wearing, a cap, a thick woolly thing that she picked up for half nothing down at the Vincent de Paul shop in the village. From the state of it, I think Vincent de Paul should have been paying her to take it off their hands. The same cap now could be home to a family of birds without your noticing, the thing is that bushy.
But to see herself and that rabble rouser Lourda Kennefick shouting and jostling at the guards manning the barricades would make you itch to give the two of ‘em a right belt across the kisser, so it would. Did they mind that they were bringing the entire village of Sugar Hill into disrepute? Not them. Neither of them gave one toss for the show they were making of us, or themselves either if it comes to it. Peggy, of course, had herself convinced it was 1916 all over again and she was pushing back the evils of imperialism along with Countess Markievicz and the Citizen Army. ‘Shoneens and gobshites’ that’s what she calls all politicians although she has a bit of a grá for Joe Higgins. She loves his accent and the way he’s able to lambast the Taoiseach in the Dáil. According to her, politicians have only one agenda, to ‘grind the little people into the ground with their bleddy taxes’. James Connolly’ she says ‘is only spinning in his grave at their antics’
Well, the two revolutionaries and the rest of the group returned home late Wednesday night laden down with shopping bags from Arnotts – these now are the very people who can’t pay the water charges. When I pointed this out to Peggy, she didn’t even have the grace to blush. ‘Tisn’t every day you get to Dublin, she said so she decided to make the most of it while she was there. Anyway, she says she’s paying taxes all her life and has ever and always been law-abiding and patriotic. Isn’t she after paying that bleddy property tax, she asks me rhetorically. That bleddy tax, according to her, that was large enough to include the little amount of water that she uses, a poor widda woman like her. Honestly! She can see a day coming, not far off either, she says darkly when the plain people of Ireland won’t be able to wash themselves at all because they’ll be paying through the nose for the water they’ll be using. ‘I wouldn’t believe daylight from that Enda Kenny,’ says she ‘before we know it, we’ll be paying hundreds every year for the little dropeen of water that we can’t do without and ‘twill be too late to protest then, so it will’
It’s worse than useless to argue with her when she gets on her high horse about something and she’s riding a very high horse now with the water charges. She never even noticed me leaving because she was too busy admiring herself in a lovely coloured skirt and matching blouse that she got in Arnotts. Thank God, I was spared coming face to face with that Lourda. The two of them spouting their brand of socialism would definitely have me reaching for the bottle.