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Sgt Mattie.

The Late Late Show

MAURICE HICKEY WEEKLY

Pat is proud to support
Power 4 Good Ireland
26th March 2011

Percy puts his foot in it

Obama and the Queen are comin within a few days of one another; we'll hardly have time to wash the cups between the visits. While there's a lot of the talk about the historical nature of the occasions, the thing that's preoccupying most communities is; what can we get out of it?

There's no doubt but if you dig up a local connection to an American President your tourism problems are solved forever. You are guaranteed lines of Yankee visitors from now until kingdom come and the amount of cash to be made on everything from trinkets to toilet rolls is huge. I believe there's a fortune to be made from the quarest of things like egg cups full of earth from the ancestral birthplace, paintins of the ruined family cottage, photocopies of the baptismal records of the great, great, grandfather's first cousin once removed. For anyone involved in local development or tourism the possibilities offered by a presidential connection are mouth-waterin' in the extreme.

With that in mind, a local action group was set up here to explore ways in which we might tempt the President or the Queen to stop off in Killdicken when they're in Ireland. Of course the committee was made up of the usual dose; meself, Moll Gleeson, Percy Pipplemoth Davis, Tom Walshe, Superquinn and Lily Mac. The first item on the agenda was a row.

"I suppose," says I, "we have some chance of attractin' Obama seein' that he is goin' to visit Moneygall, a village that, for all practical purposes, is in Tipperary."

"It's in Offaly, you looderamawn," responded Moll Gleeson, "I hope Obama's geography is better than yours or he'll end up in Donegal."

"Listen," says Tom Walshe, "I'd say the prospect of gettin' Obama is very slim, Moneygall is just too close. How about goin' for the Queen? She has a big interest in thehorses and this is the best of horsey country."

"For God's sake, what are you talkin' about?" piped up Superquinn, "the few hungry nags on Crookdeedy are the nearest thing we have to a decent horse in this parish."

The meetin' went from bad to worse and was about to break up in disarray when Percy Pipplemoth Davis had a rare brainwave. He suggested that we paint a giant Union Jack and a giant American flag on the two big meadows belongin' to Pa Cantillon on the side of Crookdeedy.

"While it mightn't bring the Queen or Obama to visit Killdicken," says he, "it would certainly attract media attention from around the world."

In fairness to him it was a master suggestion and we agreed to go with it. I volunteered to approach Pa Cantillon about it; others were asked to look into the type and quantity of paint we'd need. While we were delighted with ourselves, it wasn't long before the wheels came flyin' off our wagon.

You see, we sometimes forget that Percy Pipplemoth Davis is a hoor and a half and can be completely relied on to snatch disaster out of the mouth of perfection. Before I had a chance to even ask Pa Cantillon about the use of his meadows for the giant flags Percy had gone to the papers and the radio and within hours all hell had broken loose.

It emerged that one of the Cantillon's meadows is what you might call a historically significant location; according to local historians the Tans shot two fellas in the field in question in 1921. I suppose, it wouldn't be the best of places to paint a Union Jack.

Poor auld Pa Cantillon rang me in a terrible state, he was gettin' threats of all kinds from people who had heard Percy boastin about his flag proposal on De Sticks FM. Republicans of varying shades of green were jumpin' out of their skins at the thought of a Union Jack bein' painted on to the sacred ground of Crookdeedy. There were threats to spray the place with everything from round-up to sulphuric acid. One woman phoned Pa Cantillon and said she'd hire a JCB to dig up every sod of earth in the field and replace it with stones so that "not as much as a pissabed would grow there again."

Pa was ready to go into exile and I had an awful job to calm him down. I finally went on De Sticks FM myself to say that the proposal was only one of many suggestions made at a meetin' called to explore how we in Killdicken might make the most of the visits by the queen and the President. When I was asked what plans we now have to mark the visits, I replied that we are considerin' plantin' a few trees to honour them.

What I really feel like doin' is plantin' Percy Pipplemoth Davis in a bottomless bog hole.