Publicans to upgrade anti-traveller early warning system

Who foots the bill when they wreck the gaff? Me. Well, you if you drink here. Original Foto: Atom Films

Local drinkers can look forward to supping their pints in peace this summer after the Drogheda branch of the Vintner’s Federation of Ireland (VFI) voted unanimously to upgrade the town’s ailing anti-traveller early warning system. The move comes after a damning report into the security breach of Wednesday 22 April last, when outriders from a traveller wedding in Navan were spotted in several pubs on the outskirts of the town.

System Failure

The current defence system operates on a dialup system, lagging far behind comparable systems employed by similar sized towns throughout the country. And with traveller technology now operating from a 4G framework, the need for a radical upgrade is evident. Though Drogheda has been relatively unaffected by traveller invasion in recent times, years of austerity has led to cuts in the town defence budget. Dibs Conaghy, Chief Defence Analyst at Ward Off, Ireland’s premier traveller solutions company addressed the VFI AGM.

“Just because it hasn’t happened in a while doesn’t mean the threat has gone. Think of it like SETI. The less funding they receive, the less likely they are to intercept an alien communication. Similarly with NASA’s Asteroid Protection Program, a lack of funding could have grave consequences for us all. Drogheda needs to invest in technology that is more advanced than that used by travellers.

The upgrade is expected to cost a cool €90,000, or in publican lingo ‘a middling Tuesday night.

‘Oh! But it’s so expensive Dibs!’ I hear your minds’ scream. There’s no getting away from that. But you get what you pay for and no one wants a repeat of what happened in April. But hey, our payment plan includes a list of strategies to recoup the outlay, like adding a cover charge even if there is no live music and lobbing an extra €2 on pints of hoppy craft pish. This is a drinking town and no drinker can relax if there’s travellers about. You’ll not see a cat relax and him sensing a dog. Remember John D’s in Balbriggan? Do the maths. Do your duty.”

Upgrade works are expected to take three weeks.

Council Funding

Branch secretary Peter Matthesis spent most of last week lobbying Drogheda Borough Council for funding. Traditionally, the Borough Council has been to the forefront of the town’s anti-traveller defence plan but has been slow to grasp the new technology nettle, preferring the traditional methods of anti-traveller rocks, vigilantism and traveller tagging. The Borough Council and the VFI have been at loggerheads on how to best deal with the problem since the early 2000s when even the age old fail-safes of leaving  radiators and puppies as offerings at agreed spots on the outskirts of town began to fail.

However, publicans may have found an unlikely technology convert in Cllr. Tully, who badly sliced a tee off after reports of traveller sightings in the green zone of Baltray played havoc with his swing. It was a road to Damascus moment.

“The boulders have served us well as a community since I’ve held office. But after today…after that horrible slice into the rough on the 14th…caused I may add by a nagging feeling that I’d left my power tools unlocked in the garden shed which we know attracts them, can’t they smell an unlocked shed from five kilometres?

“Sure, the crocodile infested moat around it should be enough if they get through the unmarked minefield and past the Rottweilers with their laser collars but you can never be sure…Perhaps it is time to face reality and embrace the latest technological advancements. Our current system is not fit for purpose.”

Witness reports

The Faa Side spoke to drinkers and bar staff who were out on the town on Wednesday 22nd April, a school night.

“We were down for a few quiet ones to keep an eye on the football. When all of a sudden a group of nackers wafted in  and started knocking the pipes and the radiators with their knuckles and commenting on them like they were horses. – “She’s a fine bit of metal there she is.” – “No doubting it Cliff, sturdy. Good pedigree, reared well she was.– Fintin McKenna, panel beater at McKenna Van.

Hastily scrawled signs were stuck on pub doors when the early warning system failed.
Hastily scrawled signs written under pressure like these were stuck on pub doors when the early warning system failed.

Some barmaids genuinely feared for their safety but tried to hold it together.

“Ith was cat. Day sah by de winda and drankin two Corrs Lights and caused no trouble. I sent out a warning on ayr system for all de baas to remove Corrs Light from sale buh de nackers musta hacken us cos de next pub day got inta all day aksed for was Bud.” – Chantelle Murphy, barmaid at The Bull What Usen to be Black.

“Of course, they sat beside me. It was like 4th class all over again… Getting 10/10 in me spellings and being made help the knackers spell stuff by Mr. Quinn. Never made that mistake again. Can’t even read now.” – Kevin McLoughlin, seasonal door to door Christmas tree salesman.

“Dead right I closed the pub. No fucken way boy am I letting a bunch of nackers in to my pub what I worked hard to build up just so they can have a few pints and then wreck the gaff and fuck off back to their caravans and their 80 inch tellys. And you can print that. Not a publican in the town’ll disagree. It’s us what’s the victim. Yeah you hear of traveller discrimination but you sure as shit don’t hear of how we have to wipe the piss from the tables and pick up the teeth and lips from the floor.” – Peter Matthesis, VFI Drogheda branch secretary.

Facing the future

Traveller spokescousint Blackie Connors stressed that discrimination will continue against the travelling community until the government accepts recommendations set down after Ireland’s examination by the UN Human Rights Committee under the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights which calls for affirmative action to be taken to recognise the ethnic rights of Travellers.

Like that’s ever going to happen. Pint in peace.