Politicians, Social Media and the Water Crisis

It may be over now, but it was fun while it lasted. Last week’s humanitarian disaster was great for the town. Reaction ranged from the stoic to the hysteric as social media was saturated by the great unwashed. Locals who’ve obviously never been to the developing world became convinced that Drawda had morphed into a third world country.

RTE’s cameras descended on the town and people who refuse to pay their TV licence lined up to talk to them, lapping it up. The news was awash with scenes of people moaning in queues, kettles in hand. One woman from Ballsgrove summed up how the town felt nicely “There’s no waatur in anyada shops. What are ye supposed tihdo, go round duurty?”

When we weren’t queuing for water, The Faa Side was glued to the Facebuke watching for updates as our local politicians jostled for likes and shares. And if there’s one thing that raises the profile of a local politician, it’s a mild disaster.

It was evident straight from the off that those with a social media presence were obliterating the old funeral attending, golfing guard.

It was a good crisis for new mayor Pio Smith. Hot off the heels of welcoming his Monacan Doppelganger, Smith’s Facebuke page kicked into action registering 26 humanitarian updates, many with a stern faced Pio staring into camera as well as a further 9 pipe related posts. Smith drew a blank videowise, something that can’t be levelled against ex-Fine Gaeler Kevin Callan.

The ex-Fine Gael man was way out in front giving no fewer than 15 (fifteen!!) video updates, 19 cut and paste jobs and a further 17 water related posts. It was a shrewd move by Callan, saturating the Facebuke with so many updates that his face is seared onto our brain, subconsciously associated with water, one of life’s basic necessities. Earth, wind and fire beware.

Housewives’ favourite Fergus O’Dowd concentrated mainly on information cut n’ paste jobs drip-fed from the institution he was heavily involved in setting up, Irish Water (IW). While only posting three videos, they did enough to ensure that a certain town demographic were wet for the first time in days.

Fergus’s 30 plus posts were roughly 30 times the amount of space fellow FG TD for Louth and East Meath Peter ‘Fitzer’ Fitzpatrick gev the crisis. The pipe it seems, didn’t impact Dundalk.

The Shinners were surprisingly quiet in comparison to their FG and Labour counterparts. Imelda Munster TD limited herself to 6 Facebuke posts, one of which invoked a crying Christ and let it be known again that she didn’t pay her waatur chaages. Councillour Flood didn’t flood his timeline with updates either, unlike his colleague Joanna Byrne, who did.

The longer the crisis went on, the crazier things got. The dehydration. Fianna Fáil’s Thomas Byrne TD, who had a good disaster overall, called for a return to captial punishment for some water tank thieves in Meath. The bowsies should be “hung, drawn and quartered,” Byrne posted. Who doesn’t love the silly season?

Labour’s other two representatives had mixed crises. Ged Nash went for a measured approach of updates while Paul Bell seems to have gone on holidays, his Facebuke page suffering an update drought. Frank Godfrey went AWOL and Lobinstown’s very own force of nature Paddy Meade informed us with a series of informative, mansplained videos. Bettystown’s Sharon Tolan provided The Faa Side with its favourite water crisis moment. Councillor Tolan was ‘too angry to type’ an update so took to the video instead to tell us that she very nearly crashed her car on hearing more bad news from IW. Thankfully Cllr. Tolan is ok and in fairness to her, she won’t be the last to be exasperated by them lads.

The updates provided by our politicians were indeed welcomed. However, we should NOT forget that as our elected representatives, they are ultimately responsible for the omnishambles that occurred last week. We should not forget this, no matter how helpful they are.