Tich: You were elected to Wicklow county council on Monday. Did you expect to get elected?
Peir: No. (Laughs).
T: Expect nothing and you won’t be disappointed. I thought you said you know a lot of people?
P: I do.
T: That doesn’t mean anything.
P: It means nothing.
T: I know Pat Hoey and I voted for him and he didn’t get elected. I asked him does he know many dead people, he said all the people in the cemetery! I said to his father, I see your son is standing for election, he said is he mad? I said everyone is mad, some are madder than others.
Politics has been described as showbusiness for ugly people.
P: (Laughs, said something I didn’t catch).
T: Where were you brought up?
P: In Arklow. Abbeyville.
T: Did you ever live in England?
P: No, never.
T: Some man who heard you on the radio said you sounded English. Do you take that as an insult?
P: Not at all. I’ve got a lot of relatives who live over in England.
T: I met a cousin of yours, Margo. The one who’s married to a blind guy. She said she was voting for you.
P: Very good.
T: I think I got some people to vote for you.
P: I should hope so.
T: So you’ll have to do me favours.
P and T: (Laughter).
T: Have you got any brown envelopes?
P: I’ll have to stockpile them.
T: There’s a thing called clientelism which I read about in Irish politics. If people are entitled to something they should go to where you get it and not ask a local politician to do it for them.
T: If you are due the old age pension you will get it. If you are due planning permission you will get it.
P: Absolutely. There’s processes. That’s why people vote for parties, they think that’s what it is, doing them favours.
T: A few elections ago some guy said to me he was voting for independents. I said would you like a government made up completely of independents? He thought for a minute and said no.
T: I thought they’d all be disagreeing with each other. You’re in a party of one, I don’t suppose you’re going to resign from yourself.
P: What I’m going to do is be the bridge of communication.
T: Brendan Behan said the first item on the agenda of any new political party is the split.
T: Can I go all schmaltzy? How many children have you?
T: What age range?
P: I’ve one 21 and she’s in art college.
T: What’s the youngest one?
T: A woman in England called Shirley Conran wrote a book, I forget what she called it, about having it all, making it as an entrepreneur and having a family.
T: Is that what you’re going to try to do?
P: No. My kids have been great. I’ve been going to schools and got to know all the parents for years.
T: Do teachers say what they really think on report cards or do they go in for plamas?
T: Your child has great potential but he hasn’t realised any of it. (Laughs).
T: What can I say? You’re the great white hope.
P: I’m getting that feeling off everybody.
T: Lets be specific. How many times does Wicklow county council meet?
P: Once a month I think, I’m not sure. I’ve no information at all.
T: You’re a county councillor and you don’t know. (Laughs).
P: There’s been no information given out.
T: Do you know what you’re very like?
T: Socrates, who was regarded as the wisest man in the world. On his deathbed his last words were all I know is I know nothing. (Laughs).
T: I looked up on the internet the duties and so on of a county councillor but I’ve forgotten what they are. (Laughs).
Are you going to make a maiden speech?
P: A maiden speech?
T: Are you a maiden? (Laughs).
T: Why not? (Laughs). Anyway, a man said to me if Ireland discovered oil it would ruin us. He didn’t say why but I know why. It would all go to politicians and state employees and glossy buildings for themselves.
T: Do you agree with that man?
P: Yes. Everything is always based on profit.
T: Yet another man I know said we don’t need to change the electoral system, we need to change the electorate.
T: So how come they voted for you? Are you a pig in a poke? (Laughs). I asked you that in one of my messages, how can you be one of us and yet not one of us at the same time?
P: I’ll stay true to myself. I’m not a career politician.
T: If you’re not in it for the money what are you in it for?
P: For hope.
T: A friend of mine said, a good few years ago now, about politicians, they’re all rich when they retire.
P: They’re rich in what way?
P: There are other currencies than money. I’d rather be rich in my heart.
T: I mean Haughey got an island out of it. Why weren’t the criminal assets bureau called in? Can you explain that?
T: Unexplained wealth.
P: (Laughs). I’ve no interest in money. That’s why I’ll be ok.
T: I would like to have some money. You mean you can’t be bribed?
P: Enough is plenty. I could have chosen paths in life where I would have been very comfortable.
T: Hardly any politician ever goes to jail, why is that?
P: I know. I’ll try and find out.
T: In some countries in the world, I won’t mention which, it is illegal to criticise the government.
T: Yes. Here you can criticise the government but it doesn’t make any difference.
T: That’s called freedom. (Both laugh). I could sing you a song but I won’t. Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.
T: Freedom don’t cost nothing but its free. Pardon my grammar, someone else wrote it. (Both laugh).
T: That’s Kris Kristofferson, his songs are great.
P: Yes, absolutely.
T: From the coalmines in Kentucky to somewhere else. I was reciting a song to someone sometime, I said you know this song, she said she didn’t. I said you must know it and I was saying something, something, something when I didn’t know the words. She said I like the something, something, something bit. (Both laugh).
Oh yes, listen, what do you understand by the word populism? Is that giving people what they want, not what they need?
P: I don’t know, I’ll have to look that up.
T: I’m not sure, but they hate foreigners for one thing.
P: Its just a trendy word.
T: Ah no, it means something. Do you know what people want? I’m going to tell you what they want. It’s in a song. Everything you want, everything you like its illegal, its immoral or it makes you fat. (Both laugh). Its an old song.
P: I think people aren’t against immigrants and people like that,
they’re against change to their culture and values.
T: I’ll quote two sayings to you. A famous monk of an abbey in Ireland, on his deathbed said to the other monks, above all, resist change.
T: I’ve something else to say. Have you any loose change, I’m talking about change here. Some Indian guru said the only constant is change.
T: And yet another thing, but I said this. Change can be for the worse.
P: Oh yes.
T: I mean you could get Donald Trump. (Laughing).
P: I know.
T: You haven’t asked me this but I’ll tell you anyway. If the world was to be made in the image of America or China I would choose America as the lesser of two evils.
T: Will you write to the American embassy on my behalf and tell them that. (Both laugh). You could be president someday.
P: I know.
T: My sister said she doesn’t want to run for president, you know the way they tear each other apart. (Laughs).
P: I could be president of Arklow.
T: Someone asked me what does a president do anyway. I said he shakes hands with people coming in from other countries. He said sure anyone could do that. (Both laugh).
T: Could you do that? Listen, as a politician don’t you have to kiss babies and tell people they’re lovely and all that?
P: I’m good at that. (Both laugh).
T: My sister goes all goo goo over babies but I don’t.
P: Ah, you’re a man. (They laugh).
T: We were staying at some guy’s house and he likes true crime dramas, they were true, you know, and my brother said they’re very violent. He said they’re for men. (They laugh). Women can be violent.
P: Oh they can.
T: Are you that type?
T: What are you like when you’re angry?
P: I’m very easy going. I hate bullies.
T: Can calm, considered words win an argument?
T: My older brother, who is now dead, but I didn’t kill him. There is such a thing as fratricide, I sometimes feel like committing it. (Both laugh). Anyway, he never raised his voice in his whole life, but I do.
T: He said when somebody is arguing with you and shouting at you, lower your voice, speak to them very quietly and they go away. (Both laugh).
One of my nephews said when people are disagreeing with him, telling him some other way is right, he just says yes and they go away. (They laugh).
Oh yes, a very left wing politician in DunLaoghaire said he’s not a politician, he’s an activist. That’s because politician has become a dirty word.
T: You are entering a cesspool when you enter politics. Its your job to clean out the sewer, and that river while you’re at it. My brother calls it the River Sewage, I call it the Sewage Canal.
P: They intend to build concrete on either side to make it more like a sewer.
T: Somebody who talked sense said if there are bends in a river they should be there because they take more water. If you straighten out a river there’s more water in it and it floods.
T: I have other things to say to you. Small shopkeepers and other shopkeepers complain about the rates. What is the rates money going on? You find that out. Get them not to waste it.
T: You could reduce the rates if you stopped wasting money, I don’t know what they’re wasting money on.
P: We need to find common ground and be a loud voice.
T: Money does not solve every problem.
P: No, it doesn’t.
T: Listen to me, some guy from a very poor African country that won a lot of medals in the Olympics said having very good sporting facilities does not make you win the Olympics.
T: People succeed against the odds. People like Ronny Delaney and Katy Taylor, they didn’t have great facilities.
P: No, and they won. Yeah.
T: Do you know what a politician would love? To build a stadium and have his name on it.
P: I know, yeah.
T: The Bertie bowl.
P: It’s a people thing, it’s the human thing that makes success.
T: Are you a human politician?
T: I didn’t know there were any. Listen to me, a friend of mine, I said something about politicians, something derogatory, he said politics is a noble profession. Well, it should be.
T: Can you restore the human race’s faith in politics and politicians?
P: I’m hoping so.
T: Listen to me, I write poetry and do you know what, my sister in law, who is not Irish, but that doesn’t mean she’s no good.
T: She said she doesn’t read poetry because she doesn’t understand it.
T: And I think people who write what’s called poetry nowadays don’t understand it themselves. (Laughs). People are right not to understand it, its rubbish. Some comedian said about poets, why don’t they come straight out and say it? (Both laugh).
Some poems which people treat with great respect, but I don’t, people have about a hundred interpretations of them. But if its clear and simple everybody understands it. That’s the way poetry should be.
P: Yes. Absolutely.
T: I don’t want to go on too much about poetry, but Patrick Kavanagh was a pretty good poet in Ireland. He wrote Raglan Road, which is a great song sung by Luke Kelly. I don’t know who wrote the music, did he write the music, I don’t know. But anyway, the teaching profession or the educational system say they’re not going to teach Patrick Kavanagh anymore, because he’s not fashionable. Since when has fashion had anything to do with anything that matters? Do you know what I mean?
P: Yes, yeah.
T: Alright, I won’t sing the national anthem, I won’t stand up. When I was young they used to play the national anthem at the end of a cinema show, and everyone would try to get out before it. (Laughs).
1st June, 2019