And now for something completely different

Croke Park, Dublin.
Image via Wikipedia

This is today’s Cork Independent editorial.

I could write about pension cuts, budget cuts, or a host of other cuts we don’t even have names for yet. I could write about ‘taking the pain’, getting ‘a haircut’ or learning to ‘manage our expectations’. I could suggest politicians take pay cuts, but I’d be rehashing Fintan O’Toole’s excellent piece in Tuesday’s Irish Times. I could talk about the by-elections that are not being held, or the paint-terrorist who this week ensured that the erstwhile PD leader will forever be known as ‘Bloody Mary’. I could postulate on the return of student protest, or on local celebrities embarrassing themselves.

But I won’t.

I’m going to write about the most ridiculous – but strangely cheering – story I’ve heard in a long time. Better than the Bertie Bowl, bigger than the Biggest Top, and with more audacity than Disneyland, it’s the Tipperary Resort.

You read that right.

Cork people are known for a kind of bone-crushing arrogance that sweeps away all in its path through utter, genetic, righteousness. But this goes one better.

Those cute Tipperary hoors have dreamed up a scheme straight out of Killinascully and all I can say is, why didn’t we think of that?

The Tipperary Resort; part gambling Mecca, part sports facility, part fairytale. Sort of.

Michael Lowry TD, noted friend of Ben Dunne, has been spearheading this project for quite a while now, and has reportedly been using all of his leverage to see it through. His leverage is fairly strong these days; his statement on Brian Cowen is part of the reason Lenihan isn’t Taoiseach, and the Government relies on his support in the Dáil, particularly since Jim McDaid resigned yesterday.
The Tipperary Resort was approved for planning permission this week. It’s a first of its kind in Ireland, and will contain, among other things, a super-casino, seating for 15,000 with a retractable roof, a heliport, a horse racing track, a greyhound track, and a five star hotel with 500 bedrooms.

Five years ago, during those halcyon days when the whole country was supposedly gone berserk on the mocha chip frappuccinos, €1000 handbags, and stag weekends in Vegas, this would have sounded like our birthright.

But now? Now it’s like something out of a film. We simply cannot bring ourselves to imagine that this would be possible.

Yes, there are some difficulties; Lowry is lobbying very hard at the moment to work a change to our gambling laws, to make the money-spinning casino a possibility. That alone will pay for the rest of the resort to run at a profit, according to the venture’s backers, who include Richard Quirke of Quirkey’s Emporium in Dublin (a Tipperary native by all accounts).

And, as others have pointed out, relaxing gambling laws in a country where a lot of people have gambled themselves into oblivion already through speculation on property and shares, mightn’t be the wisest idea.

Having issued the health warnings, is it not encouraging to see that somebody, somewhere, still wants to do something? With private money, from private investors; no taxpayers’ money involved. Look at the amount Croke Park cost us, or the amount the Bertie Bowl would have cost us.

Commercially, it may be nuts. But that’s up to them; for once, we have nothing to lose from this.






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