Wel­come to Ire­land - may the tolls rise to meet you!

Bray People - - News - SHEA tomkins

NOT CON­TENT with charg­ing us ex­or­bi­tant fees for tak­ing a spin down the ‘Road to Hell’, the M50 pow­ers-that-be have now de­cided to make it even more of a nui­sance to do so as well.

As daunt­ing as a trip to Dublin has be­come in re­cent times, it has been made all the more un­pleas­ant by the jams of traf­fic wait­ing to snare you once you en­ter the M50 quag­mire. En­joy your time in Dublin; if your head gas­ket doesn’t blow, your tem­per soon will.

Zac­cha­eous may have been one of the most famed and dreaded tax col­lec­tors in bib­li­cal his­tory but not even he could have de­vised a don­key tag­ging plan with such in­ge­nious greed as the mod­ern day ‘toll trolls’ who have mo­torists in this coun­try over a bar­rell. Yes it was an in­con­ve­nience hav­ing to slow down for the bar­ri­ers but the new ‘ must plan in ad­vance’ rules’ are a recipe for a trav­el­ling dis­as­ter. Not only have they raised the charge for mo­torists who don’t take that route so of­ten, but now you also have the bother of call­ing a call cen­tre in the UK to pay your bill within 24 hours or else!

And they say they won’t let the for­eign­ers away without pay­ing ei­ther. In a re­cent sur­vey as to why the east­ern part of the coun­try is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a se­ri­ous down­fall in tourism, the ex­pense of eat­ing out and a lack of worth­while ac­tiv­i­ties com­bined with a gen­er­ally ou­tra­geous cost of liv­ing were ex­cuses enough. Now tourists are told that if they don’t pay our ‘state-of-the-art’ elec­tronic road tolls they are go­ing to be tracked down and pros­e­cuted when they get back home. Wel­come to Ire­land - may the tolls rise up to meet you!

Didn’t the Gov­ern­ment prom­ise to take care of the toll­houses once and for all dur­ing the last elec­tion cam­paign or was that just an­other empty prom­ise that we should put in our pock­ets and save for the next rainy day? But then empty prom­ises are the ex­tent of what we can ex­pect th­ese days. Daily users of the M50 are wel­com­ing the re­moval of the bar­ri­ers and ap­par­ently up to 70,000 of them have or­dered their tags al­ready. Best of luck to them, and here’s gen­uinely hop­ing that it is the an­swer to their com­mut­ing hell. You might get the feel­ing some­how that there’s an­other chap­ter, far from the con­clud­ing one, to be writ­ten yet.

‘LOVELY GIRLS’

AL­MOST 50 years on and it’s great to see that Ire­land’s most renowned ‘Lovely Girls’ com­pe­ti­tion still has the mag­netism to reel the pun­ters in.

The Rose of Tralee seems to have lost none of its pop­u­lar­ity in a mod­ern world of in­de­pen­dent women, feisty fem­i­nists and the rest of us tak­ing our­selves all too se­ri­ously. This bunch of ladies have no prob­lem in get­ting up on stage, talk­ing ab­so­lute drib­ble to Ray D’Arcy and then do­ing a lit­tle jig or a hand­stand to top it all off.

Be hon­est though, don’t the poor girls seem scared to death and just way too pre­oc­cu­pied with what they are go­ing to say with their next breath? Next year, to get them to­tally re­laxed and to give us all a glimpse of their true colours, they should drop the whole con­ver­sa­tion pro­ce­dure and have a mas­sive game of

Twis­ter in­stead.

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