Tralee Life Life In An Irish Town


The Lone Council Employee

During the Rose of Tralee Festival, Daisy and me were on an evening walk. As we climbed the steps into the park I could see a big black dog to the left but he 20160825_102727[1]wasn’t paying much attention to us, though Daisy was checking him out. He was eating a slice of bread, which he’d pulled out of a freshly dumped black bin bag. The entrance is also by a carpark and someone had obviously driven up and dumped their rubbish behind the closest tree. It is a secluded area and no doubt they did it without being noticed. The dog eating the bread had made big tear in the large bag and was delighted with his find. I wasn’t. ‘For fucks sake’ I said out loud which caused the dining dog to look over, though not stop what he was doing. Daisy growled a bit, not that the other dog took much notice.

Walking off into the park, I could hear the sounds of the festival ahead and see the crowds of people milling around in the early evening sun. What I could see also was more bags of rubbish, dumped in the brambles that grow along the edge of the path. Someone was getting rid of a lot of rubbish or was it more than one taking advantage of the secluded spot? Usually there is a van or a council worker somewhere in the park and though it was 7.30 at night, it was Festival week and maybe, I thought, there was one on late duty.

By the main entrance the food stalls were doing a good trade and the smells of frying meat, bubbling doughnuts and barbecue sauce were filling the air. A few of the escorts in their monkey suits were taking the shortcut to the Dome and other well-dressed couples were headed the same way.  No sign anywhere of a council employee though and this was annoying me. At the gate I spotted a man in a high-vis jacket, with a blue polo short beneath it. He was wearing heavy duty gloves and was pointing up Denny Street, giving directions to a few tourists. ‘Just up there on the left, you can’t miss it,’ I heard him say as I walked up the short, sloped pathway. As the tourists headed off I stopped.

“Sorry, are you with the council?” I asked, just as I spotted the Kerry County Council logo on the jacket.

“Yeah”, he answered, looking a bit quizzically at me.

“It’s just that some prick has dumped a few bags of rubbish, big black ones, over the other side of the park,” I said.

“Where? Over by Castle Demesne?”

“Yeah, just as you come up the steps.”

“I’ll go over there now,” he said, with an enthusiasm not always associated with public servants, especially at nearly eight o’clock on a summer’s evening when everyone around them is having fun.

“Jesus that’s great” I said, “there’s a dog having his dinner out of one of them.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of that,” was the answer.

The next morning, I bounded up the steps at about 8.45 AM. I looked to my left and there it was, it was gone. The brambles were clear too. The man was true to his word. The park was spotless wherever I walked. The bins were empty and except for the odd bottle left over from late night drinkers, you would never know that the previous evening had been the last one of the festival and that the town was heaving. It was as if it had never happened.

This came back to me this morning when I read of the reduction in council services due to deceased funding. Numbers of outdoor staff has dropped 19% in the last few years. I wonder if many are left of the likes of the man who had cleaned up someone else’s mess the previous evening? Very few and I guess he will not be replaced when his time is up. Yet you will hear people complain that the council should do this or do that and rubbish is a disgrace.

They can’t do much without the money.




Posted by John Verling

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