Boost for Irish Mining Sector as Dirt Values Explode

Minister Alan 'Bull' Shatter shows two child miners where they'll be working
The mining industry in Ireland has received a much-needed boost with a series of investments in mining operations nationwide. The mineral in question, Dirt, has been in high demand recently and the race is now on to harvest the remaining untapped reserves of the resource in constituencies across the country.

After initially trying to sell off the mining rights to a multinational corporation for a song, the government was forced to backtrack when they realised that the resource holds no international value whatsoever and can only be exploited on a domestic, and parochial, level. It is, as yet, unclear what the real value of the mineral is to the ordinary Irish people but that appears to be of little significance as the frenzy around the Dirtrush intensifies.

New mining & drilling operations have sprung up in various parts of the country, including a large open cast mine in the Phoenix Park, home of the Garda National Headquarters, which is expected to have a massive Dirt yield. Elsewhere, after a ferocious bidding war, it is understood that business baron Denis O'Brien has secured the mining rights in the bountiful constituency of Tipperary North. 

Environmental groups have expressed serious concerns about the long term side-effects of the mining boom, especially the potential visual scarring of the landscape. Speaking yesterday, Minister Alan 'Bull' Shatter, a recent beneficiary and victim of the Dirtrush, dismissed the environmental concerns out of hand and claimed the government had a plan in place. However, Minister Bull Shatter refused to either confirm or deny that this plan would involve the backfilling of the mines with another toxic political byproduct: The vast quantities of empty unfulfilled promises left over from past and future general elections. 

Paul Williams revealed as Gangland Kingpin

Criminal Mastermind - Paul 'Top Tout' Williams
The Foraging Ireland can now exclusively reveal the vicious thug responsible for Ireland's current wave of gangland crime – Paul 'Top Tout' Williams. Gardaí have long suspected that an unknown kingpin was pulling the strings in Gangland but The Irish Sun journalist's role was only recently uncovered after a thorough and courageous investigation carried out by this writer.

In a case of fact being stranger fiction, Williams' story is not unlike that of the film The Departed. Back in the early 90s the prolific Dublin criminal Martin 'The General' Cahill recognised the power of the media and recruited Williams, then a low-level street thug, to attend a couple of journalism courses before getting him a job, through torture and intimidation, at the Sunday World.

Cahill intended to use Williams to misdirect the Gardaí and rival gangs by planting false stories in the national newspaper. The crime columns were also used to promote Cahill's image of being an “ordinary decent criminal”. But when The General was slaughtered in a hail of bullets in 1994 Williams found himself trapped in his job as a journalist because no one but Cahill knew Top Tout's true identity.

However, Williams soon realised how profitable crime-writing could be in its own right and successfully kept his criminal persona a secret while he expertly played criminal factions against each other using his regular crime columns and subsequent books. It is believed that journalist Veronica Guerin was close to revealing Top Tout's identity in 1996 when she was brutally murdered by John Gilligan's gang after Williams gave them accurate details of her diary and movements.

Williams swiftly replaced Guerin as top dog at the Sunday World and set about creating the cult of Gangland by giving Ireland's criminals the one thing they craved the most but couldn't buy or steal: notoriety. Using his columns he built up the profiles of various lowlifes and drug dealers, knowing that the more he wrote about them the bigger a target they would become. This cunning tactic resulted in a high turnover rate of gangland figures as jealous gang rivals murderously scrambled to get their names in the headlines. Top Tout had hit the big time.

In a bizarre twist, Williams' true identity was revealed not by the Gardaí that he so closely associated with but by the vigilence of this writer. I had noticed discrepancies in Williams' writing – frequent misspellings, poor syntax, indiscriminate punctuation – that suggested he couldn't possibly be a professional writer. When this writer bravely confronted Williams with the overwhelming evidence against him Top Tout broke down and admitted his guilt but fled the country before he could be apprehended by the Gardaí. The grisly reign of Paul 'Top Tout' Williams was over.

*At the time of writing it is believed that Paul Williams is living in Spain and is currently working on one last big heist before he disappears for good: He's writing his memoirs.

Dáil Éireann Announces Amnesty on Broken Pre-election Promises

The Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann has declared an amnesty on all political promises made before the last general election. The amnesty, which runs until until the Dáil reconvenes later this month, allows parliamentary parties to present unfulfilled pre-election promises and downright lies for decommissioning, thereby putting them beyond use by opposition parties.

It is estimated that almost 97% of speaking time in the Dáil is spent on accusations and counter-accusations of hypocrisy. It is hoped that by allowing the political parties to formally put aside their pre-election promises they can move on from the pretence of actually representing the electorate and instead focus on the real work of securing allowances, expenses and pensions for themselves.

The Labour Party will undoubtedly gain the most from the amnesty but there are some doubts as to whether the party will have enough time to offload its vast catalogue of broken election promises before the deadline expires. There are rumours of a compromise whereby if Labour fails to decommission all of its promises in time it can simply decommission Eamon Gilmore in lieu.

Sinn Féin is no stranger to the decommissioning process and is expected to waste no time admitting that most of its T.D.s are in fact mass-murdering terrorists. The party is still reeling from the embarrassing revelation that Dublin North-West T.D. Dessie Ellis is linked to only 50 murders, an astonishingly low figure that is expected to seriously damage the party's street cred.

Bertie Ahern moments before the Bank Bailout
Fianna Fáil intends to decommission its assertion that the party is not exactly the same as the one that rode Ireland head first into the recession. The party has taken the opportunity to release some previously unseen images of Bertie Ahern in the weeks prior to the bank bailout which will also now be put beyond use by the opposition.

Fine Gael will take this opportunity to finally decommission James Reilly.

Supermarket Scramble

Here's our alternative take on supermarket branding, consider it a guide to saving money on your shopping!

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas and the country was creaking
From the havoc and turmoil the budget was wreaking
When Gilmore and Labour betrayed those who care
And shifted the boundaries of what they call fair.

At this time of year the 'Joy holds no white collars
Whose weapons of treason were Euros and Dollars.
If only those bankers had fiddled in garlic
For the lack of swift justice is making us all sick.

Our emigrants return and their families rejoice
During this brief respite from Noonan's "Lifestyle Choice".
Yet Michael's cuts limit the options before us,
Making "Hell or To Connacht" start to seem generous.

But now let us hope that in this festive season
Our leaders reflect and begin to see reason,
And think of the needy, the poor, the hard-pressed,
Whose burden is mighty, whose lives are distressed.

May they think with their hearts and ignore the strict German,
Who compounds a harsh bailout with sermon, after sermon.
We're tired of being good boys and doing what we're told,
Grow a pair Enda, be courageous, be bold!

Next year the diaspora will come for The Gathering,
Let's hope it is meaningful, that the people are welcoming.
Please Leo stop saying "Give our coffers a boost"
Lest rumours of a scam come home to roost.

But now let's be festive and try to unwind,
Think not of those fools who put us in this bind.
It can't last forever, may the end come in sight,
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Vintage Irish Tourism Posters

To view a larger version click here

The Gathering Booklist

It looks as though there will be quite a few people coming to Ireland for The Gathering next year after all. Putting our misgivings about the project to the side for a moment, we thought it might be nice to put together a "required reading" list for members of the diaspora coming here to trace their Irish roots or find out if they belong. 

We're looking for suggestions about books that tackle the themes of Irishness, emigration and belonging. If they hit on all three themes that's great but two out of three ain't bad. We'll start the ball rolling by suggesting two books from one of our favourite authors, Pete McCarthy:

Born in England to an Irish mother, McCarthy spent his childhood summers in West Cork. In these two books he travels around Ireland and the rest of the world exploring the Irish side of his heritage in a bid to find out if Ireland is the country where he belongs.

We'd like to hear about other books that might fit the bill so please get in touch with us:

Email your suggestions to:

Leave a comment on our Facebook page:

Tweet us your suggestion: @ForagingIreland

Winning the Poo - A positive guide to potty training

Although nappies are cosy and catch all your poo
It's high time that you learned how to use the loo
We'll start with the potty to ease you in gently
Then once you've that mastered you're ready for entry
To the glistening tiled kingdom you'll soon inherit
Where flushing and washing are duties of merit
At first you might struggle to go on your own
But before long you'll be a master of the throne.

Rabbitte claims puppy just for Christmas after all

Rabbitte - Puppy was a handful
The Minister for Straight Shooting Pat Rabbitte has launched a stinging attack on the naivety of the Irish people after the Labour Party admitted that it has discarded the puppy that it bought last Christmas. Speaking on RTE's The Week in Politics Mr. Rabbitte defended Labour's failure to look after the puppy and blamed its previous owners for the situation.

"Before we bought the puppy we fully intended to look after it for the rest of its life," said Mr. Rabbitte. "However, what we couldn't have predicted was how badly the puppy had been treated by its previous owners and, considering the emaciated condition in which the dog arrived, we feel that we've actually done a very good job in looking after him for as long as we did."

Mr. Rabbitte was then asked if he understood what kind of message this sends out about the Labour Party and its ability to fulfil its own commitments:

"Now, look here. Everyone wants to believe that a puppy is for life, not just for Christmas, but the stark reality is that once you own the puppy you have to feed it, wash it, clean up after it, take it for walks. Then the puppy grows up and becomes even more of a handful. The Labour Party couldn't have predicted it would have to deal with all these things."

Mr. Rabbitte was then questioned about how the Labour Party had gotten rid of the dog:

Labour Puppy - Moving to Canada
"Well we started to reduce its food in tiny increments until eventually it only had barely enough to survive. Then we started taxing the dog's water. We forced the dog to sleep outside in a cold shed and then we slapped a property tax on the shed too. The dog paid its taxes through its food allowance. We also started to use subliminal messaging to suggest to the dog that it might find a better life elsewhere. Eventually the dog just left us; it was essentially a lifestyle choice."

Christmas in jeopardy as elves stage sit-in protest

[This article first appeared in The Spanner Magazine Christmas Edition]

Thousands of workers at the largest toy manufacturing facility in the North Pole have locked themselves inside the factory in protest at what they consider to be “grossly unfair redundancy packages.” Almost 3,000 elves were let go from the plant last month as part of a swathe of cost-cutting measures being implemented by The Toy Company Ltd.'s receivers KPMG.

KPMG took over the manufacturing section of the company when the owner, Santa Claus, was unable to repay debts on the international property portfolio he had accumulated during the boom years. Mr. Claus still maintains control of the distribution section of the company, although with the production of toys currently at a standstill it is doubtful that there will be any presents to distribute this Christmas.

Elves - Demanding fair treatment
The elves barricaded themselves inside the factory last month and have vowed to stay there “as long as it takes.” Some of them spoke to reporters through the barricades: “I've worked here for 400 years,” said one elf,” and they're only offering me half of what I'm entitled to through statutory redundancy.” Another elf remarked, “I'm 650 years old next week, I've worked for Mr. Claus all my life. How is someone my age supposed to retrain in the computers or internetwork?”

The local community in the North Pole has given its unconditional backing to the elves and Mr. Claus. A rally is being organised for next week so that local people can show their support for the Claus family, who claim they have been demonised by the Arctic Circle media. “The Clauses built up their business from nothing and created jobs in the North Pole when there was nothing here but snow and misery. They should be left alone,” commented a local reindeer, who refused to be named.

Santa - Feeling the strain
Residents of the wider Arctic Circle have derided the “gombeen antics” of those in the North Pole: “Everyone in the Arctic Circle is paying for what Santa Claus did. He gambled in the property market and now we're all paying for his bailout. He should be ashamed: They should all be ashamed,” said one angry polar bear.

Mr. Claus would not comment on the issue as he continues his boycott of the media but sources close to him have said that he has become withdrawn lately, spending hours alone in his study, drinking hot whiskies and listening to Fairytale of New York on repeat.