Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Rodents take it up a notch

Tuesday's Irish Times:

The environmental health offices at Dublin City Council had to be shut down after rats infested them.

Staff at the offices, responsible for policing cleanliness in businesses, including restaurants, around the city, were sent home for a half day after the rats were discovered last week.

Aside from the basic comedy here, it's hard not to see a broader sense of poetic justice. These offices are part of the hideous Wood Quay development. This is the awful grey concrete structure that resembles a set of salt and pepper shakers near Christchurch cathedral. The tourists can't avoid seeing it and it's best that they not know the history -- how the land of saints and scholars built an ugly municipal office building on the site of the old Viking settlement. This is the side of the Republic's officialdom -- the contempt for anyone or anything that gets in the way of a new motorway or office block -- that you won't see in the Guinness ads. Maybe those rats had little rat-sized Viking helmets.

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