When the Law Truly is an Ass

Posted: September 25, 2012 in Humour
Tags: , , , ,

At Least Donkeys Dont have to Pay For a TV Licence!

After decades of initiatives, truckloads of cash, blood curdling telly adverts and, worst of all, the reinvention of Gay Byrne, finally a solution to the carnage on Ireland’s roads has been found – more carnage! Because nothing slows the Irish driver down quicker than the chance to gawp at an accident.

Driving on Dublin’s N11 recently I found myself being reduced to crawling speed as up ahead, there was clearly some sort of accident. What was the cause of this delay?  Debris? Emergency services? Bodies strewn across the dual carriageway? No, just morbid curiosity.

Despite said incident involving a collision so slight as to have had all the impact of a field mouse attempting intercourse with an elephant, every fellow road user deemed it fascinating enough to drop down to first gear as they fed their gore-starved eyes with the sight of a barely visible scratch on a Ford Focus’ bumper. How ironic, I thought; the one fool proof method of getting drivers to slow down is the thrill of watching the aftermath of the one thing they don’t want to do themselves.  

Having exhausted my vocabulary of suitable expletives, I wound my window up and got to thinking, is it even legal to slow to a crawl for purely voyeuristic reasons? It turns out it’s not. But then it turns out lots of other traffic laws also go unenforced.

Children sitting in the passenger seat? Cyclists on pavements? Pedestrians ignoring the little red man? All familiar sights on the streets of Ireland.

The reason isn’t lax policing, it’s down to the fact that were these and other such laws to be enforced, the country would simply stop functioning. Imagine how long it would take to cross a major city centre were you to obey every pedestrian light? Folks have climbed Everest in less time! Ditto cyclists keeping strictly to cycle lanes or parents doing two school runs as opposed to squeezing one last kid into the front passenger seat.

It begs the question, why have these laws in the first place if they aren’t practical and aren’t even going to be enforced? Whatever the answer (my money’s on some insurance-related reason), these laws are rarely (if ever) enforced. So if we’re allowed to play fast and loose with these laws, which others can we disdainfully ignore?

At the risk of appearing to promote lawlessness, the following are two laws that, if routinely broken, would cause absolutely no difference to how we function as a society.

TV licence. If Anders Breivik is released after his 21 year sentence, he will have served just over three months for each of his victims’ murders. Or, to put it another way, about the same amount of time an Irish person will serve for not having a TV licence! Of the multitude of stealth taxes we have in this country, none grates more than the TV licence. Aside from the fact that TV stations already have lucrative revenue streams in the form of advertising, there’s no more sickening feeling than knowing your hard-earned cash is paying Ryan Tubridy’s wages.

Spitting. Whilst undoubtedly unpleasant on the eye, what harm does spitting actually do? In a country as wet as Ireland the average life-cycle of a spit is probably about the same as the life-cycle of a cup cake in Pavarotti’s presence. With our constant rain always at the ready to wash away these mucus offences, surely it’s high time we stopped wasting precious resources enforcing this pointless law.

In an era of streamlining and cutbacks, Garda resources are being stretched like never before. These most pointless of laws should be abolished and thus free up much-needed prison space for real criminals. Like Ryan Tubridy’s barber for example.

Article first published in Garda Review magazine, June, 2012



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