Words: Ellen Kenny
Because Fine Gael councillors in Dublin city have nothing else to worry about this winter. Nope, nothing at all.
Fine Gael are seeking to overturn a decision by Dublin’s Lord Mayor to cancel this year’s nativity crib at a city council meeting this evening. According to Fine Gael’s group leader on Dublin City Council James Geoghegan, they are planning to introduce an “emergency motion on the Mansion House crib”.
Because that’s the biggest problem in Dublin right now. Housing? Not a bother. Cost of heating and electricity? Haven’t heard of her. No, the real emergency is whether or not we can put live animals on a Dublin street for month of December to cosplay biblical creatures.
Obviously, councillors can handle a few issues at a time. But considering the lack of urgency on other issues in Dublin city, and considering the extent of problems like housing and infrastructure in Dublin, this seems to be a weird hill to die on, James.
The live animal nativity crib was cancelled this year after 27 years by Lord Mayor Caroline Conroy. The decision was celebrated by animal-welfare activists but also received disapproval from people who enjoy the tradition of visiting the animals outside Mansion House.
Nine Fine Gael councillors have backed the motion against the cancellation. Geoghegan has said that “this reflects the broadly held view by all elected members that cancelling the live crib was a huge mistake”.
“At the very least, the general public are entitled to know the actual reasons for why schoolchildren will not get the opportunity to see live animals like they have every other year,” Geoghegan said, “The Lord Mayor has never stated that animal welfare is the motivation for her decision and yet other councillors from the Green Party are saying that is exactly why the ban has been put in place.”
However, a representative of the Lord Mayor has said that the decision was made after it was discovered that Perspex screens would have been needed at the crib this year under Covid protocols.
“The Lord Mayor wants to create a new experience that will allow children to be part of the scene rather than just looking at it,” the spokesperson explained, “The details of this are to be finalised and will be announced later, it will include a Nativity scene and allow everyone to feel like they are part of a Christmas in 1715 when the Mansion House was first purchased.”
So the emergency motion from Fine Gael seems preemptive when the Lord Mayor hasn’t even fully explained herself or the replacement of the live nativity.
But if Fine Gael councillors are interested in seeing some animals on show soon, they should just head down to the Dáil for a real treat. Or if they’re really keen on live animals outside Mansion House, no one’s stopping them getting into some furry gear themselves and putting on a show.
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