I’m now a lecturer in community development… Think of how I’m going to shape young minds!

I’m now a lecturer in community development. Shock, horror! I know, it’s great! Look, it’s only for 12 hours per week, but think of how I’m going to shape young minds for the better.

And I’m a guest speaker, can you imagine, at this year’s The Square Summit, Ireland’s premier conference for community do-gooders, dreamers, and a few outright rebels like me. The Square has been around for years, but you mightn’t have heard of it. They’re dreadful at PR.

Basically, it’s a reinvention of the Wheel, although we still need more action-orientated, radical voices for change – like yours truly – to balance off the Miriam O’Callaghan talkie-types.

The theme at last year’s Square Summit was ‘Governance for Good’ (save us, somebody). I’m more excited about this year’s theme: equality. It means I should get paid the same as Miriam (or whoever). If she speaks for nothing, then I’ll eat my social inclusion hat. We can’t all be volunteers.

It’s some turnaround. When I was a shouty student back in 2001, the same lot heading up the Square ostrichised me (they buried my head in the sand) because I wrote that George Bush was my hero.

To me, Bush had found the most effective approach to reducing global poverty: start with the poorest country in the world (it was Afghanistan back then) and bomb it out of existence. He nearly succeeded.

Trump selling bombs to the Saudis to bomb Yemen shows how dedicated the US remains to the cause.

I’ve moved on. Community development is slow, but the struggle continues.

In fact, I must remind my colleagues at the conference that students also struggle (not just to find a bed, or get out of it). They’ve got smartphones and know that plastic and climate change are going to finish off humanity, but some of them are still as thick as an IPA yearbook.

Some students are even clueless about politics.

Fiona thought the government’s confidence and supply agreement was an arrangement drug users had with their local dealers. Seanie thought power-sharing was loaning your phone charger to someone else. Harry thought equality was a way to measure the purity of ecstasy tablets. Zacharia thought that a voluntary body was something to do with sexual consent. When asked to comment on the White Paper on Drugs, Barry from Cork said Rizla were the best. Neither he nor Josephine have a hope. She still believes that sustainable community culture is a bacteria.

I have hopes for Fiona.

In due course, I’ll refer the rest of them to the relevant services they hope to one day work for.

In the meantime, we’re all going to the Square Summit. €250 per person – our collective arses! (Barry will open the fire exits from 9am. Throw him €5; he doesn’t like being up that early.)

  • Category: Humour