Craic & Codology

Category: Enda’s Story

Enda’s Story – The newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

Enda-School

A Farewell Message from the Principal

By the time you read this, I may have addressed my final assembly as your principal. I know it will have been an emotional occasion. There’s something about the sight of all those school uniforms that has always filled me with pride.
And I’m sure that as I gaze one last time on those famous Blueshirts – the trade-mark of our school since the 1930s – I will have been tempted, as were our founding fathers, to suspend democracy with immediate effect and declare myself principal for life.

But assuming I haven’t actually done that, it is now time for me to say goodbye here, as gracefully as I can, and to wish a new generation well as it goes about the hopeless task of trying to replace me.

So I want to thank the countless many of you who, since I broke the news of my departure as gently as I could, had sent messages of gratitude and regret. As for those of you who haven’t got around to it yet, I thank you in advance for the messages you will send when you realise, however belatedly, how great I was.

I don’t need to remind you of the challenges facing the school under whoever replaces me. At time of writing, it looks as if the competition is a one-horse race. Indeed, if it really were a horse-race, Mr Coveney’s mount would have been destroyed humanely by now, to prevent unnecessary suffering.

But I was interested to read that it was Mr Noonan, of all people, who talked him into carrying on last week, because our venerable maths teacher is himself a salutary lesson in these matters.
Not many people will remember it now, but many years ago Mr Noonan beat me to the top job in what was then – all-too-briefly – St Michael’s. Alas, we were really struggling for numbers at the time, thanks to the popularity of a rival school (now entirely forgotten) called St Bertie’s.

And after yet another disastrous recruitment campaign, Mr Noonan was forced to resign. It was only at the second time of asking that our school chose what everyone now realises was the right man. So chin up, Simon. Mr Varadkar’s early bird may have got the worm this time. But remember, sometimes, it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese.

No Plans to Move School to Right, says Leo

Mr Varadkar has denied suggestions that the school will move sharply to the right under his leadership, insisting he has no such intentions and attributing the rumours to “scare-mongering”.
Sources close to Mr Coveney quoted a local estate agent as confirming that Mr Varadkar had made advance inquiries about a plot adjacent to St Enda’s, just to right of where the campus now ends, with a possibility to “reorienting” the school in that direction.

Such a move would involve closing down the social welfare office, pensioners day care centre, and childrens’ playground that currently occupy the site.

But speaking to reporters while out shopping, Mr Varadkar said he not given any thought yet to the school’s future needs and added that the arrival at the scene overnight of several bulldozers had nothing to do with him.

Stormont Academy Towers to be Saved, Again

The landmark twin clock-towers of our neighbouring school Stormont Academy look likely to be saved yet again, after supporters rallied to prevent their demolition for another five years at least.

There had been fears that the iconic towers – nicknamed “the dreary steeples of Tyrone and Fermanagh” – would be levelled to make way for new state-of-the-art teaching facilities, which experts say are much needed at the decrepit school (est. 1690).

But after a last-minute appeal to base instincts, the structures appear set to be reprieved again, with a new preservation order until at least 2022 as soon as our neighbouring Teresian School appoints its new principal.

Among other things, the towers are famous for their competing Latin mottoes “Neque Deditionem – Calcitrare Papam (“No surrender – kick the Pope”) and Britanni Vade in Domum Tuam (“Brits go home”), as well as for their distinctive architecture, which has been described as “hideous”.

The first principal and deputy first principal are expected to celebrate the reprieve with a joint rededication ceremony, in which Miss Foster (in the Fermanagh tower) and Miss O’Neill (Tyrone) exchanging traditional insults via megaphone.

I’m Running for the People Who Get Up Late in the Morning – Coveney

In a last-ditch appeal for support in his doomed campaign to become principal, Mr Coveney has promised that, if appointed, he will change the school’s daily opening hours to “11am”.
Whereas, speaking to a classroom of half-asleep teenagers, he warned that if Mr Vardakar won the top job, students could expect to be in “before dawn” from now on.

“He said he’s running for the people who get up early,” said Mr Coveney, to a chorus of boos from the few audience members alert enough to hear him. “So let it be known that I’m running for the ones who get up late,” he added, thumping the table and waking several more of the class, who then cheered loudly.

Polls have shown that Mr Coveney is much more popular with students than Mr Varadkar, which is why he has focused on them during the last week of his campaign. Mr Varadkar’s support, by contrast, is dominated by those who actually have a vote.


Enda’s Story – The newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

Enda-School

A message from the principal

Yet another extraordinary week here at St Enda’s, where we had not one but two very important international visitors proving yet again how well connected the school (by which I mean the principal) is on the world stage.
First we had Prince Charles, who demonstrated his hurling skills on our GAA pitch and, in the process, heroically resisted the urge to mistake the scene-stealing Mr Adams’s head for a sliotar, which I would have been very tempted to do.

But the Prince is a very patient man, clearly. On which subject: what a wonderful role model he provides for others as he waits calmly, year after year, for the throne to become vacant and never ever complains that the incumbent monarch is dragging things out on him, even though he’s now nearly 70.

And how inspired was it that when he planted those two sapling trees in the school gardens, he should have named them “Simon” and “Leo”, by chance.

Oh alright: I admit that was my suggestion. In any case, I now look forward to seeing the young saps – er saplings – grow and develop. Who knows, maybe in about 20 years, they’ll be big enough to dominate their surroundings.

Then, of course, we had our VIP guest from Brussels, Mr Barnier, who was here to address the school assembly on the challenges we face when our giant neighbouring campus Teresian College leaves the European scheme to go private.

True, his speech was about as exciting as one of Mr Donohoe’s school budget statements.

But I suppose not everyone can be blessed with my combination of intellectual rigour and rhetorical brilliance. And, as he said, he was here mainly to listen and learn about Ireland.

To this end, Mr Flanagan and our art teacher Miss Humphreys then took him on a “field” trip up to Monaghan where the concept of a “soft Border” was dramatically illustrated when their car had to be dug out of a boghole near Crossmaglen.

But they made it back to St Enda’s in one piece eventually, and Mr Barnier said the experience had given him some useful ideas on how he and Teresian representatives can reconcile the mutual desire from free movement between the schools with Mrs May’s plans for an electrified boundary fence, razor wire, and machine-gun posts.

Mixed Bag for St Enda’s in annual Teachers Awards

Congratulations to Mr Ross on being voted Most Improved Teacher at this year’s school awards, which were presented as usual by our good friends at Harry Magee Butchers.
Our PE teacher and bus driver was awarded a modest 2 out 10 by the adjudicators, but this was a huge increase on the zero he scored last year. So huge that not even our super-smart maths teacher, Mr Donohoe (who himself top-scored on 8 out of 10), could express it in percentage terms.

Mr Ross declined to comment on his improved performance, for which he wins a year’s supply of rashers from Magee’s and a specially commissioned sculpture of a prize sausage.

Miss Foster apologises

The former principal of Stormont Academy, Miss Foster, has apologised for a newspaper interview in which she called her former deputy, Miss O’Neill, a “blonde”.
She had been accused of sexism after making the reference during a word-association game with a reporter from the Sunday Undependable. But in a statement regretting her choice of terms, Miss Foster insisted she did not have a “sexist bone in my body” and said she had simply used the “wrong b-word” under pressure.

“I had intended to be mildly sectarian as usual – not sexist,” she added. “And of course, whenever I think of Shinners, the first thing that comes into my head is bombs. So in Michelle’s case I was thinking ‘bombshell’, but for some reason ‘blonde’ was the word that came out.”

Ms Foster’s statement added: “I can only apologise to members of the Fenian community and I assure everyone that this failure to insult them on racial and religious, rather than sexist, grounds will not happen again.”

Seducing Teachers Still Forbidden

Students are reminded that attempts to seduce teachers more than twice their age are still strongly discouraged at St Enda’s, regardless of the result of the recent French presidential elections.

This follows a number of complaints from middle-aged female teachers who say they have since been subject to an upsurge in amorous overtures from pushy 15-year-old boys planning careers in politics.

In one potentially serious incident, a teenager fell from the balcony of the staff-room, while clutching a rose between his teeth and a copy of his economic reform programme.

In a separate development, meanwhile, third years are advised that the planned class trip to Paris has been postponed until further notice.

Say hello to Mr Moran

The school welcomes a new staff member this week in Mr Kevin “Boxer” Moran, who will be assistant geography teacher, specialising in the subject of why his native Athlone floods every bloody winter.

Mr Moran replaces Mr Canney, who in keeping with their gentleman’s job-share agreement, was dragged kicking and screaming from the classroom last week after his year ended. The new man assures us that his unusual nickname is not a reflection on his attitude to corporal punishment, but he advises a students “not to push their luck”.


Enda’s Story – The newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

Enda-School

A Message from the Principal

For many generations here at St Enda’s, we have dreamed of the glorious day when our “Fourth Green Field” – the site on which Stormont Academy now stands – would be returned to us. So it was a very proud moment this week when, thanks to yours truly, that day moved a little closer.

I’ll come back to how I achieved this shortly. First a brief history lesson. Until 1921, the field was indeed green. It was used mostly for playing pitches, but with a large preserved wilderness area in the middle, nicknamed “Tyrone”, where many wildlife species thrived.

Long after the controversial events that led to it being partitioned from our campus, we still exercised a territorial claim over the land under Articles 2 and 3 of the school constitution. Then came the peace process of the 1990s, when we downgraded the claim to an aspiration that the two jurisdictions might be reunited by consent some day.

That remains our position. But the significance of this week’s decision by An Bord Pleanála is that if and when reunification occurs, the Fourth Green Field will now be automatically rezoned for use by St Enda’s, without the need for any further formalities.

It was a particularly proud moment for me, having single-handedly masterminded the negotiations over many weeks and months, despite also needing to deal with such petty distractions as people demanding a timetable for my resignation as principal.

As this historic breakthrough surely demonstrates, it’s still much too early to talk about me depriving St Enda’s of my vast experience any time soon. Clearly, my legendary negotiating skills will be needed even more in the months ahead as we seek ways to further stitch up Mrs May of our neighbouring Teresian College and her fellow Trexiteers.

Then there will be the challenge of dealing with the co-called “border pole”. No I don’t mean the poll with two Ls that Mr Adams is calling for. I mean the 40ft pole that, until recently, the Stormont principal, Ms Foster, was using to keep between her and Fenians at all time.

Happily she seems to have dropped this pole lately as part of a new charm offensive. I now look forward to holding friendly talks with her on a way forward, just as soon as she gets back from her Irish language and dancing course in Gweedore.

Anti-Fraud Campaign Defended

Special needs teacher Mr Varadkar has defended his campaign to expose welfare fraud at St Enda’s, insisting that abuse of the free sandwich scheme alone is costing the school up to €15 a year.

Using the slogan Welfare Cheats Cheat Us All, he has been encouraging anyone with information about false claims to report it anonymously via an official graffiti wall, formerly the back of the bicycle shed. But some critics have suggested the free aerosol cans and paint brushes provided to informants, plus the campaign’s expensive PR launch, cost at least as much as any fraud does.

One concerned commentator, speaking anonymously in a posh Cork accent, suggested Mr Varadkar was using the issue to highlight his right-wing credentials to the school board, which may be selecting a new principal soon.

Mrs May Shocks Students with Snap Exam

Second-year pupils at Teresian College have been left reeling by the news that they must sit their A-Level exams in June, three years earlier than expected.

School principal Mrs May, who had repeatedly ruled out premature exams, defended her U-turn on the issue by saying it would introduce clarity to negotiations on “Trexit”: the school’s controversial decision to leave the European scheme and go private.

Second-year students have strongly criticised the move, however, characterising it as “personally-motivated revenge” against a class with known left-wing sympathies. They say it follows a recent debate in which the motion “That this house believes Mrs May is a stupid bitch” was passed unanimously.

Observers believe the decision to call the June 8 exam was also swayed by the perceived weakness of the second-years’ form teacher, Mr Corbyn. Latest polls suggest his students would score an average of only 7% if their A-levels were held right now.

According to one well-placed Teresian staff member, Mrs May’s idea is that by exposing the second-years as “mutton-headed mugwumps”, the rest of the school population can be scared into line.

‘Taking all the nuns out of Irish politics’ – Public lecture

Veteran politician Bertie Ahern will give a public talk in the school hall next week on the subject of how to take the nuns out of Irish politics for good. Mr Ahern was one of a number of politicians who, 15 years ago, oversaw a decommissioning process in Ireland by which all unlicensed nuns were supposed to have been “put beyond use”.

The haul, which included hundreds of AK47 Carmelites, was believed to have been buried at midnight somewhere, in the presence of two clergymen. But as we now know, the process was not as complete as hoped. Mr Ahern will discuss the mistakes made and the lessons to be learned.

Mr Harris Injured in Angolan Nun-fight Incident

As you may have heard by now, our school doctor is recovering in hospital after a charity trek in Angola went badly wrong.

Details remain sketchy, but it’s believed he was one of a group taking part in a fundraiser for the new National Maternity Hospital, when they either trod on one of the many landlines for which Angola is infamous, or were caught in the crossfire of a nun-fight – or both.

Mr Harris’s condition is said to be “not career-threatening”, at least yet. But a visitor from the Irish Red Cross reported that his hair was temporarily out of place, and that he was said to have “aged visibly” overnight. “He looks almost like a grown-up now,” a spokesman said.


Enda’s Story – The newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

Enda-School

A Message from the Principal

Just when we thought Trexit (see below) was the worst thing we had to worry about in this part of the world, now it seems we’re under threat of nuclear war, and that even our local, Trump-owned golf course, Doombeg, might be in the firing line.

Everywhere you look around the globe these days, there are mad men in charge of things. If it’s not Bashar Al-Assad or Boko Haram, it’s Kim Jong-Un, with his lunatic haircut and his intercontinental missiles, threatening to unleash anarchy on the world.

Now there’s a new terror threat who’s been all over the newspapers recently: Al-an Sha’tter. Never mind the world order. Basher Al-an Sha’tter, as he’s known, appears to be dedicated to the overthrow of me, personally, and sounds increasingly demented on the subject.

He accuses me, for example, of having no ambition other than preserving my own job as principal for as long as possible. But of course this is nonsense.

As I have said repeatedly, I will be only too happy to leave when the time is right. And the time will be right when the school is no longer under existentialist threat from events elsewhere.
Previously, I have hinted at my readiness to stand down once I’ve steered St Enda’s through the preliminary Trexit negotiations: ensuring that neighbouring school Teresian College’s decision to go private does not adversely affect us.

Now, reluctantly, I am coming to the conclusion that this too may be premature. It would be irresponsible of me, clearly, to quit before St Enda’s was also fully prepared for the possibility of a nuclear apocalypse, however distant.

That’s why I have just now ordered our school maintenance manager to stock up on sandbags, iodine tablets and Geiger counters. As a further precaution, I have also changed the locks on the door to the principal’s office and replaced them with a set of codes, known only to me.

And taking a leaf from that Mr Erdogan in Turkey, I may also have to extend my constitution power slightly, requiring a school referendum. But I’ll update you about that in due course.

Reverend Sargent to lead retreat

A soon-to-be-ordained Church of Ireland priest, Rev Trevor Sargent will host a retreat for Leaving Cert students next week on the theme of “avoiding bad choices in life”.

Trev the Rev, as he is known affectionately, is himself a cautionary tale. A former gang leader, he once fronted the self-styled Green Party, notorious for their push-biker lifestyle and wild parties, often fuelled by so-called “herbal extracts”.

He also admits involvement in a series of incidents in 2007 that led to the Greens teaming up with a bigger gang, the dreaded Soldiers of Destiny.

The combined grouping later pulled off a national bankruptcy job together, although by then Sargent had stood down (sources say his surname had led to nervousness within the outlaws) from the leadership, in favour of a role as head of the catering unit.

Many of his former colleagues are now behind bars, although a few are behind nightclubs too. But happily, the Rev Sargent himself has been saved, and will be sharing his hard-won wisdom with those of you about to enter adult life.

Moral Compass Found – Owner Sought

A big thank you to former St Enda’s teacher Mr Shatter, who has handed in a moral compass he found recently while passing the school. If you think it might be yours, you collect it now from the staff office.

As Mr Shatter points out, the compass has the letters “EK” scraped onto it, which could be either initials or a message. Also, although it’s a vintage item and presumed to be of considerable value, it seems to have been very little used.

“It’s in pristine condition,” Mr Shatter said. “Certainly compared with mine, which I carry with me all the time and which is consequently quite worn.”

He added: “Whoever owns this one obviously hasn’t used it much, or perhaps ever. So of course, although he now has no moral compass, he probably doesn’t even realise it. My guess is he’s already lost somewhere, in darkest Mayo perhaps, and hasn’t realised.”

Candidates warn against bitterness in leadership campaign

The campaign to replace Mr Kenny as principal must not be allowed to degenerate into “civil war”, one of the leading candidates, Mr Coveney, has warned. He was speaking at the local annual Easter Commemoration, where he laid a wreath in honour of those who gave their lives for Ireland during the revolutionary period 1916-23.

His comments were echoed by rival candidate Mr Varadkar, who also laid a wreath at the spot, in the process nudging Mr Coveney’s slightly to the left.

“I agree with Simon,” Mr Varadkar said. “Just because he’s a weak-kneed liberal and I’m more in the school’s centre-right tradition doesn’t mean we can’t conduct our respective campaigns in a way that doesn’t leave a legacy of bitterness behind when I win.”

There followed a minor outbreak of scuffling as supporters of both men sought to reposition the respective wreaths. But peace was restored when Ms Fitzgerald intervened to release a flock of doves over the monument, which she said were intended to symbolise the cause of peace… “and to remind everyone that there is a compromise third candidate in this race”.

Mr Coveney and Mr Varadkar later posed for a conciliatory handshake in front of the statue of Michael Collins. Asked if there was anything in particular they had learned from Collins’s life, Mr Varadkar quipped: “The importance of a strong head of hair”.

Mr Coveney, for his part, noted that Collins was a Corkman. “He also did his best to avoid a civil war,” Mr Coveney added. “But as we know, he was frustrated in that ambition by a man with a foreign surname involving the letter V.”


Enda’s Story – The newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

Enda-School

A Message from the Principal:

Another Easter is almost upon us and, as the immortal saying has it, there’s a grand stretch in the evenings. But of course, that’s not all there’s been a grand stretch in over the past few weeks.

You may recall that as recently as mid-March, my days as principal seemed numbered. Well, they’re still numbered, of course. But as of now, nobody can say what that number is any more: not even our maths teacher, Mr Noonan.

I’m in for the short-to-medium haul, at least. And if it turns into the long haul – what with all those potential crises facing the school over the coming months – I remain willing to postpone the joys of retirement indefinitely.

But daylight hours and the twilight of my career aside, other things have been expanding lately too. My global popularity, for example. When last I checked, the number of “hits” for my Washington speech video had topped an incredible 50 million

To put this in perspective, it’s many multiples of the number of breathalyser tests the gardaí were pretending to have carried out. And that was the biggest figure anyone in the depot could think of, obviously.

As for merely “going viral”, as some people still claim my speech did, I refer you to Miss Mulherin’s raunchy dance video (see below), which I think has racked up a modest 10,000 or so views so far on Facebook.

In virus terms, that’s a fairly localised outbreak: the World Health Organisation wouldn’t be too worried. But 50 million hits is more of a global pandemic – a bit like the Spanish Flu of 1918. And the impressive thing is that, in contrast with Miss Mulherin, I did it without getting any of my kit off.

So by all means, let the young pretenders continue their marathon auditions to replace me as principal, eventually. For the moment, I’m still top of the hit parade. Let’s just hope that, in their attempts to go viral, Mr Varadkar and Mr Coveney can come up with anything even half as catchy as me

Charity Sleep-out for Simon (& Leo) Community Extended

The school would like to extend its best wishes to Mr Coveney and Mr Varadkar, who have had their recent fund-raising initiatives extended indefinitely due to unforeseen circumstances.
As you know, last month, Mr Coveney began what he thought would be a three- or four-week stake-out to raise money and support for the Simon Community, a charity that helps Cork people with special needs.

Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar launched a similar exercise on behalf of the Leo Community, a Dublin-based equivalent. Both expected their efforts to be over by Easter. But a change in circumstances means they may now be out in the cold until early summer at least, and possibly beyond.

The school assures them of all the support they need as they continue to suffer for a good cause. Principal Kenny has promised to visit both soon, bringing extra blankets and hot water bottles, “in case they’re still there next winter”.

Misunderstanding over X-rated videos – School apologises

St Enda’s has formally apologised to a number of students who had their mobile phones confiscated recently after they were suspected of watching soft-porn videos behind the bicycle shed.
Repeated staff room viewings of the apparently raunchy footage have instead revealed it to be a school staff member: Miss Mulherin, performing a rock-chick act at a recent function in Ballina Rugby Club.

The performance involved her lip-syncing to the Shania Twain hit Man! I Feel like a Woman while wearing a “man’s shirt, short skirt” ensemble, as the song specifies, along with knee-high leather boots.

Despite her attempts at provocative dancing, the school ruled the video essentially “harmless”, especially since she was just copying somebody else and not using her own words or actions. As Mr Kenny said: “That’s always a bonus in Michelle’s case.” A separate complaint from the parents committee, suggesting that Miss Mulherin had committed an act of indecency by stripping her shirt off at one point, was also dismissed.

“The garment in question was only white,” a spokesperson for the board of management pointed out. “ If it had been a blueshirt she stripped off in public, that would have been a sacking offence.”

Clocks Changing: A Reminder

Mr Kenny has asked us to remind everybody that the school clocks went forward last week, marking the change from winter to spring. All your phones and watches should now be set to PBT (Principal on Borrowed Time), which will continue until at least May, or possibly June, or – who knows? – maybe October.

School Bus Breakdown: Mr Ross was ‘actively monitoring’ situation

The school bus-driver has defended his role in the recent breakdown, saying that although he refused to intervene with the issues affecting the engine, he was “actively monitoring the problem” at all times.

Parents had expressed anger at Mr Ross’s apparent inaction during the day-long stoppage, which prevented many students attending class.

But Mr Ross has now released photo evidence of him standing beside the bus at several different times during the morning and afternoon, while lifting the bonnet and staring under it with a concerned expression. “That’s as much as I could do,” he explained, “without getting my hands dirty.

His stance has been supported, meanwhile, by local business tycoon Michael O’Leary, who said Mr Ross was “playing a blinder” by doing nothing. “People don’t need publicly subsidised transport systems anyway,” Mr O’Leary said, while being driven to work to via a bus lane in his privately owned taxi.


Enda’s Story – The newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

Enda-School

A message from the Principal

 

Flying into the US last week, I passed the Statue of Liberty with its famous inscription: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”

Americans seem to have forgotten that message lately. So in my own humble (and yet courageous) way, I decided to remind them of it during my visit to Mr Trump.

Of course, I had to deliver another message too on behalf of St Enda’s. Roughly speaking, it went as follows: “Leave me your rich, your entrepreneurial, your hidden profits yearning to be tax-free, among the wretched ethics of our teeming off-shores.”

But that was between the lines, designed for only Mr Trump and selected others to hear. Luckily, the local media didn’t notice it and focused instead on my performance as the immigrants’ champion.

Speaking of which, my announcement of a school referendum to allow our overseas alumni a vote in future elections for honorary president seems to have gone down well, too. It’s not like it would cost us much, anyway. The role is purely honorary.

But when Yanks hear the word “president”, they think it means something (hilariously, they also think Irish “senators” are important people). So they were suitably impressed by my plan to let the wretched refuse, etc, a say in elections.

The bowl of shamrock was also well received. As for the bottom line of my visit – continued sponsorship of St Enda’s by rich Americans, including Trump himself – I’m fairly confident that I struck the right balance between the “sham”, as it were, and the “rock”.

In any case I have been re-energised by the trip. And yes, as promised, I will soon clarify my intentions vis a vis a timetable for stepping down as principal. But I know that all of you, especially Leo and Simon, will also be delighted to hear that my batteries are now fully recharged and that I am more ready than ever to tackle the many challenges facing us in the weeks, months, (or who knows?) that I have left.

Teacher’s Row over School Sports Day

The upcoming schools sports has become mired in controversy after Mr Varadkar questioned training methods used in the eagerly awaited teachers’ egg-and-spoon race, for which Mr Coveney is the favourite.

The row centres on Mr Coveney’s alleged use of a silver spoon, and his technique (according to Mr Varadkar) of carrying the silver spoon in his mouth at all times. Mr Varadkar said this highlighted the need for competitors in the event to reveal details of their financial backing.

After checking the rulebook, however, adjudicators found there was no reason competitors could not have silver cutlery, in their mouths or otherwise. And welcoming this judgment, Mr Coveney suggested the objections had been designed only to draw unwelcome attention to his wealthy background.

But it’s understood that Mr Varadkar was in turn annoyed by recent commentary in the local media relating to another scheduled event in the sports-day: the sack-race doubles. A source close to the camp blamed Coveney supporters for press stories making an issue about Mr Varadkar’s partner. “Who Leo is in the sack with is nobody’s business,” the source said.

Stories from the life of our patron saint: No 94

In the spring of the year 517AD, when he was very old, St Enda told his followers his final days were approaching. And so saying, he went into the wilderness to pray.

There was great sadness among his community but also some excitement as the more ambitious young monks competed to inherit his spiritual leadership, with a majority of supporters appearing to favour Simon “the steadfast” over Leo “the loopy”.

When some weeks had passed without the holy man’s return, the community prepared itself for the worst. But one day, a duck with a halo appeared in the monastery farmyard. And when it was seen to be a lame duck, the monks knew Enda had returned.

“Are you dead or alive?” they asked him, reverently. But the duck’s answer was cryptic. “As long as troubles beset the land, I will always be with you,” he said. And then, temporarily recovering from his lameness, he flew back into the wilderness (or possibly Mayo).

Great was the rejoicing among the community that Enda had not yet forsaken it, although great also was the confusion about what exactly he meant when he said he would “always be with” them.

Some, however, feared the work of the devil in the apparition. And according to the annals, it was at around this time that either Leo or Simon, or both, first preached of the necessity for a policy of shooting all ducks on sight.

Chaos in Teresian as Ms Sturgeon calls for Repeat Leaving Cert

Our neighbouring campus, Teresian School, has again been thrown into utter confusion after one of its constituent colleges, St Andrew’s, announced plans for a mass sitting of the repeat Leaving Cert next year.

St Andrew’s principal, Ms Sturgeon had been publicly unhappy about the results of the original Leaving Cert exam, held in 2014.

But the timing of her announcement has caused grave embarrassment for Teresian head Mrs May, coming just as her entire campus was given an F-minus for its performance in the prestigious Brexit Baccalaureate, during which they were unable to answer even the simplest questions on the paper.

Mrs May’s plans had already been complicated by the recent collapse of the assembly hall in Stormont Academy, where reconstruction is to take several months.

St Enda’s is now considering the erection of a giant screen between our campus and Mrs May’s, to prevent the ongoing circus over there distracting our students from their studies.


Enda’s Story – The newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

Enda-School

A Message from the Principal

By the time some of you read this, I may be on a plane to Washington for my meeting with the controversial Mr Trump. I will of course be working throughout the flight: marking exam papers, replying to emails and so on. But if I do find myself with a spare hour or two before arriving in the US, I hope to spend it re-watching one of my all-time favourite movies: the 1939 classic Mr Smith Goes to Washington.

For those who haven’t seen it, the film is about an idealistic but apparently naive man (played by the great James Stewart) who is nominated to fill a temporary vacancy in the US Senate by powerful interests who think he will be an innocent front for their nefarious plans.

And indeed, for a time, he seems out of his depth in politics. He even considers stepping down voluntarily near the end! But then – Plot Spoiler Alert! – he decides to persevere with his mission and, in a triumphant speech, convinces everyone that he was right about everything and they were wrong.

I’ll leave Mr Varadkar and Mr Coveney to decide whether there are any long-term parallels between me and the Stewart character (apart from our film star looks, of course). For now, I’m only interested in what the film tells us about the ability of one, pure-hearted man to face down a vast, evil conspiracy.

So yes, I will be presenting Mr Trump with a bowl of shamrock next week, continuing a great Irish tradition. And yes, in the hopes that he might grant our school sponsorship or other favours, I will observe a great American tradition too, of shamelessly kissing ass.

But my critics can rest assured, I will not leave Washington without also delivering a stirring speech, from the depths of my soul, designed to show Mr Trump the error of his ways. If it doesn’t win an Oscar, so be it. Jimmy Stewart didn’t win either, as it happens.

In case you’re interested, he was pipped that year by Robert Donat, who (it says here) played the lead role in Goodbye, Mr Chips. Ah yes, I remember that one too. The poignant story of an ageing school teacher, coming to the end of an epic career – sob. I have tears in my eyes just thinking about it.


Sugar Tax to be ‘Ringfenced’

Our maths and home economics teacher, Mr Noonan, has bowed to pressure from parents to have proceeds from his controversial new “sugar tax” ringfenced for measures aimed at tackling childhood obesity.

Under the initial proposals, the price of soft drinks, crisps and sweets from the school’s vending machine were to be doubled, with the school retaining the profits for general funds.
This will still happen under the revised scheme. But the vending machine will now be surrounded by a “ringfence”, ensuring that little fatties who use the service will at least get some exercise while doing so.


Miss Foster savaged by crocodile as trip to Zoo goes badly wrong

A NUMBER of teachers from the neighbouring Stormont Academy are still being treated in hospital after last week’s disastrous visit to Belfast Zoo.

The most seriously injured was Miss Foster, who was attacked by a crocodile that she trod on, mistaking it for a log. There were fears for a time that she might lose her seat. But a team of surgeons working around the clock managed to reattach both buttocks successfully.

She is now expected to be able to sit down again within months, although her condition remains “career-threatening”.  Meanwhile, those undergoing emergency treatment also include the school’s Creationist Biology teacher Nelson McCausland.

Mr McCausland was trying to rewrite signs on the gorilla enclosure, dismissing claims that man descended from the apes, when he was dragged through a hole in a fence by one of the inmates. He was badly beaten by the gorilla, first at chess and later scrabble, before being rescued. A spokesman said his condition was now evolving for the better.


An Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s Relationship with the Truth

THE PRINCIPAL has angrily rejected a claim by former teacher Mr Shatter that he has “only a casual relationship with the truth”. Mr Kenny insisted that, on the contrary, he was “fully wedded” to the truth, and has been since a civil ceremony in Castlebar in 1975.

Mr Shatter made the allegation after a legal ruling on the circumstances that led to his early retirement, three years ago, for health reasons.

At the time, it was thought he had “fallen on his sword” during a school production of Macbeth. He himself believed this to be the case and he had at first accepted the word of Mr Kenny, during his retirement-watch presentation, that the event was a “tragedy of Shakespearean proportions”.

But since then, Mr Shatter said, CCTV footage from backstage on the night in question had shown Mr Kenny behaving suspiciously, “with a dagger”.

There was also evidence that the Principal had pushed some scenery on top of Mr Shatter just before the sword “accident”. Furthermore, medics had since been unable to explain why the victim had stab wounds to the back as well as the front.

Rejecting all such claims as “fiction”, Mr Kenny reiterated his “undying fidelity” to the truth. He admitted he was unable to produce a marriage certificate from the 1975 ceremony because his dog had eaten it. But he said his “ring-man”, Michael Ring, could testify to the event, and would do so if he still knew what was good for him.


Enda’s Story – The newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

Enda-School

A Message from the Principal

As another Lent approaches, it’s time for us all to decide what, if anything, we want to give up this year. Obviously, in light of recent events, this is a bigger than usual question for me.
Back home in Mayo during the mid-term break, I made a list of things I’d be only too happy to give up in 2017. The constant back-biting of my critics is one. Being the whipping boy for every mistake made in Enda’s is another. Getting constantly dragged into that row in the Garda Station next door (see below), even though it should have nothing to do with me, is a third.

I could also easily give up on waiting for some signs of gratitude or loyalty from the many St Enda’s staff members who owe everything they have to me. But of course, all of that would mean relinquishing my job as principal, too.

And apart from considerations such as the job’s petty rewards – money, glamour, satiation of naked lust for power, etc – I have to ask myself whether depriving the school of my leadership at this time would not, deep down, be selfish.

Soon it will be Easter, when we commemorate the man who made the ultimate sacrifice for the common good. So like all Christians, I must ask myself: what would Jesus do in this position?
Naturally, I’m reluctant to compare myself with the Messiah (and in any case, it’s too early yet to decide which of Leo or Simon would be Judas in the metaphor).

But rightly or wrongly, many people do see me as something of a saviour for the way I turned the school around when it was a financial ruin. Much as I might be entitled to a well-earned retirement, I also have to consider whether I would be letting down my flock by retiring now.

In making this momentous decision, I will as always guided by my greatest adviser – Fionnuala – who forever has my best interests at heart. She’s already concerned about the great strain my mission at St Enda’s puts me under. Before a staffroom meeting last week, for example, she took me aside and said she was worried about recent lapses in my short-term memory.

“Who are you?” I replied. But that was just a little joke. I told her not to worry and assured her that when it was time to retire, I would know. Then I went into the meeting where I was my usual masterful self.

Actually, it might have been after the meeting that Fionnuala and I had that conversation. Or maybe we didn’t discuss it in person at all. It could have been her officials that mentioned it to mine. Yeah, that was probably it.

But where was I?

Oh yes, I was talking about what I need to give up for Lent this year. Hmm. That’s always a tough one. I think, all things considered, I’ll go with sweets.


‘Missing’ Child Found in Garda Locker – Clerical Error Blamed

A child reported missing from the St Enda’s kindergarten last week has turned up safe and well in the local garda station after what appears to have been an innocent “cut-and-paste” error.
The kindergarten supervisor, Ms Zappone, said the child – who is unusually thin – had accidentally slipped into a file being updated as part of routine garda vetting procedures.

Luckily the mistake was noticed after only a few days and the victim has since made a complete recovery, apart from malnutrition, claustrophobia, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

In the meantime, neither Ms Zappone nor the garda station can explain how the file ended up in the locker of Sgt Maurice McCabe, the man at the centre of the so-called “whistleblower” controversy.

But this will now be the subject of an independent inquiry, which may also investigate a separate incident at the crèche, during cleaning operations, in which another child was swept under a carpet.


WhatsApp? – a warning on dangers of social media

The principal has asked us to remind students and staff of the risks of using social media, especially the school’s WhatsApp forum, introduced last year by Mr Varadkar. Mr Kenny’s warning follows the recent embarrassing leak to media of a What’s App Valentine’s Day message, apparently involving a love triangle of St Enda’s staff members, thinly disguised by their user names of Frances, Simon and Charlie.

“I know it was Leako – sorry, I mean Leo’s idea to drag school communications into the 21st century,” Mr Kenny said. “But as this incident proves, you just can’t trust social welfare ministers – er, I mean, social media networks to safeguard your privacy.”

The principal called for a return to traditional communication techniques, including the passage of notes under desks. “Or if anybody has any dark secrets to reveal about, say, Mr Varadkar,” he added, “why not write it on the walls of the school toilets, like we used to?”


The Whistleblower Controversy for Beginners

Younger students and some of the new teachers may be mystified at the ongoing Whistleblower controversy, which continues to bedevil the school. So we thought a recap might be useful.

The trouble all started at a Garda rugby match a few years ago, on the pitches adjoining St Enda’s. The game was between a team of “old-school” gardaí, and a new reformist element. Despite conceding a record 27 penalties in the opening 40 minutes, the old boys somehow led 3-0 at half time, largely because the penalty points kept being mysteriously wiped from the scoreboard.

But when, early in the second half, the referee Maurice McCabe intervened to have the points restored, putting the reformers 81-3 ahead, all hell broke loose. In the resulting fracas, the captain of the old-school team was sent off and a St Enda’s teacher, Mr Shatter, suffered career-ending injuries.

Mr McCabe later had to have his whistle surgically removed. But the bad feeling next door continues to impinge on life in St Enda’s. New security responses are being considered, including the separation of the Garda station and school campuses with a 40-foot pole.


Enda’s Story – The newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

Enda-School

A Message from the Principal

Meteorologists may disagree – and so may the weather. But February is upon us and, according to the old Celtic calendar, that means spring has sprung.Time for such ancient Irish traditions as whitewashing walls, letting cattle out to pasture and convincing ourselves yet again that this is the year Mayo will win an All-Ireland.

Here at St Enda’s, of course, it’s also time to start worrying about the Leaving Cert mocks. Speaking of which, I was chatting to Mrs May at the European School Principals Summit in Malta at the weekend, and she told me an amusing story about her school’s recent exams.

Among the essay subjects was “Explain what you understand as the significance of Brexit”. As Mrs May explained: “We were hoping they’d come up with a few ideas, because God knows, we haven’t a clue ourselves.” But instead, every student just wrote: “Brexit means Brexit.” And following legal advice, they all had to be given an A+.

Students have since been issued with a “white paper” on the subject, she adds. “So come the real Leaving, they’ll have to think of something to fill it, or else.”

Her impending departure from the union made it a sad occasion in Malta, although I lightened things up a bit during the post-summit party. We were singing songs by then and a teary-eyed Mrs May suggested The Parting Glass. “Well if you’re offering,” says I, “I’ll have a triple brandy – the most expensive they have.” All the other leaders followed suit, and the Brits got stuck with the bill – €60bn.

Anyway, getting back to spring, this is also the time of year we in Ireland visit the swamp: not to drain it (God forbid), but to collect rushes for making St Bridget’s crosses. I love rushes – not when it comes to retirement, obviously – there’s still no rush with that. Bog rushes, I mean.

I love the way they’re so strong yet malleable, capable of bending whichever way the wind blows, and yet just firm enough to be formed into whatever shape is required. That’s why, for my big trip to Washington next month, I’m thinking of dispensing with the usual shamrock.

“Maybe this year, I’ll being a bowl of rushes instead, and fold them into whatever shapes Mr Trump wants to see.


Rugby Bus Delay – Not Mr Ross’s fault

Hard luck to the St Enda’s senior rugby team, which lost to St Nicola’s of Scotland in the annual Six Nations School Championship in Edinburgh at the weekend. Let’s hope they have better luck in Rome next Saturday.

In the meantime, our sports team manager and bus driver Mr Ross has asked us to point out that, contrary to some media reports, he was in no way to blame for the team’s delayed arrival at Murrayfield, which seemed to set the tone for their subsequent performance.

“I was in the VIP lounge at the time, having a champagne lunch,” he told us, producing as evidence an iPhone selfie taken alongside the St Nicola’s rugby patron, Princess Anne. “This is one sporting debacle you can’t pin on me.”

Back home, meanwhile, Mr Ross refused to be drawn on what if any action he plans to prevent the school bus strike threatened from February 20. But informed sources predicted that he would not be the driving seat on that occasion either.


New Gymnastics Instructor

A warm welcome to Mr Stephen Donnelly who has joined the school staff on a part-time basis. Like Mr Martin, he will now help us out with occasional lectures (mostly on the New Politics), while also acting as Mr Martin’s assistant in the gym.

In fact, it was Mr Donnelly’s gymnastics skills that recommended him for the job. Based on his CV, which suggested the possession of principles, he had previously been ruled out for a full-time position in St Enda’s.

But he demonstrated impressive flexibility during an interview with Mr Martin, which included a foot-perfect dismount from the (high) horse, followed by a swift, cross-the-floor exercise, and then a series of somersaults.

It’s understood that Mr Donnelly was attracted by the possibility of Mr Martin setting up his own school in due course, where there may be big jobs available. If that doesn’t work, now that he’s proven his footwork, a future full-time role in St Enda’s cannot be ruled out.


Stories from the life of our patron saint – No 5 King Donald and the Shamrock

In the year 517AD, according to the Annals of the Four Masters, the people of Ireland were beset by a terrible foreign King, known as Donald of the Evil Eye, or Donald “the Rump” (so-called because of the body part he expected visiting leaders to kiss).

A pagan who worshipped only gold, King Donald spread fear wherever he went, grabbing women by “their feline parts” (in the Four Masters’ curious phrase) and threatening dire retribution against men.

It was said that he punished his victims in a most cruel manner, turning them into human ammunition for use against his enemies. After his soldiers stuffed the victims into the barrels of cannons, he himself would light the fuse. Then as the prisoner went shooting across the castle ramparts, Donald would say: “You’re fired!”

But Enda believed he could convert this evil king. So armed only with his mitre and a bowl of shamrock, he visited Donald’s castle. Many of his followers wept with fear, expecting him to be martyred. Others wept with shame, believing he was secretly intent on posterior kissing.

In the event, according to the annals, he miraculously converted Donald to Christianity. Indeed, it is said that when Enda accidentally plunged the end of his mitre through the king’s foot while explaining the shamrock’s significance, Donald mistook this for part of the initiation and endured the pain without complaint.

There is, however, some dispute about this part of the story. In an alternative-fact tradition, handed down in the memoirs of a scribe nick-named “Sean of the Spices”, King Donald did not endure the pain willingly. Instead, flying into a rage, he inserted the mitre in a part of the Saint “where the sun shineth not”. And although Enda escaped the castle without being fired, it was many months afterwards before he could sit down again.


Enda’s Story – The newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

A message from the principal

Well, I hope you all had a great Christmas and that your batteries are now fully recharged. But 2017 is already upon us, so it’s time to take down the decorations and recycle the tree. It’s also time to pack away the crib for another 12 months, not that my critics are ever ready to do that: cribbing is a year-round activity for them, I’ve noticed.

Among other things, this will be the Chinese Year of the Rooster. So, as the person who still rules the roost around here, allow me to be the first to say “Cock-a-doodle-doo” to the year ahead, especially to anyone who’s after my job.

We can learn much from the Chinese, including respect for the wisdom of age. As an illustrious predecessor of mine once said, when people were suggesting it was time for him to retire: “Some of those Chinese leaders go on until they’re 80 or 90.” I may not stay that long myself. But for the Year of the Rooster, at least, I intend to keep my pecker up. Anyone who thinks he’s a bigger cock than me will have to prove it.

Speaking of which (and speaking of things from the Far East), I see that yet another opinion poll over Christmas has confirmed Mr Varadkar as the leading candidate to replace me as principal, eventually.

It also suggested – bizarrely – that he could win more “seats” than I could, as if running St Enda’s was all about furniture provision. On the contrary: just ask our school doctor, Mr Harris, who currently has a record number of trolleys in action over at the infirmary, and much good it’s doing him.

No, there’s a lot more involved in this job than mere seating arrangements: although come to think of it, Mr Fitzmaurice may need quite a few new chairs in his class to deal with all those Syrian kids we’ve just landed on him at short notice.

Yes, that was a bit sudden, I suppose. But Christmas is by tradition a time for dealing with the emergency accommodation needs of middle-eastern families. So I’d urge Mr Fitzmaurice to bear than in mind before he packs one kind of crib away and starts assembling another.

In the meantime, I will ask Mr Varadkar – with great contacts in the furniture industry – to find the extra chairs needed. And if there’s a temporary shortfall, no doubt Mr Harris can roll something out too.


Sleep-out for homeless a great success. Sleep-in by homeless not so much.

Congratulations to our transition year pupils who raised several hundred euro for homeless charities with their annual sleep-out on the streets over Christmas. Well done too to Mr Coveney who supervised the group and ensured that, contrary to what some students had hoped, their experiment in living rough did not include uncontrolled drinking and substance abuse.

Their experience was not entirely without hardship, however: we hear Mr Coveney brought his guitar along and insisted on treating them to repeated renditions of Streets of London and several other classics from his repertoire. Such are the indignities of street living.

In the meantime, St Enda’s reiterates its condemnation of those so-called activists who took over a disused building on the school grounds over Christmas and put actual homeless people in it. This action appears to have raised no money for homeless charities, whatever, while setting a dangerous example. A court eviction order has been secured and the matter is now in the hands of the gardaí.


Shunning in the Corridors – a warning

It’s unfortunate that we have to remind everyone yet again of one of the basic rules of behaviour at St Enda’s: that there must be no shunning in the corridors at any time.

This warning follows a serious incident before Christmas in which our school secretary, Ms Doherty, had her nose put seriously out of joint by contact with the cold shoulder of a member of the ladies Gaelic football team, Ms McEntee.

We are investigating reports that Ms Doherty then reacted by taking a swing at Ms McEntee with a rolled-up copy of The Irish Times. In any case, Ms McEntee is now also on a trolley at the infirmary, suffering from a bad case of chief-whiplash.

The incident happened in the so-called Meath East corridor: a notoriously narrow stretch of hallway with no room for two ambitious women to pass each other in opposite directions safely. The area has now been cordoned off while skin and hair samples are collected.


Renewable Hate Incentive: Ms Foster refuses to stand aside

The principal of our small neighbouring school, Stormont Academy, has resisted calls to stand aside pending an investigation into her role in the so-called RHI scandal.

Ms Foster said she had done nothing wrong and would not be giving into pressure from “misogynists”, “Fenians”, “Lundys” or any other group she could think of the mere mention of which would force her atavistic core supporters to unite behind her.

Academy management has been under severe pressure for several weeks over the Renewable Hate Incentive, which was supposed to be an environmentally-friendly heating scheme, but due to a disastrous misprint in legal documents, turned into a campaign of sectarianism instead.

Before the scandal broke, there were signs that Catholics and Protestants at the cross-community school were putting decades of bitterness behind them and beginning to get along.

Now the Renewable Hate Incentive appears to have revived sectarianism and put it on a sustainable footing, promising lucrative returns to bigots, on minimal investment, for many years to come.


Enda’s Story – The newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

A message from the principal:

Enda Kenny

It’s hard to believe that, according to the latest school opinion poll, 30 per cent of you believe Mr Martin should be Principal.

But even if this extraordinary figure is accurate, it needs to be considered in the context of another of the poll’s results: that a whopping 81 per cent of students and staff now favour the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Clearly, those who of you who think Mr Martin could do my job must be smoking too much “weed” already.  And if you’re all smoking it to treat some pre-existing medical condition, especially of the psychiatric kind, that would not surprise me either.

Back in the real (non-hallucinatory) world, meanwhile, I will not be going anywhere soon.  Like that million-euro stud greyhound we were all reading about in the newspapers recently, I am back in my kennels for Christmas, still the top dog.

I won’t go so far as to quote those appalling rap artists that so many students listen to, because if I did, I might suggest something to the effect that all would-be contenders for the top job are currently my “bitches”.  Suffice to say that, if there is any public service to be done in the foreseeable future, I’ll be doing the servicing.

But getting back to the subject of alleged criminal activity, I also need to say something here about the question of discipline outside the school grounds.  Which, I would remind members of the St Enda’s Parents Committee, is a matter for the authorities, and not something they should ever take into their own hands.

This message is intended especially for Mr Adams, and the so-called Parents’ Independent Representative Association (PIRA), of which he claims never to have been a member.

Whatever the truth of that, recent news reports about their activities, and his intermediary role in them, represent a threat to the rule of law.  Even worse, they represent a threat to make Mr Martin look good, which may also explain his recent surge of popularity, assuming any of his poll supporters are not on drugs.

But enough of that for now. This is the last newsletter of a turbulent year. So let me end on a more optimist note.  To paraphrase John Lennon: “Merry Christmas, War (and the battle to replace me as principal anytime soon) is over”.  See you all in 2017.

Ross warns of school bus insolvency threat

Shane Ross

The St Enda’s bus driver Mr Ross has warned that his service could be insolvent within two years unless some “unpopular decisions” are made.

He declined to say what such decisions might involve, but it’s understood they may relate to the less economic parts of the route, including Waterford, where the bus goes every day, purely to accommodate one member of the school’s support staff.

An unnamed source close to Mr Ross admitted that the question of Mr Halligan’s continued inclusion on the passenger list was being looked at carefully.  “There may come a time,” the source continued in a plummy south Dublin accent, “when it’s just too much of a luxury to keep John on board”.

In a separate development, meanwhile, it’s believed that Mr Ross has belatedly accepted the school attorney’s advice that he cannot drive on both sides of the road simultaneously.

After a number of incidents earlier this Autumn in which he nearly met himself coming back, Ms Whelan cautioned him that all members of St Enda’s staff were expected to operate on the right of the central meridian at all times.

Mr Ross has agreed to bind by this rule in 2017, “except during emergencies, when I see an unpopular issue looming and I need to take urgent avoidance.”

School Crèche: Tenders invited

Tenders are invited for the running of the St Enda’s crèche, which will commence operations in the New Year. The facility is designed for the children of teachers, but may also temporarily accommodate unruly members of staff, especially the so-called “Independent Alliance”, every time they throw their toys out of the pram.  Persons wishing to tender are advised that they will be dealing with some of Ireland’s noisiest and pushiest children. Candidates are expected to have advanced child-minding qualifications and the patience of a saint. Application forms can be collected from the Principal’s office (just beside the St Enda’s Rebuilding Fund donation box — hint hint).

Scary Man seen near school may be former principal

Our semi-official support teacher Mr Martin informs us that the dishevelled man, possibly wielding a knife, who has been seen lurking around the neighbourhood in recent days, may be the former principle of a school that preceded this one.

Younger students will not remember, but what is now St Enda’s used to be the site of St Bartholomew’s College, or “Bertie’s” for short, which operated for many years before going up in flames one night back in the early years of the century.

The principal disappeared mysteriously soon afterwards and has not been heard of since. According to some reports, he was being detained in a high-security psychiatric hospital, wearing a strait-jacket. In others, he was just lying low in the snug of a pub in Drumcondra

Either way, Mr Martin warns us that he may now be on a revenge mission, a la Michael Myers in Halloween. Students and staff are advised not to approach him, even with a 40-foot pole.
“Above all,” Mr Martin adds: “Don’t listen to his insane claims about how much I knew about the running of St Bertie’s.  I was only a junior member of staff, running the first-aid clinic. They never even let me into the staff room – I swear.”



Enda’s Story – The newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

A Message from the Principal

enda-dogA dog is not just for Christmas, as we all know. But although that’s normally a warning issued to those planning to buy puppies as presents, it can sometimes apply to old dogs too.

I know, because I am such an old dog. And for a while now, I’ve been unable to avoid overhearing discussions from my “owners” (ie the Board of Management) about the possibility of getting rid of me in the new year and replacing me with something younger.

In a way, I can understand the temptation. You visit a dog shelter somewhere and you see a little pup with big imploring eyes and a cute name (probably “Leo”) looking back at you. Everything about him says: “Pick me! Pick me!” So of course you’re tempted

Or you see a lovable mongrel, called Simon, let’s say. He’s part-Greystones – I mean, greyhound – part-Corgi (as in Contae Corcaigh) and you find yourself wondering how he might turn out eventually, given proper nourishment and regular worm doses.

Or maybe it’s a well-bred bitch you’re tempted by: a bit more mature than the others, perhaps, but different from anything the other families in your neighbourhood have, and with a posh name (eg Frances) to boot.

Then you look at your faithful, trusty old pal, Enda: a Mayo Blue (a bit like a Kerry Blue, only a rarer breed and with a distinctive blue coat). And you think, well, we’re going to lose him sooner or later. Why don’t we put him down now, humanely, before it gets messy?

But then you look closer (I hope), and you notice that despite his age, Enda still has remarkably few grey hairs. He has no flies on him yet, either. He can still bark when necessary.

And look at those teeth: he may not have used them much lately, but there’s plenty of bite left in them if unwary postmen, gardaí, or other uniformed public service intruders come wandering up the (Lansdowne) road in the near future, as they surely will, looking for money.

Now, suddenly, the cute mongrels or well-bred britches don’t look quite so good anymore. You’re probably thinking instead: there’s life in the old dog yet. And you’re right.

That’s why, if anyone asks, the principal is now letting it be known that he’s not going anywhere in the new year, or the year after that. Maybe come 2018, when he’ll be nearly 70 (in human years), he’ll think about retirement. Or maybe not.

In the meantime, his message to everyone is: “Wuff, Wuff” (or in English, “Happy Christmas”).

Nothing Suspicious about Cycling Club’s Lotto Win

Congratulations to the local cycling club on scooping €20,000 in the St Enda’s annual lottery last week. By a happy chance, the club’s membership includes our principal. And the result was doubly coincidental, because who should have picked out the winning ticket only Mr Kenny himself!

enda-cyclingAs he commented on this turn of events: “What were the chances?” But as he quickly added, before the maths teacher could say anything: “That was a rhetorical question, Mr Noonan – no need to answer.”

Go Mairead!

All at St Enda’s wish the best of luck to our former teacher-turned-Eurocrat, Mairead McGuinness, who has declared her candidacy for some big job or other out in Brussels. We have no doubt she’ll win. But either way, Mairead is an inspiring example of how, if you have the right attitude, a disadvantaged background should not hold you back in life.

Stricken since birth with an Ardee accent, she suffered another potentially crippling blow in her early 30s when an addiction to publicity led her to become presenter of RTÉ’s Celebrity Farm.  Recovery from the experience necessitated months of trauma counselling – and that was just for viewers.

But she somehow put this embarrassment behind her, first to become a highly-respected agricultural science teacher at St Enda’s, where she was voted “staff member most likely to gut you if you get in her way”. After that, she moved to the continent, where she has become extraordinarily popular with those who don’t speak English as a first language and therefore have no idea how annoying she sounds.

Visit from Miss Sturgeon

19/6/2015 Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny met with the First Minister of Scotland, The Right Honourable Nicola Sturgeon MSP in Government Buildings today ahead of the British-Irish Council (BIC) Summit. Photo: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

A big thank you to Miss Sturgeon, principal of our neighbouring St Andrew’s Academy, for her very interesting address to the general assembly this week. As you’ll be aware, St Andrew’s is the junior feeder school for the Teresian College, now in the process of going private. It’s officially located on Teresian property, although this is now the subject of some dispute.

So it was useful to hear Miss Sturgeon’s perspective on the two schools’ differences and how they might impinge on St Enda’s. As outlined to the assembly, her plans include rebuilding the traditional boundary wall (“Hadrian’s”) between her school and Ms May’s; asserting ownership of the oil tanks, currently on St Andrew’s territory: and making haggis a compulsory part of the school-lunch menu.

In his responding remarks, Mr Kenny said it was clear to him that the Teresians’ planned exit of the public system could not happen within the two-year timeframe its exponents demanded. In the meantime, he assured Miss Sturgeon of his assistance in matters of common interest, such as their joint desire to shaft Ms May as thoroughly as possible at every turn.


Enda’s Story The newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

A Message from the Principal

Enda Kenny

Enda Kenny

Well, thank goodness Halloween is over for another year. I don’t mind little scamps knocking on my door at all hours and demanding goodies, or else, in the name of fun. But is it my imagination or did they seem to be a little more menacing than usual this year?

First we had a group dressed up as bus drivers and being genuinely offensive, so that I was only too happy to give them whatever they wanted to go away. Then it was a gang of self-styled “gardaí”, warning they’d turn a blind eye to burglars if we didn’t full their buckets now. After that, it was teachers – the scary secondary-school kind – threatening general anarchy.

It got to the stage where I was afraid to answer the doorbell in case of who’d come next. Luckily, I always keep a bucket of sand in the house in case of fires. So I was able to stick my head in it for a while, chanting the phrase “Lansdowne Road Agreement” over and over, until things calmed down.

Then there was the terrible nightmare I had after falling asleep while watching Friday the Thirteenth Part 10 on Netflix. I dreamt I had hired a new female teacher called Mary Mitchell O’Connor, purely on the grounds that it would make me look more like a feminist.

But then she started doing mad things such as driving her car into the school swimming pool and in general appearing hopelessly incompetent. Soon I could hear people whispering about her in the corridors everywhere. Then the whispering got louder and louder until finally I realised with horror that the voices were actually whispering about me!

The weirdest part of the dream is at one point I remember thinking: this is just a dream – don’t worry. And moments later, sure enough, I woke up. But then – aargh! – I realised that I really had given Mary Mitchell O’Connor a job. What the hell was I thinking?

Oh well. Some people are slower to deliver on their promise than others. Just look at me. Hard as it is to believe these days, I used to be dismissed as something of a lightweight. The image persisted for the first 41 years of my career. But as Bob Monkhouse said about the people who once laughed at his ambition to become a comedian: “They’re not laughing now!”

I’m confident Ms Mitchell O’Connor will find her feet eventually (hint: start at your knees, Mary, and work downwards). In the meantime, I have taken the decision to ban whispering in the school corridors, with immediate effect.


Pornography – why we need a special debate

The principal has called for a school-wide conversation about pornography to discuss how the ubiquity of such material on the internet is affecting young minds and what we can do about it.
This is not just a reaction to the recent downloading of “Debbie Does Dallas” on his iPad after he had left it in the sixth years’ classroom by mistake – although the investigation into that incident continues.

No, Mr Kenny is genuinely concerned about the long-term damage that pornography may do to young people’s ability to form relationships, as well as the short-term damage to their education caused by the periods they spend locked in the toilet cubicles with their iPhones.

Also, a school-wide conversation about pornography might help to distract from the school-wide conversation on abortion that he began earlier this year and that he has since delegated to a students’ assembly which is due to report on the issue in 2017 – unless everybody forgets about it in the meantime, which would be the ideal outcome.


Film & TV – Guest critic Simon Coveney writes:

simon coveneyIt was indeed apt that the horror documentary “Enda – Last Man Standing” should be shown at Halloween.  The school’s zombie-like future, if it’s allowed to limp on indefinitely under the current lame-duck leadership, was made ghoulishly clear.

But the prospect of Vrad the Impaler, lurking in the shadows, ready to take over, was even worse.

It was very clear that what St Enda’s really needs is (review continued or page 94, or in editor’s waste-paper basket, whichever is nearest).


Principal stars in TV documentary!

Teachers and students of St Enda’s have long known that Mr Kenny is a star, but now it’s finally official, thanks to an award-winning – or so we predict! – documentary, shown on the local television station earlier this week.

In case you missed it, we highly recommend a viewing. And luckily, Mr Kenny tells us he has arranged one in the assembly hall this Friday afternoon, at which attendance is compulsory, even for teachers currently on sick leave.

We understand that the principal had only only small quibble with the programme makers: their references to this being the “twilight” of his career. The confusion here may have arisen due to the recent changing of the clocks which ushered in the dark evenings.

But Mr Kenny assures us that the CST (Country-Saving Time) he initiated in 2011 will continue for the foreseeable future. There are no plans to move to LST (Leo or Simon Time) under the school’s current management. In the meantime, see our reviewer’s verdict on the documentary (above).


Ms Foster’s Allegations: a statement

The principal respects the decision of Ms Foster, who teaches Ulster Scots and Ancient History at our neighbouring Teresian College, not to attend his forum on the implications of her employers’ exit from the European Schools network.

He also welcomes Miss Foster’s agreement that there should be no return of a hard boundary between our campuses, aimed at preventing “Johnny Foreigner” from entering Teresian property via St Enda’s.

But he rejects categorically her suggestion that he has been exploiting her current difficulties by, for example, working to undermine public confidence in her rather run-down classroom, with its emphasis on hopelessly outdated subjects from which our more dynamic, outward-looking school has long moved on.

As the part of Teresian nearest St Enda’s, Miss Foster’s class is a source of genuine interest and concern to us. After all, if it collapses on our side of the fence, there could be insurance implications.

In the meantime, those of our students who have been sneaking in there to avail of Ms Foster’s cut-price vending machine, we would draw your attention to the perilously decrepit state of the building, which could fall at any moment.


Enda’s Story – The newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

A message from the principal

enda_kennyAs you all know, I have repeatedly indicated my intention to step down as principal some time during the life of the current school enrolment: that is to say, before our present first years sit their Leaving Cert.

It is also a matter of record that I have no intention of resigning as principal unless or until hell freezes over first. I don’t think I can make my position any clearer than that, although some people seem determined to find my comments on the issue confusing.

But in the interests of even further clarity, I would now also like to outline my long-term intentions vis a vis the “day-job” – ie teaching.

Yes, given my extraordinary achievements at the helm of St Enda’s, it is easy to forget that I am still a humble teacher too. And until now, it was generally assumed that if and when I ever stood down as principal, I would also be retiring from classroom duty.

After all, as I have to remind people regularly, I am now 65. Yes, I know I don’t look a day over 50. Even my hairdresser can’t believe I still don’t use artificial colouring (although Mr Vardakar was pleading with me recently to “dye” for charity – at least, I think that’s the way he spelled it).

But I am now of what most people would consider pension age. Furthermore, I will soon have been teaching for as long as another famous hero of education, albeit a fictional one: “Mister Chips”.

And to be honest, until recently, I was looking forward to a well-earned retirement. Then, with the selflessness that marks me out from lesser men, I remembered that the decision was not all about me.

That the school, already by then having to cope with the uncertainty of having a new head, might be ill-prepared for the double blow of losing me as a teacher too. That having accumulated such a vast store of experience, it would be selfish of me just to walk away. Besides, I thought, what’s the hurry?

With my perennial youthfulness reserves of energy, there will still be plenty of time for doing all the things I plan to in retirement – climb Mount Everest, become an astronaut, manage Mayo to a three-in-a-row, etc – in my 70s and beyond.

Then there was the question of ensuring a suitable successor. I may not be able to choose the right candidate to follow me as principal (ie Simon, in about 10 years’ time). But I’m determined to ensure that when I finally quit teaching, the school will get somebody equally good in my place.

That’s a tall order, of course. And when I thought about it recently, I realised I couldn’t guarantee that the right person would be available. In fact, she made the point herself the other day. “Daddy,” she said, “I’m just not sure I’m ready yet.”

So for all these reasons, my new plan is to continue working indefinitely, for as long as I can make a contribution. I trust that when my time is finally up, whenever, I will be the first to know it. At that point, my intention is to be as graceful as possible while they drag me kicking and screaming out of the staff room.

CREEPY CLOWNS

creepy-clownFollowing complaints from some of our younger pupils, gardaí have arrested a man and a woman who were seen hanging around the school “dressed funny” and “looking weird”. Miss Fitzgerald, who is liaising with the investigating officers, reminds us that she can’t identify the suspects (apart from blurting out that they were “Mick Wallace” and “Clare Daly”). But we’re assured that gardaí are not looking for anyone else in relation to the incident. The children involved have been offered counselling.

Strike Arrangements

teacherBarring a late change of heart by the teaching unions, it now looks certain St Enda’s will face work stoppages in November.  We are now in the process of making arrangements to ensure the school remains open throughout the dispute. To this end, the school will shortly be recruiting suitably qualified parents to act as supervisors.

Luckily we should also be able to call on those many relatives of St Enda’s staff who are currently employed in secretarial or other support roles.  Management has previously expressed embarrassment at the levels of nepotism of the premises, and will again when the strike is over.  For now, however, it’s an important resource.  We expect the temporary transfers to be more than sufficient to keep the premises open throughout the dispute, and to compensate for any loss of income by the striking teachers.

Teresian School Border Patrols

theresa-may-funnyContrary to wild rumours that have been circulating, St Enda’s will not be mounting boundary controls on behalf of our stuck-up neighbouring school, Teresian College, aimed at preventing “undesirables” from entering their campus via ours.

It’s true that the idea was mooted in discussions with the Teresian head of security, Mr Brokenshire, who said that if we didn’t cooperate with enhanced border policing, he would have no choice but to mount an electrified fence topped with razor wire between the two schools. Happily, sense has now prevailed. And instead, the schools have agreed a more low-key approach based on intelligence sharing and the deployment of snipers.

St Enda’s students who have taken to sneaking over there to buy stuff at reduced prices in the Teresian tuck-shop – or “looting” as our tuck shop manager calls it – are warned that they do so at their own risk.


Enda’s Story – The newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

A Message from the Principal

029px-humour-indd_page_1_image_0001Another year, another heartbreak for my beloved GAA county.  Oh well.  Like so many of my fellow Mayo men, I attended the All-Ireland final replay full of hope after our spirited performance in the drawn match.  But alas, it was not to be.  As usual, we can only learn the lessons from the experience and try again next year.
For me, the blindingly obvious lesson of the replay was the need for all teams to have a safe pair of hands in goal.  Sure, your current Number 1 might make the odd mistake, occasionally.  But think hard before dropping him.  Because you never know what his replacement will drop, under pressure, even if (like Mr Vardakar on his many TV appearances) he looks great in training.
Nor was it just the Dublin goal that illustrated the importance of having experience in such a crucial position.  Mayo’s kick-outs were a bit of a disaster area too. And although, here at St Enda’s, we may have no kick-outs pending, I don’t think I’m giving away any of Mr Noonan’s school-budget secrets by saying that we may have a few important hand-outs to deliver soon.
It’s important that these go to the right people.  But it’s even more important that Mr Martin doesn’t manage to claim the credit for them when they do.  That’s another reason why the school should stick with the tried and trusted Number 1, rather than take a risk on certain other people (like Mr Coveney) whose big-game temperament has not been tested.
Yes, I admit I may have made a few errors in our first match last February, when seeking re-election by the board of management.  There was that terrible moment, for example, when I thought I had spotted our midfielder, Big Mick Noonan, out in “fiscal space” near the left wing.  So I kicked the ball to him, only to see him clobbered from behind by Pearse Doherty, who seemed to come out of nowhere.  But I’ve learned from experience, and won’t make that mistake again.
And remember, like Mayo, we too may face a replay soon.  So now is not the time for making reckless changes in key positions. Unless you’re me, of course.  On which note, another thing the football replay showed was the importance of a good bench.  So I will be looking very hard at both our benches, the front and back one, over the coming months.  And if the front bench squeaks too much between now and the replay, I may consider swapping them.


SCHOOL BUS BACK IN ACTION

Congratulations are due to Mr Ross for finally getting the school bus back in service after all the disruptions in September.  Having himself collected it from the garage, he confirms that it is once again “firing on all cylinders” (unlike him, as we like to joke in the staff room!). And he still insists that his refusal to pressurise the mechanics into getting the job done earlier was justified, on the grounds that this would have been an invitation to them to “rip us off” when calculating the bill.
As it is, he says, the cost of fixing the gear-box and transmission system came to a mere “€30 million”.  This will now be covered by a series of administrative efficiencies, including some expansion of the bus’s use.  Children are advised that henceforth, if it passes their pick-up locations at speed, with a blue light flashing, and headed for the nearest hospital, they should make alternative transport arrangements.


Security Guards Strike Threat:

St Enda’s notes with concern the threat by our security company to take industrial action during November.  This comes at a time when many other front-line school staff are also seeking pay increases, including the gardener, janitor, toilet cleaner, tuck-shop assistant, and the man with the keys of the hall.
The school reaffirms its commitment to wage restraint and is examining ways to minimise the risk should the security staff strikes go ahead.  Our deputy principal, Miss Fitzgerald, is in talks with the local criminal community about the possibility of them reviving an old trade union practice of “sympathetic” strikes, whereby they would also refuse to work on the days in question.
In the meantime, Mr Kenny is taking special precautions to safeguard his office during a possible winter of discontent.  He told the newsletter: “If anybody thinks he or she can break in and take my job, they should think again.”


Changes to School Canteen Menu

A big thank you to celebrity chef Mary “Robbo” Robinson for her recent talk to the school on how we could all help save the planet by going vegetarian.  We are happy to announce that, as a result, our canteen has introduced two new meat-free options: Beans and Chips and Chips and Beans.  This will also result in cost-savings, which will go towards the bill for repairs to the school bus.
While visiting, Miss Robinson planted a tree to offset the carbon footprint of her annual 1.5 squillion air miles.  Next week’s guest speaker is celebrity breadmaker Michael D Higgins, who will share some of the half-baked recipes from his new book.  He will also plant a tree afterwards, to offset the planet-warming effects of his speech.


Bus Not Involved in Mitchell-Connor Incident

The principal wishes to make clear that, contrary to scurrilous rumours circulating on social media, neither he nor Mr Noonan threw Miss Mitchell O’Connor “under the bus” last week.
How this preposterous suggestion arose is unclear.  But it seems to have started when Mr Ross reported hearing a “dull thud” under one of his wheels while driving past a group including Messrs Kenny and Noonan and Miss Mitchell O’Connor in the school yard.
Since then it has been noticed that Miss Mitchell O’Connor is severely lame (even more so that usual, that is). So presumably people added two and two together and got six.
We can’t explain Mr Ross’s dull thud — unless it was his brain trying to work.  But as for Miss Mitchell O’Connor’s injury, that was entirely self-inflicted.  It appears she was doing archery with the transition year students, while also briefing local journalists by phone about what she thought might be in the school budget.  Distracted by this attempt at multi-tasking, she simply shot herself in the foot.


Enda’s Story The newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

A Message from the Principal

Yes folks, I’m back. And so, as you’ve probably heard by now, is my mojo. But what exactly, I hear the older and less “hip” of our readers asking, is a mojo?
Well, according to the Urban Dictionary, a mojo is a sort of charm or magic spell, especially one that makes the person in possession of it sexually irresistible (not now, Fionnuala! – can’t you see I’m busy?).
It’s thought to derive from an African word, moco’o, meaning “medicine man”. And it was made famous by a classic Muddy Waters blues song “Got my mojo workin”.
Mind you, Muddy lamented: “Got my mojo workin’/But it just won’t work on you.” So it sounds like his medicine man was about as successful as Mr Varadkar was as our former school doctor.
Happily, young Mr Harris is in charge of first aid now and I’m told Mr Varadkar is doing quite well in the important new position I gave him, whatever that was again.
Anyway, part of having my mojo back means I’m now even more reluctant to plunge the school into the crisis that my early retirement as principal would surely precipitate.
But speaking of muddy waters, let me clarify yet again that it remains my intention both to serve a full term and to step down soon.
This does not appear to be clear to some people, of course, including the unnamed graffiti artist who spray painted the wall of my office with the message: “Go by May, or else.”
But as it happens, I have taken that writer’s advice. I went over by Mrs May’s school the other day for a courtesy call and, when I mentioned the apparent confusion about my intentions, she suggested something that’s seems to work for her.
Thus, in future when people ask me what exactly my plans for leaving the principal’s office are, I shall just say “leave means leave”, and then leave it at that.
If any teachers are not happy with this, I will bear their criticisms in mind during any possible reshuffle of the staff room and class timetables (which my mojo has advised me to threaten, to keep everyone in line).
In the meantime, you may notice a few other changes this term. Mr Donohoe will be taking more of the maths classes in the foreseeable future to ease the pressure on Mr Noonan, who has been having some health issues and is also working hard on the school budget.
I’m also very happy to announce that the long-awaited school crèche will be opening soon. It’s hoped this will make it easier for some teachers to do their jobs, free from the distraction of noisy children.
The new facility will be secure and sound-proofed, so that in future, nobody in the staff room will hear Mr Halligan or the other inmates whenever they throw their toys out of the pram.


Detentions

As part of the principal’s new get-tough policy on school discipline, from now on we intend publishing the names of students in detention.
This week’s bad boys are:

John Paul Phelan: For talking at the back of the class.

Brendan Griffin: Stepping out of line during assembly.

Jim Daly: Enjoying private joke with Mr Coveney while principal was talking.

John Deasy (yet again): Smoking at the back of the bike shed. Being generally disruptive. Sending dead fish wrapped in newspaper to Mr Kenny’s office.


School Uniform

As the new academic year begins, we would remind students that the St Enda’s uniform must be worn at all times. Some allowances can be made for jumpers and trousers, since these will get dirty (especially when the mud starts flying, around budget time!) and it is not always possible to wash and dry them in time. In such cases, we may allow temporary substitutes, provided these are formal and of similar colour.
There can be no leniency, however, with the famous blue shirt, which has always been central to discipline here at St Enda’s. The rule will be rigorously enforced this year. Anyone who turns up in a white, yellow or – God forbid – pink shirt can expect to join Mr Deasy on one of his many trips to the detention hall.


Bus Strike

We would like to apologise to students who had to walk to school this week. This was due to circumstances beyond our control, and apparently also beyond the control of Mr Ross, although he’s supposed to be the bus driver.
He tells us it was because of some mechanical problem with the vehicle. But we’re beginning to suspect that there’s a mechanical problem with Mr Ross himself. Even though he’s been in the job for several months now, he still hasn’t managed to get his arse into gear.


Charity Ticket Appeal

Thanks to everyone who responded so generously to the Michelle Mulherin All-Ireland Final ticket appeal, whether by contributing actual tickets, or money, or just sarcasm on social media forums.
As most of you realise, Michelle has a painful condition known as Seasonal Affective Mayo-fan Syndrome (SAMs): a disorder exacerbated by the fair weather of late summer and autumn. Sufferers become convinced that this is the year their team will finally win the All-Ireland, and experience panic attacks and other symptoms at the thought of not being there when it happens.
This is not the first time Michelle has been the subject of a successful emergency appeal. You may remember that during our visit to the country last February she was one of a number of St Enda’s special needs students left stranded up the creek without a paddle.
Fortunately, her distress flares were noticed and she was among the lucky 11 people rescued by our navel-gazing vessel, the LE Seanad Éireann. Although she suffered severe whiplash in the incident, her neck appears to have recovered well.


Enda’s Story – The newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

A MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR

031px-humour-indd_page_1_image_0001(This week’s guest editor, in the continuing absence of the principal, is our maths teacher and school treasurer, Mr Noonan)

Hello everybody, and welcome to autumn. It’s the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, as the poet WB Keats called it. And we all know fruit is a great thing. But as events of the past week remind us, you can also have too much of it.

You will be aware by now that we have had an unusual windfall of apples lately from Tim Cook’s orchard, which adjoins or school. This would normally be a welcome event, and we would usually be within our rights to keep them. We have a long-standing arrangement with Mr Cook that, since many of his trees overhang the school grounds, anything that drops this side of the wire is ours.

In addition, of course, he generously provides us with several boxes of free apples every year, in gratitude for the fact that we let him use our facilities and because he hires most of his pickers from among our students, cheap. But the problem in this case is that the massive fall of fruit of our side of the fence this year was not a natural occurrence.

We know now that a gang of European apple pickers went into his orchard one night last week and shook all the trees alongside our fence. They did this, clearly, with a view to collecting the fruit themselves, later.  Luckily, Mr Cook and I were quickly alerted to the situation and gathered up all the fallen apples before anyone could make off with them. They are now stored in a special shed, pending clarification of their legal status.

Naturally, certain people in the school wanted to keep the apples. Indeed we believe students were already planning a massive cider party, and that some of the less responsible teachers – the usual suspects – were tempted to join them.

But after again consulting the school’s solicitor, Ms Whelan (who’s been very busy lately) they were persuaded of the wisdom of keeping their heads down for a change and letting me take the blame for a difficult decision.

I make no apology, however, for thinking of the school’s best long-term interests. After all, if we gorged ourselves on the extra apples now, what would we get? The runs, of course.
And it might not be just us who got the runs, either. Mr Cook could get them too, and run all the way over to our neighbours, the Teresian School, to relocate his orchard.  I’m sure Mrs May would just love to have his trees leaning over her fences instead of ours.

So in short, the supposed windfall is entirely illusory. But don’t worry. There will be some apples available for distribution this autumn, around Halloween, when I finalise the school budget. As usual, however, they will have strings attached, suspended from the ceiling and everyone will have to compete to get even a small bite.


School Panto: Call for Auditions

031px-humour-indd_page_1_image_0004This year’s Christmas pantomime will be “Mick and the Beanstalk”, adapted from the original, and directed by the multi-talented Mr Noonan.
A modern telling of the old morality tale, it will follow the adventures of Michael, a young boy from Limerick who grows up to be a financial genius, transforming his mother’s cow-based economy into a global success story by exchanging it for magic beans from US high-tech companies.

The success is briefly threatened when, not content with the gold coins Mick brings back home on a regular basis, his mother and other short-sighted people get greedy and want him to steal the goose that lays the golden egg as well.

This upsets a multinational giant, who cries: “Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum. I smell the blood of an English post-Brexit relocation of my company headquarters.” But Mick’s prudence eventually saves the day and everybody lives happily every after.

Auditions will be held in the school hall next week.


 

Maths For Fun

031px-humour-indd_page_1_image_00031) If you have 400 million apples a year to begin with, and then a strange woman with a dodgy foreign accent calls to your door offering another 13 billion, what do you end up with (see question 3 for a hint)?

2) If you’re a socialist who wants to end world hunger, but in doing so you give away the seed potatoes, does that make you a Rooster or a Kerr’s Pinko?

3) How many dwarves attended Snow White’s funeral?


 

 

 

A postcard from the principal

Greetings from the south of France, where I’m touching up my permatan in preparation for another Irish winter. I hope it’s raining where you are (only joking!) (not really!!). It’s sweltering here.

I’m writing this from Lourdes, where we stopped overnight. And guess who I met on the street today? The entire Mayo football team, that’s who! Small world. Apparently, they’re doing a warm-weather training camp here in advance of their big game with Dublin. It involves some sort of hydro-therapy, with daily sessions in baths. All very scientific, I’m sure.

They hope it will give them a vital edge against the Dubs, and they’re determined to leave no stone unturned. In fact they fly out tomorrow for another camp, this time in Medjugorje. After that, it’s back to regular training at home (in Knock). It’s great to see such intense prep-work, with – despite all the disappointments of previous years – no sign of desperation creeping in.

Anyway, that’s all I have time for now. See you soon.
Mr Kenny


Enda’s Story – The newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

Open-Topped Robe Parade planned for School’s homecoming Olympic Administrators: Full Story page 5

A Message from Mr Ross

(The principal is on holiday, so this week’s guest editor is our PE teacher and bus driver, Mr Ross.)

Phew, what a relief to get back to journalism for a while. Who knew, in all those years when I was slagging off other teachers for their incompetence via my highly-influential column in the Sunday Undependable, that doing the actual job myself would prove such a challenge?

In any case, humbled (insofar as it’s possible) by the experience, I have cancelled my planned special edition on why the principal should resign: this despite the urgings of Mr Varadkar, who had proof-read the copy and thought it was some of my best work.

Instead, I will try to explain what happened on the school sports team’s now-infamous trip to Rio earlier this month: which, frankly, was the steepest learning curve I have experienced since my days as a junior fag in Rugby.

First, of course, there was the shame of the boxing dope test. I’ll be honest: I know very little about this brutal alleged “sport”.  But I have tried to hold a conversation with some of our boxers. And my first reaction on hearing that only one of them had tested positive for dopiness was surprised relief.

Luckily, I read up on the brief before commenting. So by the time journalists reached me, at least I realised they were talking about drugs.

Then came the rowing, when our team’s luck seemed to change. Alas, I rang the two lads to congratulate them personally, and I’m afraid I couldn’t understand a word they said, either.
They’re originally from somewhere called Skibbereen, which I think is a breakaway part of Syria.

Anyway, I told them I was glad they had achieved asylum here and wished them well in their future efforts to learn English. Then, for some reason, they called me a “Jackeen bollocks” and hung up.

Thank God for the gal from the school yachting team, who also won a medal. I was on more familiar ground (or water!) there, at least. But apart from that, our performances were a bit of a shambles: a situation not helped by me tweeting “Go Katie!” 12 hours after she’d lost her fight. Nobody tells me anything.

As for the whole ticketing fiasco, I can’t go into much detail here yet, for legal reasons. I would, however, like to take this opportunity to thank the alert customs official in Rio who heard my desperate cries from inside a crate of a bananas on a ship bound for Europe and raised the alarm.

I will have more to say in due course about who tried to “put Shane Ross back in his box” and why. But for now, the school’s legal adviser, Ms Whelan, has ordered me to keep my mouth shut. And in this case I consider her advice binding.

Overall, the whole experience in Rio has given dramatic new meaning to the phrase “going for a Brazilian”. The nether regions of the school’s sports administration have now been well and truly exposed: “Back, sack, and crack”.

I too have been through a close shave. But in waxing terms, I’m back. I haven’t got the sack (yet). And although Rio wasn’t quite as much crack as I was hoping, at least I’m not Pat Hickey.


Leo’s Vision

031px Humour.indd_Page_1_Image_0004St Enda’s social affairs teacher has lashed out what he called the media’s “constant speculation” about who will succeed Mr Kenny as school principal.

Speaking at the annual Collins/Griffiths commemoration in Glasnevin, Mr Varadkar expressed frustration at the tendency of journalists to interpret everything he said as part of an alleged leadership campaign.

“It’s as if my every utterance is calculated to distinguish me from my supposed rival, Mr Coveney,” he complained, “and not motivated by pure political idealism.”

Elsewhere in his speech, Mr Varadkar said that what Ireland needed now was more leaders like Michael Collins: “Handsome, charismatic, 30-something, and with good hair.”


Rock around the Clock

Pending the return of St Enda’s staff from their holidays, whenever, all queries relating to the school should be addressed to Mr Noel Rock, the janitor, who is permanently on the premises, except when doing media interviews.

The exception is any new scandal involving the PE teacher, which will be dealt with by Mr Ross himself. News organisations are advised that Mr Rock is available 24 hours a day and can be contacted at the following num…Sorry, we forgot. You have them already.


‘Lochtegate’: No St Enda’s Students involved

We feared the worst when news broke that some people had trashed a gas station in Rio and then fabricated a story about a police robbery to cover it up.

But St Enda’s is relieved to confirm that no teachers, students, parents, or any known associates of the school were involved in the incident – touch wood.

We hereby reiterate our policy of treating gas stations with respect, regardless of their nationality. A service of thanksgiving for our non-involvement in this particular debacle will be held in September.


The Scourge of Rate-My-Teacher

031px Humour.indd_Page_1_Image_0003One of the evils of our age is the misuse of social media by shadowy “keyboard warriors” venting their criticism of public figures from behind the cover of pseudonymous IDs.

There was a perfect example recently on an obscure discussion site called “The Irish Times”, wherein somebody with the user-name of “Harry Magee, Political Correspondent” purported to rate the performances of St Enda’s teachers during the first term, on a scale of 1 to 10.

Of course, the idea of reducing what educators do to such crude numbers is a gross misunderstanding of the complexity of their role. This is just as true of, say, Mr Coveney, who was rated an 8, as it is of those of us who scored, er, zero.

Luckily, Mr Ross is not thin-skinned.  Nor is he in any way vindictive. That said, any readers who know the real identity of “Harry Magee, Political Correspondent” are asked to contact the editor, in return for which he will enter them in a free draw for tickets to the 2020 Olympics.


Enda’s Story – The newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

A Message from the Principal

YOU KNOW, when you think about it, St Enda’s School and the Olympics have a lot in common. They’re both committed to the same general pursuit of excellence – to “Altius, Citius, Bendybus”, as the famous saying goes.  And of course, to one degree or another, both are also heavily involved in dope-testing.

Here at St Enda’s, we pride ourselves on the rigour of our testing programme.  It starts even before students join the school.  We try to identify suspected dopes at the application stage, where, if spotted, they are advised to join St Meehawl’s, or St Brendan’s, or (God forbid) Gerry’s instead, where their, er, talents might be better developed.

Inevitably, however, some will get through the system.  And in many cases, they may not avoid ultimate detection until their Leaving Certain results.

The Leaving Cert, I always think, is a bit like the opening of the A sample.  If a candidate tests positive for dopeyness at that stage, he still has the option of a re-sit: the B Sample. But in my experience, this rarely produces a dramatically different result.

The candidate is often better advised to admit guilt straightway, and accept whatever sanction the authorities lay down: which usually means having to do a bog-standard arts degree, followed by a life of underpaid drudgery.

Of course, the unpalatable truth is that some dopes are never found out, or at least not before it’s too late to do anything about them.

Collegiate responsibility prevents me from mentioning any names here, but our staff-room has several people who blagged their way into jobs with impressive-sounding CVs (from the “Independent Alliance” School or other such makey-up establishments), and who clearly don’t deserve their positions on the podium.

But one area in which we are definitely not like the Olympics is in casting unfair aspersions on Russians.  We have several children of Russian heritage on our roll and they and their parents are all very welcome members of the community.

This is particularly true of the respected local businessman, Mr Mafiahenchmanov, who will be well known to other parents from the distinctive armour-plated Humvee from which he drops off his son Dmitri every morning.

Although never one to blow his own trumpet, Mr Mafiahenchmanov is one of our most generous donors.  It was he who paid for all that new gym equipment we got recently – and indeed for those special performance supplements which seem to be producing such dramatic improvements in our school team.  If only there were more parents like him.

But above all, here at St Enda’s, we pride ourselves on the true Olympian spirit of sportsmanship.  The real champions, we believe, are those who make the most of what they have.  Which is exactly what yours truly did 100 days ago when he was reconfirmed as principal despite apparent rejection by the Board of Electors in February.

So here’s to the next 100, and further proof of the truth of an old saying.  It’s not the winning, it’s the taking of the spoils that counts.


Scenes from the Life of Our Saint: Part 4

It is reported in the annals that, in the summer of 616 AD, while preaching among the heathens of the continent, Enda encountered a group of young trainee monks who, like himself, hailed from the “Land of Saints and Scholars”.

Delighted to meet fellow countrymen in foreign parts, he asked what corner of the sainted isle they were from and they told him “Maynooth.”  So, assuming they had volunteered to teach in Europe, he then inquired about the nature of their mission.  But here their faces darkened as they told him of the “strange goings on” at their monastery that had driven them into an unwanted exile.

Enda listened to their story gravely, sometimes crossing himself and saying “Holy God!” at the more lurid details.  Then he blessed them and sent them on their way, thinking to himself: I better get home soon, before the country loses the run of itself entirely.


Campus Expands

ST ENDA’S is delighted to announce the purchase from NAMA of part of the Dublin Mountains known as the “Featherbeds”. The environmentally sensitive area, which lies close to our school, will now become an extended part of our campus, and will be especially useful for biology field trips and for burying enemies of the principal (joke!)

Congratulations are due to our grounds manager, Mr Ring, who negotiated the agreement.  As he explained in a very a long speech outlining the importance of his achievement, the fear had been that this important piece of wilderness might be used to site one or more wind turbines.

We now understand that instead, as part of the deal, energy companies will examine the feasibility of connecting Mr Ring up to the National Grid in some way.  Early tests suggest that the wind generated by his oratory could be sufficient to power a small housing estate.


Enda’s Story – The newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

A message from the Principal

News that the school’s income has risen by a whopping 26.3 per cent in the last quarter, while welcome in itself, should not mislead anyone into thinking that we don’t need money from students or their parents anymore.

On the contrary, we will be writing to you all again shortly inviting payment of the annual “Voluntary Contribution”.  And as always, we will stress that the word “voluntary” is used here in the original Latin sense, meaning “compulsory”: unless you’re really, really poor, in which case you’d better not be collecting your kids from school in a Land Rover.

As Mr Noonan can explain, depending on who’s asking and why, the dramatic income growth is either (A) a tangible reward for the school’s superb financial management or (B) an entirely illusory outcome of other people’s creative accounting.

Parents and Revenue officials are advised to accept explanation B, and not to confuse the supposedly “voluntary” nature of the payment due shortly with the arrangement we have for the US high-tech companies that use our campus, and whose accountancy departments caused this little embarrassment.

Now, theirs is a voluntary contribution.  Although officially we charge them 12.5 per cent of profits, in practice they just pay us whatever they feel like.  But hey, that’s still a lot of money, and we’re always pathetically grateful.

The point remains that, in real terms, we remain much poorer than, for example, our posh, newly-privatised neighbour: the Teresian School, (formerly Cameron Comprehensive).  Now they’re what you call properly loaded.

Speaking of which, we are all very relieved that things have finally quietened down again next door.  And over the next week or two, I hope to have preliminary discussions with the new principal, Mrs May, over matters of mutual concern.

Suffice to say that, in the long-term, I am totally opposed to the return of any “Hard Border” between our schools. But of course there never was a hard border, really. What we had back in the 70s and 80s was a high wire fence, with lots of holes in it at ground level.  We could probably live with something like that again.

My new student loan scheme – Mr Varadkar explains

In an ideal world, all students would have sufficient income from independent sources to cover their basic needs, while also having a little left over for the so-called “luxuries”: the odd sneaky cigarette, litre of cider, etc.But the harsh reality is that many do not.  This sometimes drives them into the hands of unscrupulous money lenders (or “parents”, as they’re usually known) who are only too happy to advance sums of cash in the short-term, while exacting a terrible price further down the line.

Desperate students will find themselves agreeing to impossible terms – promising to tidy up their rooms, for example – without giving any practical thought to how this might be achieved until it’s too late.

In some shocking cases, we have heard of teenagers being forced to spend up to two hours on a Saturday putting stuff in, like, drawers?  You may know of even worse examples.
That’s why I’ve decided to launch a new student loan scheme, underwritten by my own pocket.  How it works is that, from now on, students who need money for emergencies will simply borrow it from me instead.

Terms and conditions apply, obviously.  But don’t worry, I won’t expect you to become a better person or anything drastic during the repayment period.

And before anyone even suggests it, this has nothing to do with my campaign to become principal if or when our beloved current school leader ever dies of old age, or whatever.

Nor has it anything to do with distracting attention from Mr Coveney’s new student accommodation plan.

On the contrary, that looks like a pathetic attempt by him to try and match my popularity as me with the student body.  As if!  Good luck with that, Simon!
Mr Varadkar (but call me Leo)

‘Incompetent Teachers to Face Ban’ – Brutal

Teachers found guilty of misconduct or poor performance may be banned from the classroom under a new scheme to be announced this week by Mr Brutal. The plan, which he has leaked to us exclusively, means students and teachers can lodge complaints with a newly-established Teaching Council, which will have a majority of, er, teachers.

Crucially, it must hold its hearings in public, except where there are pressing legal reasons why they need to be private.  Mr Brutal’s spokesman said the number of such cases was unlikely to be more than “99.8 per cent”. School principals will, in principle, be subject to the same procedure, and indeed may even face “no confidence” motions from colleagues.  But in practice, the scheme is not expected to be used for this purpose, provided unwanted school heads do the decent thing and resign at their earliest convenience.

School’s Out in Donegal!

Congratulations to everybody who took part in our annual outing to the MacGill School for wind sports in Donegal, where St Enda’s was as well represented as ever. It’s always very “blowy” up around Glenties, but if anything, it was even more so this year.  And despite the testing conditions, our representatives more than held their own.

Special mention goes to our team in the nationalist kite-flying event, where competition was typically intense. It looked for a while as if our principal, Mr Kenny, had won the prize with his Brexit-Border Poll kite.  But in the end he had to settle for second place, just behind Mr Vardakar’s classic “United Ireland in my Lifetime” design.

There was great relief in the wind-surfing competition, when our former teacher, Mr Howlin, turned up safely after a panic.  He had interrupted his performance to explain at length why Jeremy Corbyn was bad for British Labour whereupon he seemed to be swept away by a massive wave of public indifference.

Luckily, his natural ability to inflate himself way beyond normal size allowed him to stay afloat long enough for the audience – and the lifeguards, crucially – to wake up again.


Enda’s Story – The newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

A Message from the principal

Enda Kenny

Enda Kenny

I understand there has been some confusion in the ranks about my stated long-term intentions vis-a-vis the school leadership. Even our normally sharp secretary, Miss Doherty, appears to have developed special needs in this area. So allow me to explain it again, speaking slowly this time.

When I said I intended to step down before the next election of the Board of Governors (February 2021 at the latest), that was true. But when I subsequently said that I intended to serve the full term, that was also true. And to understand how I can reconcile these apparently contradictory positions, we must first take a short detour via the science laboratory.

In his celebrated thought experiment of 1935, as you will all remember, the Austrian physicist Erwin Humdinger described a situation in which a cat, placed in a box with a flask of poison and a small quantity of radioactive material, could be simultaneously dead and alive.

The paradox is made possible by certain Einsteinian ideas about quantum mechanics. And although our transition years students were not completely successful last year in their attempts to confirm result in practice, with a real animal*, they assure me that it is theoretically possible.

Now I don’t pretend to know how, exactly. So Miss Doherty should definitely not waste time and energy trying to get her tiny but perfectly formed little head around it. Sometimes, it’s best just to take things on faith. And in this context, I advise teachers and pupils to accept the facts that (a) I’m retiring soon, and (b) I am not retiring, and then get on with their lives.

In the meantime, to those who claim that the supposed uncertainty is causing the school to “drift”, I suggest you take a look across the fence into our neighbouring campus: Cameron Comprehensive. Now that’s what you call drift.

I just hope that the traumatic experience there of Miss Loathsome, the former candidate for the principalship, now exposed as a defrocked mother superior, will make others – closer to home – think twice before throwing their cats (er, I mean hats) into the ring.

(*The students have again asked me to thank Mrs Kelly for the loan of ‘Mittens’, who they say is still in good health and will be returned to her safely as soon as his prescribed period of quarantine, or “half-life”, expires.)


Rowing News

The sinking of one of our boats during last week’s All-at-Sea Regatta has led to criticisms that the school’s performances of late have been “rudderless”. But according to our sports teacher, Mr Ross, this is based on a simple misunderstanding of the rules.

Of the most controversial incident, during the Mick Wallace-sponsored Row-Your-Own-Canoe event, he points out that he himself, along with Mr McGrath and Mr Halligan, were performing as a “cox-less three”, so that no rudder was required:

“Unfortunately, due to foggy conditions on the water, we did not realise until too late that we were on a collision course with the main school boat, a coxed eight, under the guidance of the Attorney General.”

Having been badly holed during the incident, the latter boat is now undergoing repairs, while Mr Ross has pledged to cooperate fully with a review into water safety.

In the meantime, there was happier news in the Novelty ‘Up the Creek Without a Paddle’ section, which was won by our principal. When last we heard, other members of the school rowing club were trying to find Mr Kenny with a view to celebrating his achievement in the traditional manner (throwing him overboard!).


Stories from the life of our saint: Part 3

In the Year of Our Lord 616, soon after his miraculous escape from a group of pagan muck-savages, the ‘Soldiers of Destiny’, Saint Enda began to reflect on the question of who would be his eventual successor as head of the monastery he had founded.

Although magically transforming himself into a duck had saved his life, he had also suffered injuries in the process, and the resultant lameness stayed with him even when he resumed human form.
He knew that he could not live forever. And even though his most loyal followers, including Simon ‘the Simple’, Leo ‘the loyal’, and Frances ‘the Female’, all publicly assured him of their unquestioning loyalty, he knew there were others who openly discussed the succession.

Sometimes, indeed, he would resume the form of a mallard to listen in on their conversations. It is said that, with his supernatural powers, he could hear even the grassroots talking. And sure enough, one day, he heard a particular gossipy clump discussing a “motion of confidence”.

So he vowed silently: “I’ll show you a motion of confidence”. Then he spent the morning grazing on some of the disloyal grassroots – the ones highest in roughage. And when the moment was right, he flapped his wings, and rising above the others briefly, shat on them from a height.

His loyal followers, including Simon and Leo and Frances, saw the incident, recognised the saint, and laughed at his mischievous sense of humour. But they also all secretly took vows of silence on the leadership issue, lest they be shat on too.


Water Water, Everywhere

John O'TooleCongratulations are due to our retired schoolteacher and amateur dramatist, Mr O’Toole, for his magnificent adaptation of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s classic Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which opened (and closed) in the general assembly hall last week.

Mr O’Toole took an old story – in which a ship goes slowly nowhere while the crew, surrounded by water but unable to drink any of it, lose their minds – and turned it into something new and fresh by blaming all the vessel’s problems on Paul Murphy.

Almost everybody agreed the opening night was a triumph. Unfortunately, the exception was our drama critic, ‘Biffo Junior’, aka ‘the Butcher of Broadway’, who thought Mr O’Toole should have “stuck to the script, for a change”**.

The planned second and subsequent nights will not now happen. Our special “support” teacher and back-stage manager, Mr Martin, has promised to find something more suitable as soon as possible.

(**Full review page 94.)


Enda’s Story – The newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

A message from the principal

enda cameronIt has been very difficult for us to concentrate here at St Enda’s this week thanks to the infernal racket going on next door at our neighbouring school, Cameron Comprehensive.
As you will all have heard by now, the board of governors there have shocked everybody – including, it seems, themselves – by voting to go private.

Unfortunately, this appears to have had a seriously destabilising effect on all involved, including the former principal, who, when I rang to offer my sympathies yesterday, was said to be ‘indisposed’ somewhere and unable to take calls.

It had at first seemed likely that Mr Johnson would be the new man in charge. But when I last saw him he was running naked through the school yard, having had his trousers pulled down by members of the school’s “Remain Public” campaign.

It was a very undignified sight, I can tell you, and the photographs of the incident that have since been widely circulated on social media may make it difficult for him ever again to pose as a potential authority figure, insofar as he ever did.

Serious as the school’s decision always was, it has also unleashed many unforeseen consequences on the campus, including a mass escape of boarding students, an outbreak of bubonic plague and the opening up of a giant sinkhole under the assembly hall, which has since swallowed several classrooms.

We can only hope that everything will settle down over there, eventually, and that they will all pull themselves together again. In the meantime, although their inter-school liaison officer, Ms Villiers, continues to insist that no new fences are necessary, I have asked our head of security to examine the possibility of us introducing some ourselves.


THE TRIP TO FRANCE

Shane RossCongratulations to Mr Ross and everybody else who took part in the trip to France to support the St Enda’s football team in the recent tournament.

We’re particularly delighted to note that, unlike previous trips to the continent, there appears to have been very little drinking involved this time. Instead, our group chose to treat the trip as something more like a religious retreat.

Not a day passed in the last two weeks without yet another Facebook video emerging of a St Enda’s pupil fixing a car puncture for a stricken pensioner or singing a baby to sleep in a tram or helping the lame to walk again.

Sometimes, we had to pinch ourselves and ask if these were really our students, as for example in that clip where they cleaned up beer bottles and cans from a street (where other people had been drinking, apparently, not them). The strategy of telling them that this was not the usual school booze-up, but instead a group entry for the Gaisce awards, has clearly worked a treat .
Anyway, well done everybody. And of course congratulations to our heroic team, who had to face down many challenges in the tournament (including Mr Ross’s mistake in packing the wrong-shaped balls in the team kit – he sent all the soccer balls to South Africa instead).

We know it’s traditional in these international tournaments for the organisers to give as many advantages as possible to the hosts. But really, the decision before the final game with the hosts to reduce our team’s allocation of football boots to four and a half pairs was nothing less than shameful. Their performance, in the circumstances, was heroic.


Bin charges

simon-coveneyWell done also to Mr Coveney for winning his battle with the waste disposal companies, which were trying to exploit the school’s confusion over the new pay-by-weight bin changes. Think again, bin companies – we know more about dealing with rubbish than you do (just look at our exam results… only joking!).

Some critics might say that securing a 12-month freeze in price increases is another example of “kicking the can down the road”. But as Simon tells me, kicking cans down the road can be quite an effective way of reducing waste costs.


Meeting Mr Trump – a clarification from the principal

031px-humour-indd_page_1_image_0003I know there has been a lot of confusion about this, so allow me to clarify, once and for all, that in no circumstances would I have been prepared to meet Mr Trump on the visit to his golf course, which adjoins our school.

I say this now, not because I know he’s not coming after all or because I’m safe in the knowledge that he won’t read it (note to secretary: check that this doesn’t appear anywhere on the internet before publication). I say it because, having weighed up all the consequences, it’s the right thing to do.

I would also like to record my principled opposition to his plans for a wall to keep out the sea, or Mexicans, or whatever. But of course this is ultimately a question for the planners. And unless Mr Trump offers a large donation to the school or something equally unforeseen, I have no intention of interfering with that process.


Enda’s Story – The newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

Enda-School

A message from the principal

I write this on the plane home from Davos, where as usual I have been working hard on St Enda’s behalf, attending an exhausting series of champagne receptions with potential school donors.
But I did also manage to get out on the piste (if you’ll excuse my Swiss) a bit too, and it gave me some important insights into the challenges facing our campus in the volatile months and years ahead.

Being school principal is a bit like skiing when you think about it (and not because, as Leo likes to joke, it’s been “all downhill” since I took over). As with most leadership roles, there are slippery slopes and hidden crevices everywhere around you, so that any misstep can be hazardous.

Just ask Miss Foster, for example, who was attempting a “snow job” – as it’s known in the PR trade – on her school’s heating scandal until recently, and looked like getting away with it until the ground melted under her last week.

Or ask Mrs May, who was already on thin ice before her latest embarrassment, but has now made a severe dent (or should I say a “trident”?) in it. No doubt some journalists have already called that incident “Tridentgate”, just as Miss Foster’s embarrassment has probably been christened “Pelletgate”, or something similar.

But like Olympic slalomers, the best leaders are adept at avoiding gates (except Bill, of course, who was in Davos too). And this is where my legendary ability to twist and turn, and change direction at very short notice has always set me apart.

That was my message to the London bankers I was wining and dining at the conference. I stressed the stability that, in these unpredictable times, they and other investors would expect in St Enda’s if they wanted to move their money, staff, or indeed children here.

The reason other leaders run into gates, I explained, still using my slalom analogy, was bad technique. Sometimes they were just too upright, I said. But this was not a problem at St Enda’s. As anybody who does business with us knows, we can be endlessly flexible.

Emergency work on Neighbours’ orchard

Students are advised to avoid the area of our campus adjoining the neighbours’ apple orchard, where emergency works are under way. The project will involve extensive tree surgery and may also include the erection of a giant wind turbine on our side of the fence.

The action follows a change of ownership of the land, which now belongs to a vulgar but very rich New Yorker who objects to the fact that, although all the trees grow on his side of the fence, most of the apples fall on ours.

Alas, the work now probably means an end to the annual windfall. The trees will instead be forcibly trained to shed their fruit on the other side of the fence instead, with the turbine used as emergency back-up if necessary.

The Fire at Stormont Academy

As you will all know by now, there was a serious fire at our small neighbouring school, Stormont Academy, last week, as a result of which the assembly hall has collapsed.

Luckily there were no serious injuries, even though the blaze started while Miss Foster was leading teachers and students in a mass rendition of the school hymn, Sheep May Safely Graze.

She bravely continued to sing even after smoke began rising around her ankles, and insisted there was nothing to worry about, causing some students to respond with a version of the popular football chant: “Arlene’s on fire. Her defence is preposterous.”

Eventually, however, the alarm was raised and the assembly hall evacuated without injury, except for Mr McGuinness, the deputy first principal, who suffered smoke inhalation while attempting to retrieve his dignity from the building. He has since decided to take early retirement, while undergoing medical treatment.

In the meantime, under school rules, there has to be a new election for principal. Failing agreement on that, the school will spend the foreseeable future being taught directly from London, via a special programme for slow learners.

The origins of the fire have been traced to several hundred wood pellet burners that had been installed under the assembly hall while nobody was looking. A number of teachers’ relatives are helping police with their inquiries.

Explosion in Teresian School Explained

The mystery explosion that many of us heard from the direction of the Teresian College before Christmas was a science experiment gone wrong, it has emerged.

What was supposed to be a routine procedure, involving a small amount of volatile material and a Bunsen burner, became instead an accidental rocket launch, which tore a hole in the wall of the school laboratory and then briefly threatened to cause a diplomatic incident by appearing to target the nearby US embassy.

Invoking a Code Red emergency, the Americans were preparing a counter strike that would have obliterated the Teresian campus. But in the event, the rocket fell harmlessly into a pond and a crisis was narrowly averted.

The incident is a major embarrassment for the new Teresian principal who initially tried to cover it up by posing for photographs in the gap of the laboratory wall and describing the damage as “controlled demolition work” for a new extension.

This led to headlines in the local media about Mrs May “talking through her hole”. She has now been forced to come clean on the incident at an already sensitive time, when her school is leaving the European schools network and applying to become the 51st member of the US state school alliance instead.

Mrs May is expected to hold talks this week in Washington, or possibly Moscow, depending on which way the plane takes off.



Enda’s Story

enda duck

The fortnightly newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

A message from the principal

Well, the sun is shining at last and it looks as if we’re in for a heat-wave. Which can only mean one thing. Yes, students, it’s exam time! But look on the bright side.
At least you have all the hard work done now (we hope!), and so will have no trouble coming up with the right answers in coming days. Unlike those morons on the board of management who, when asked who the school principal was back in March, took over two months, and several “mocks”, to come up with the correct name.
Exams apart, as you all know by now, we will also be having major work carried out on the school in the coming weeks. This is because some of our structures date back to 1745 and have become dangerously decrepit. But enough about Mr Noonan! The school buildings need refurbishment too.
And amazingly, not even the very long holidays we can look forward to shortly will be quite long enough to get all the work done. So we will all have to get used to the site of scaffolding and planks about the place for the foreseeable future. Although, speaking of planks – and people who as thick as two short ones – the principal is well used to having those around him already.
Still on the subject of my critics, I understand there have been complaints about my 11 picks for the school debating society – a traditional privilege of the principal – and the fact that I let our support teacher, Mr Martin, choose three of them.
Well, as you all know, if I had my way, I would abolish the society altogether: it’s a waste of school resources as far as I’m concerned. But in the meantime, if letting Mr Martin have a role in it (and after all, talking endlessly with little effect is very much his forte) keeps him happy, it’s a small price
Finally, a word about school security. When I said during general assembly last week that I was powerless to do anything about the gang violence currently stalking our streets (and occasionally in our playground), I was speaking in a purely personal capacity.
As a school, of course, we are fully committed to making our campus a safe space. That’s why I’m delighted to announce the appointment of Mr Kevin Vickers as our new head of security, with immediate effect.
A recent arrival in our community, from Canada, Mr Vickers successfully auditioned for the role when wrestling a deranged protester – who may or may not have been trying to assassinate the principal – at the commemoration in the grounds last week.
The event, which was in honour of the Black and Tans who tried to burn the school in 1922, was otherwise a great success.

Bullying

Students, parents, and staff members are all advised to familiarise themselves with St Enda’s policy on bullying, especially the section on “whistle-blowing”. This reminder is being issued in light of a recent incident in the yard which may or may not have been witnessed by Miss Fitzgerald. (She has been asked several times since, but hasn’t managed a straight answer yet, possibly because she was so traumatised by what she did (or didn’t) see.)
We understand that whistle-blowing can be very annoying sometimes. But there are many situations in which it may be necessary: during games refereeing, band practice, and so on. In any case, it is never acceptable that someone can be threatened with having the whistle shoved “up his hole”, as sources close to the incident in this case (but not necessarily Ms Fitzgerald) say may have happened in this case.

The school bars

Following a complaint from a concerned parent (Ms Louise O’Reilly of Shinner Avenue), the school has carried out a review of its gym equipment, and in particular the parallel bars which she considered to be excessive (“do we really need two bars?”) and potentially unsafe.

The review involved getting the St Enda’s bus driver and sports coach, Mr Ross, to lean against both bars for a period while thinking about the issue. On foot of this investigation, he has declared that neither bar is a threat to the school and that, on the contrary, both are “great fun, hic, altogether”. Mr Ross is also now “looking seriously” at the possible addition of a smoking area in the gym, as suggested by Mr McGrath.

The Principal’s “Dad Dancing”

029px Humour.indd_Page_1_Image_0004A big thank you (we think) to all the students and parents who posted videos on social media of the principal “busting some moves” at the Bruce Springsteen concert in Croke Park. We’re told it’s the biggest internet sensation involving anyone from the school since Hughie “Macarena” McIlvanney did his now famous comedy routine for fundraising as part of “Red Face Day” last year.
What can we say? When the song ‘Born To Run’ (which could be the principal’s life story) came on, Mr Kenny just couldn’t help showing Mr Springsteen who was really the boss.

Enda Stories: episodes from the life of our patron saint. No 2 in a series.

In the pagan Ireland of the late 20th century, not long after St Enda left Mayo to embark on his life of life of Christian teaching, a poor family – named in the chronicles only as “Fine Gael” (“family of the Gael”) – was attacked and left for dead by a bunch of cave-dwelling savages, the “Soldiers of Destiny”.
The soldiers were led by a semi-mythical figure called Bertie, who was said to ride a Celtic Tiger, which conferred magical powers on him, making him invulnerable. But when Saint Enda saw what had been done to the poor family of the Gael, he cast a curse on Bertie, saying that one day the Celtic Tiger would disappear from under him.
At first, nobody believed the holy man, who was called insane, especially after an incident at Mullingar, circa 2007 AD, in which he did battle with Bertie and the Tiger while himself riding only a giant rabbit (called “Pat”).
But gradually Enda breathed life back into the Fine Gael. And it came to pass, eventually, that Bertie’s tiger became extinct, as prophesied, causing him to hit the ground with a hard landing. At this point, he is said to have become very old. Enda, by contrast, never visibly aged and was known, even in his late years, for dancing and playing air guitar, to the delight of his many followers.


Enda’s Story

The newsletter of St Enda’s Special School

A message from the principal

So here we all are, again. After what seemed like an eternity, I am delighted to welcome everybody to our historic second term at St Enda’s. It may have taken a while to sort out our little enrolment problem. But now that we finally have the numbers, our future is secure for years to come, or at least until the summer holidays, which thank God are not far away.
There will be some changes this term. You may notice, for example, that Mr Martin will be lurking in the corridors a lot, even though he won’t be doing any actual work for the school, and on the contrary, remains committed to setting up his own rival establishment as soon as sufficient numbers of parents are stupid enough to forget his last contribution to the sector, at the notorious St Bertie’s.
For the moment, he is playing a mysterious “support” role here. This does not entitle him to use the staff room, although he already seems to have forgotten that part of our agreement.
As you will all know by now, young Mr Harris is the new PE teacher (it only seems like last week that he was head boy in first year!). Such is his enthusiasm for making us healthier, he has already fitted everyone with pedometers. You may also notice a new smoke alarm and CCTV system behind the bike shed!
His predecessor, Mr Varadkar, is now the SPHE teacher. He insists on regarding this as a promotion, although frankly, I can’t even remember what the letters stand for. I think the ‘H’ might be for “humility”, in which case his job may involve learning as well as teaching.
Among the people retaining their existing roles (to even my surprise) is Miss Humphreys, who will continue to have responsibility for art, and to improve our staff quotas under several key headings. We’re all very pleased with the way she organised the recent centenary commemorations, and especially with how she saved the honour of the flag after the rough boys from St Gerry’s tried to wrap themselves in it as usual.
Finally, you will already have met our dynamic new secretary, Miss Doherty. She has responsibility for all roll calls – a very important job this year – and will be adopting a zero tolerance approach to attendance and punctuality.
Be warned! I met her in the hall with a hockey stick the other day, and pointed out that we don’t even have a hockey team at St Enda’s. “It’s not for games,” she told me, whacking an innocent passerby. “It’s for anyone who turns up late.”


 

A word about our crest

People often ask why our school is represented by a lame-duck motif. The story goes back to the original St Enda, a 6th century holy man who helped convert Ireland to Christianity. Once, chased through Mayo by a group of muck-savages called the “soldiers of destiny”, he miraculously transformed himself into a duck and flew away.
There are different stories about what happened to him then. In one version, he was martyred by a pagan king, Leo the Greedy, who before the saint could resume human form, ate him with orange sauce. But in a more uplifting version, Enda survived even this. Leo bit off more than he could chew, choking horribly. And despite a heavily bandaged leg, the saint went on creating miracles for years afterwards.


 

The pipes, the pipes

Following last year’s unfortunate incidents with e-coli poisoning, St Enda’s remains committed to a much-needed overhaul of the school’s water-pipe network.
Unfortunately, due to the failure of the recent fundraising initiative (and notwithstanding the 11th-hour contribution from Mr McGrath, following legal advice), the work will not now go ahead this year.
The school taps will therefore carry a boil-water notice for the foreseeable future. Also, alas, our swimming pool will remain dry.
This does not mean, however, that the time-honoured St Enda’s ritual of pupils throwing new teachers into the pool should not continue. Go for it, kids! And in Mr McGrath’s case, use the high-diving board.


 

Guest columnist

The editor regrets that the advertised column by our school bus driver, Mr Ross, does not appear in this week’s issue.
This is not because of its subject matter: “Why I would make a much better principal than Mr Kenny”. On the contrary, the newsletter welcomes all shades of opinion, especially humorous ones, as in this case.
The problem was Mr Ross’s appalling misuse of English, which the editor was far too busy to clean in time for publication. To give just one example, he refers throughout his article to the principal as “the incompetent” when he clearly means “the incumbent”.
Mr Ross may well be a columnist with something called the ‘Sunday Undependable’, as he claims. But if so, they must have lower standards than St Enda’s newsletter. Our advice to him is not to give up the day job.
Speaking of which, we wish Mr Ross well in his additional role as head of the school sports teams. A hint, in case he needs it: there are 15 players in rugby, not 11, as one of our previous managers (Mr Varadkar) disastrously assumed before our 134-0 defeat to St Michael’s in the preliminary round of the 2011 Junior Schools Cup.


Retirement of Miss Creighton

Lucinda Creighton

Lucinda Creighton

The newsletter is saddened to hear of the early retirement of Lucinda Creighton, who left us to set up her own academy some years ago. Despite policy differences with her in the past, we took no pleasure from her hilarious failure to attract any public support.
And while regretting her departure from educational life, we entirely understand the decision to spend more time with her grievances.


 

Letter from Mr Shatter

The editor regrets that, due to pressure of space, it was not possible to include a letter from another former teacher, Mr Shatter, in this issue.
It was, in any case, a bit long-winded. In some respects it read like an application for a job in a subject the school doesn’t yet offer. But, rest assured, Mr Shatter, if we’re ever looking for an expert on ancient history, you’ll be top of the list.
In the meantime, we promise to publish your whiny correspondence in a future issue, although we reserve the right to edit it severely, and to point out yet again that the principal never put any pressure on you to resign, and definitely didn’t send a package containing a dead fish around to your house.