Sunday 28 April 2019


(I've been overwhelmed by the response to this piece in the newspaper, so please only contact me if Eir owe you money, and you're happy to be included in a group file that will be forwarded to Eir's CEO and ComReg. Thanks.)

If it has only happened to me then I’m just unlucky. If it’s happening to many of you, it’s one hell of a scam.

After years of being obliged to be an Eir customer, I thought I was finally free. 

They’d had me monopolised by the short and curlies for ages, overcharging me for calls that should’ve been part of my bundle and proving a nightmare to deal with.

When they ran Fibre broadband into my home, it was impossible to resist. 

Due to that aforementioned monopoly, I’d no choice. Eir were the only provider.

At that time I was paying 427 different communication companies the GDP of a small country each month, so I sold my entire soul to Eir.

A landline, two mobiles, internet and, god help us, Eir TV, which has an interface designed by a blindfolded wildebeest.

To be fair, once they wholly owned me, Eir failed to overcharge me at all.

Then I was forced to move house, far from Fibre Broadband. It was the proverbial ill wind, as it allowed me to rid myself of Eir.

Or so I thought.

Naturally I was completely unsurprised that giving notice on my bundle was far more complicated than it needed to be. After a visit to the shop, several calls and emails, I finally received their formal confirmation of my cancellation request.

They said they’d cut off my broadband two days before the end of my service period, and the phones were going to go … well, they weren't exactly sure, but soon.

I just obeyed, even when the archaic sods demanded: “You must return all TV and Fibre broadband equipment to us within 30 days after your service is cancelled to avoid any charges.”

Do what? Send it all back? Nobody asks for that! You’re ‘avin’ a larf!

Experienced with Eir, I’d kept their original boxes, into which I packed all the required leads, cables, remote controls, prize rubies and deep-fried pigeon livers.

Weeks later they sent me a single Freepost address label, so I had to buy a mailing box, but not before I took photos of all the equipment, so they couldn’t charge for any missing items.

Sure enough they didn’t. They came up with a whole new and especially dastardly way of upsetting me.

Over the decades I’ve successfully fought for my rights against TalkTalk, Sky, Hertz and any other corporate entity that robs or wrongs me.

Unlike most people who have lives and better things to do, I will hang on for that extra 20 minutes and then send another letter to a CEO, as this newspaper allows me the opportunity to share these struggles, so you know you’re not alone.

Millions of us are screwed daily by despicable disingenuous global giants, so it’s important we know we are not a collection of lone victims, but part of an army that’s being slaughtered in the consumer trenches.

At some stage all these other companies acknowledged a problem, reacted and compensated.

However, as many DVs from the archive will attest, Eir are impervious to mere customers.

Finally free from Eir I settled into life in my new home, sure I’d escaped the one company that has always foiled me.

A few weeks later I received an email, saying my new Eir bill was available online.


My account had been cancelled, my phone proudly carried another company’s Sim, while my broadband is now a combination of Chinese wizardry and a super-fit hamster on the roof.

I decided I could die happily never looking at that bill.

Then I received an Eir bill in the mail, saying they owed me €70.06.

A stream of unprintable expletives erupted from my North and South.

This is where I need to know if I’m alone, because if they’re creating credits with all their departing bundle punters, we could be looking at fraud.

I had done exactly what they asked. I’d delivered precisely the notice they demanded and paid every bill on time, and they had cut off all my services as and when they decided, so there was absolutely no reason for discrepancy.

The bill showed credit was due for part-period charges that ran beyond their own cancellation date. 

Eir set all the timeframes, yet somehow contrived to take money from me for periods they knew - as they themselves had decided - I was no longer a customer.

My Eir horror was about to get worse. In order to have my phone call accepted, I was required to tap in either my Eir account number or phone number.

Ever vigilant, ever logical, Eir’s screening robot recognised neither, as both had been cancelled.

With the tenacity of a pitbull on speed, I eventually managed to find a voice with a heartbeat, who immediately transferred me to the oblivion of call waiting where, after 23 minutes of being told my call was important, I was cut off.

A few days later I tried again, explaining that they had essentially robbed me of 70 quid. If they didn’t put me through to a supervisor or deal with my request I would take legal action.

They refused to help me retrieve my money, instead insisting on transferring me.

In turn, I refused to be sent once more into their musical torture chamber.

Instead I wrote this, which will be cut out of the newspaper and sent to Eir’s CEO and marketing department.

I gave it everything I had, people, but so far have failed to breach their corporate walls.

Every month the bills still come. Eir are taunting me with the money they owe me.

Let me know if Eir have done this to you too.

It’s time we fought back.

Charlie Adley

Sunday 21 April 2019


Although others doubtless felt relief at the news of Pádraig Conneely’s retirement from politics, Double Vision lost one of its favourite foils.

Over the last two decades, Podge and I have enjoyed gently upsetting each other.

My first encounters with Pádraig Conneely came on Friday lunchtimes in the early 1990s, when we both chose to hang out in the Connacht Tribune newsroom.

A smattering of editors leaned back on their chairs, enjoying a bit of craic, chatting about the latest news and scandal, while the floor vibrated beneath our feet, as presses and conveyor belts printed and assembled the newspapers below.

New in Galway, ignorant and curious, I wondered who was this strange man, sat with his feet up on a desk down at the end of the room?

With his with oiled hair and pinstripe suit, his face carried a worldweary scowl. He looked like a baddie from a black and white movie, but was he there to nick our news or feed it to us?

Editor Mike Glynn advised me that it was a bit of both; that he was some kind of unofficial PR for local Fine Gael.

When in 2004 I returned to Galway from North Mayo, I discovered that far from lurking in the shadows, Podge had now become the most visible figure on Galway’s political scene.

Obstreperous and obstructive, outspoken and on occasion plain vindictive, Podge made headlines each week by disrupting the council chamber.

His omnipresence in local media was clearly and blatantly down to self promotion, and he was starting to drive a lot of people plain potty.

That’s when this colyoom told the people of Galway how I’d played ‘Podge’s Breakfast Bingo’, which entailed sitting at my kitchen table with a Full Irish on the plate and a pile of local papers.

I could eat each item only when I saw either a photo of Podge, or read a story in which he was mentioned.

Front page story about him: there go my rashers. Photo of him on page 2: fried eggs down my gob. Photo of him and a story about him on page 7: snarf my bangers with slices of toast.

Hours later, Podge took his revenge by talking on the radio while I was lying in my bath.

Did I really have to listen to his complaints as I lay there naked?

There truly was no escaping the man.

Podge made it known to me he was unhappy about the piece, but that in itself meant nothing, as he was always unhappy about something.

Even back then though I suspected there was more to the man than vanity. Was it possible that such profound cynicism as his harboured a wit dryer than desert sands?

Several years later we met again in the Tribune newsroom, where he smiled and walked up to me.

“You haven’t written about me for a long time. Write something about me.”

Astonished by the fearless honesty of his order, I looked him in the eye, making sure he was being serious.

“Really, Podge? But it didn’t exactly go well for you last time, did it? What would I write? What do you want me to say?”

“Just write something about me.”

It was impossible not to admire Podge’s ability to be brazenly demanding. He made no pretence of his ambition. I went off and wrote about Podge asking me to write about him, just as I’m doing again now, and yet again, the man made it clear he was unhappy.

That time I didn’t care.
He’d asked for it.

By 2008 Podge had risen to the top of the local tree, making waves in national news by earning the moniker of ‘Galway’s Maverick Mayor.’

Around that time we found ourselves on a boat together, during a regatta. Puffing on his fag, Podge shouted impatiently at the skipper:

“How long are we out for? I have to get back soon! I’ve places to go!”

Surrounded by a fleet of Galway Hookers, we were in the middle of Galway bay on a gloriously sunny afternoon.

’What’s the rush? Relax!” I admonished.him.

“You know what I like, Charlie? I like shopping in Chicago.”

Podge then proceeded to reveal things about himself that I cannot print here. Suffice to say he managed to deeply shock a man who thought he was beyond shocking.

Yet again, Podge had been blatant, bold and completely unapologetic. I felt as if he was almost daring me to write about what he’d said, but I won’t, as there’s another side to the conundrum that is Pádraig Conneely.

Early on the morning of Podge’s inauguration as mayor, I called him from a clubhouse in the city. I’d just started working with a group of young Travellers and was disgusted to find that the place was in tatters.

Windows were broken, shards of glass sticking out of the frames, while live electric cables were hanging loose from walls.

As I explained to Podge on the phone, it was unfit for any humans, never mind young ones. Once he’d settled into his new office, could he maybe do something about it?

I hadn’t expected Podge’s reply: “I’m on my way, Charlie.”

15 minutes later he was in that dilapidated hovel, assessing the situation, his spanky new mayoral robes and ceremonial chains glistening in the darkness.

“It’s a disgrace. Leave it with me, Charlie.”

That afternoon two men arrived and fixed the place up, and here lies the quandary. Intensely irritating and cravenly self-promoting, Podge cares much more than he allows his image to show.

Part irritating whinny, part concerned councillor, Podge was and always will be a paradoxical character, and therefore a true Galwegian.

©Charlie Adley

Sunday 14 April 2019


That clock change couldn’t have come at a better time. Every year around now I start waking up ridiculously early. 

We’re not talking mere incremental minutes per week, but hours.

I’ll happily admit that the odd dawn is a wonder to perceive. 

Sometimes you have to get out there and wander the dew-drenched grasses, watch mist lifting slowly from distant reed-strewn dips, drying out and disappearing under the strong sun.

There’s an exquisite calm about that time of day.

In the magnificent trees around my new home dawn is increasingly orchestrated by birdsong. The chorus will reach epic levels in weeks to come, but that’s not the reason I’m waking up.

I’ll sleep through anything natural. 

Hailstones slamming my window? 

Falling asleep to storm force winds? 
Yes please.

The sound of smashing rain is my codeine, but a distant motorbike has me sitting up in bed.

Far more blathering fool than evolutionary biologist, I reckon that the reason I wake up at 5:05 am at this time of year is primal. I’ve noticed it’s very much a male thing.

As soon as I give out about waking up silly early, there rumbles a collective blokey muttering of “Yeh, I know, me too, tell me about it.”

You can have all the lifestyle sleep well live full breathe deep pooh well apps you want, but none of them are more powerful than the one inside you.

If you’re a male mammal and it’s light, there might be other predators about, so you’ve got to be awake; alert; protect the brood.

Ironically far from 21st century woke, but that’s the way it was, that’s why I do it, and it’s exceedingly irritating, because I neither need nor want to be wide awake that early.

If I were anything approaching a sensible being, I’d rise at first light and construct a day with another sleep in it somewhere.

Introducing: The Connacht Siesta.

I love my sleep, and for a while I’ve been taking medication at night, but recently I ran writing classes with 34 first-year girls at Our Lady’s College, and decided that if I could do that, I didn’t need the pills any more.

Just realised that my ‘Male Oink Must Protect’ theory is pure bunkum, because dawn comes much earlier in the Summer, yet I only wake up this early in Spring.

I don’t know. Spring is a crazy season, perfectly named. The sun is high enough in the sky to deliver deep comforting warmth to our faces, but like a bound coil of metal, the weather bounces back and forth, as if ten minutes ago was tomorrow.

Ten days ago I sat in this chair at 9:15 in the morning, working away while snow fell hard and heavy, on a brutal northerly gale.

At 11 I took my coffee outside, under a blue sky dotted with wispy little clouds, ambling along on a gentle breeze.

An hour later I put on the light, as there was none beyond my window. The sun now a distant memory, the sky was the colour of coal.

Vast clouds ripped asunder, unleashing driving crashing hailstones.

In minutes my garden transformed into black and white, above and below. A monochrome vignette for a moment, and then the sun came out and it all melted.

Spring: it doesn’t know where it’s going, and we’re mistaken if we think we can follow nature’s clues.

Naturally our old folk sayings and country maxims make much sense, but also we know that wildlife really hasn’t got a clue.

Flora and fauna respond to whatever the weather delivers, so just because you see a bumblebee buzzing by it doesn’t mean it’s a good time for bumblebees to wake up.

A warm wet February encourages plants to germinate, and then high pressure moves over from the east, bringing a long dry hard freeze that spells curtains for fresh green shoots, as well as the food chain that feeds on the plants now unable to grow.

It’s not all luvvy duvvy harmony and balance out there. Nature’s world is one of chaos, random events and mutations.

We humans have drawn lines that link species, paths of evolution and the ways of DNA, yet we flatter ourselves when we believe we can control the ecosystem.

Destroy the present order of it, yes, but we will not be the last species alive on this planet.

Whatever whichever season delivers, I try to make sure to appreciate it. I’m not going to worry about that bumblebee making it. I’m just pleased to see him fly by.

Planted long ago by someone I know only from their love of nature, bluebells in the tiny bed stand tall and beautiful, while others are popping up under bushes and sprouting from the lawn.

The trees here are tantalisingly close to unfurling their glory, while the hedges are already full of leaf and life, filled with wrens, tits and all manner of tiny beasties scrambling in and out at high speed.

Every year’s first flush of colour, the celandine has gone, passing its yellow flag to breathtaking gasps of primroses, lining the high banks of my driveway.

If I look long enough in any direction and a brown shape will move. Big furry fluffy bunnies flourish round here.

A brace of technicolour pheasants live in the back field, screeching as they flee low overhead, each time the fox comes to visit.

I fear for their chicks, but nature will do what it will.

It’s Spring.

Time to wake up and embrace life.

Yeh, but it’s 5:10 am and no, go away with all your glorious nature stuff. Leave me alone. I’m going back to sleep.

Lovely sleep.

©Charlie Adley

Sunday 7 April 2019


“So what was it that made a London boy like yourself feel at home here?”

Group Editor of Tribune newspapers, Dave O’Connell is sitting in for Keith Finnegan on Galway Bay FM.

“Well, just off the boat from France in ’92, I was working as a kitchen porter in Kinsale, but my eyes were drawn to Connemara on my map. When I went there, phwoohh, it was like meeting my soul in a mirror.”

Yeh, dead poetic, but actually I just made that last bit up. 

Can’t remember exactly what I said on the radio, but it wasn’t as good as that.

Point is, ever since that interview, I’ve been pondering the idea of home. What I said was true, but it set me wondering, because it’s far from the whole truth.

(Indulge me please, as I give thanks that English is my native language. I know but cannot explain why ‘wondering’ and ‘pondering’ do that. English must be a nightmare to learn. Monkey Donkey. Digression over.)

When I finally moved to Connemara in ’94, I experienced home at last. For the first time I’d a little house all to myself. 

2 miles from the village (pub), the 12 Pins everywhere, moonscape moraine and Granuaille and Donal’s auld ruined love-nest out of my kitchen window.

I felt I’d run out of countries. There were still untold places I hadn’t been to, but that house was the end of my own long road.

How perfectly ironic that after I’d hared around the planet twice, I ended up in the country next door, where I’d never been; never thought of going to; knew nothing about.

When I’d hitched in new countries as a teenager I treasured contact addresses and phone numbers.

A sofa to sleep on, a hot shower and conversation with a local: comfort to the young traveller.

By the age of 32 however, I was delighted that I knew nobody in this country.

Not a soul.
A clean palette.

I was done with doing countries. I wanted Ireland to happen to me, and it did, both socially and professionally.

Here in the West I feel that I’m swimming with life’s tide.
Within a single month of arriving opportunities personal and professional appeared: Salthill nightclubs and King For A Day Tuesday afternoons in an Tobar, a job working with young Travellers in the Rahoon flats and this colyoom.

Given the job of blathering opinion at the locals, I was handicapped only by the aforementioned fact that I knew nothing about the country, its people, history, culture or politics.

No divorce.

No contraception. 
No skin colour apart from excruciatingly white. 
No ruling parties of the Left or Right.

Had I walked through the wardrobe? 

How come this place was hanging out just to the left of England, where all of the above were entrenched; unquestioned?

In the process of trying to learn about Ireland, I realised I’d found my home. Asking questions earned answers that twisted my brain and knotted my funny bone with paradox and intelligent nonsense.

I loved it, but then I loved another more, and left Ireland. All my life I’d wholly moved on, always forwards. Now I felt a yearning; a strong need to go back.

Is that what made this home? 

No, not that. 
Not because when I left it I grieved. 
Not that, even though it was so powerful it drove me insane.

I don’t want the reason this place feels like home to be as pathetic and drastic as ‘I can’t live without it.’

There are countless reasons more positive. The compassion of the people in the West is unique and incredibly welcome.

I love that here nobody blinks when you say you're a writer. The old fella at the bar in my very first Irish pub grunted at me:

“Ah, a scribbler is it? Sure, doesn’t every fecker have a novel stuffed under the bed?”

For years home became North Mayo. Before a marketing miracle turned the West Coast of Ireland into the Wild Atlantic Way, on February mornings I walked DownPatrick Head and Kilcummin Back Strand, utterly alone in overwhelming majesty.

Part of my home will always be London, home to my family and lifetime friends. One of them is turning 60, so recently I trawled my photo albums for ancient and hilarious pics of him.

In the process however I kept on seeing three male faces. Page after page they turned up.

Thankfully, it wasn’t only work that fell my way when I arrived in Galway. I met Blitz in the Jug o’Punch, and he introduced me to The Body and Whispering Blue.

I hadn’t moved to Ireland to hang out with Crusties from Reigate, so it was beyond brilliant to meet three local lads, all of whom had travelled and lived life.

Last week Blitz was in town, so we put the band back together for a midday coffee outside The Quays.

Was a time when that arrangement would've been absolutely lethal. Decades older and altogether achier, we actually drank coffee. I looked at the lads and realised another reason I feel at home here.

Long ago these three local men insisted I feel at home in their homes, and I did.

Later that night I walked into a bar to meet Blitz.

A friend waved his hand from far across the bar. I waved back, catching the eye of another in front, who thought I was waving to him, which I would’ve, had I seen him.

The barman said my friend had just paid for my Jameson, and it was all rather a bit too wonderful, when Blltz’s better half (proportionately unfair to the woman) appeared out of nowhere and gave me a great big hug.



©Charlie Adley

Monday 1 April 2019


In today’s world of pristine polished prose, squeaky-clean speech and super sensitivity, we have learned to sand down spoken rough edges that might cut the sensibilities of the vulnerable.

Let’s face it, if we’re honest, we’re all vulnerable. Who’d want to upset anybody in the course of their regular day?

We keep it clean, not because our souls are shiny, but because we know that we too sometimes feel attacked.

Thankfully we also know that when we’re with others of similar spirit, we can have a bloody good laugh,
telling tales nobody could share in the public domain.

One day last week there was a group of lads, three local-born and one Blow-In, sitting inside on a day when the world was more drenched than an overloaded dripping sponge.

Every outside surface was soaked, the air thick with grey.

A fire roared in the hearth. On the TV You Tube meandered around algorithmic past preferences, choosing a soothing mixture of songs it felt these four Bags of Mostly Water wanted to hear.

Strong hot tea arrived by the mugfull.
Bellies were full of spuds, mince and gravy.
The mood was gentle, light and calm.

“Was walking back from the Prom and popped into O’Reilly’s. Anto took me up to look at the view from his rooftop bar. Tell ye lads, that’s got to be one of the best views you’ll ever see from anywhere in the world.”

“That’s stretching it a bit, eh?”

“Tell ya. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.”

“Did you walk past the Warwick? See the state of the place?”

“Oh don’t even. So sad, it’s all but derelict now, pretty much ”

“Thought they’d sold it?”

“Yeh, there was something about that alright. Didn’t they want to turn it into a nursing home?”

“Yeh, that’s right, but there was an objection and an appeal. Think they might’ve got the go ahead now, though. Not sure.”

“A Nursing home? The Warwick a nursing home. More old people? God but Salthill is getting vey old.”

“Yeh, but hey, let’s be honest, so are we lads.”

“Speak for yourself. I’ll always been a lot younger than you, and never forget it.”

“Older and wiser, I’ll settle for that.”

“You’ve no choice, ye bollix.”

“Just imagine, like, if you end up there. I mean seriously, how many who’ll end up there would’ve started off there?”

“What d’ya mean, started off there?”

“I mean like, how many of us started up at the Warwick, or the Oasis, for that matter?”

“Jeeze, well, seeing as you’re asking, don’t mind admitting, I had my first ride there. Sham gig I think it was. Can’t remember much of it, to be honest. but I do know that it was there, in the Jacks it happened. Some of the other details are a bit blurry, like.”

“What details? You mean details like who it was with, and that sort of thing?”

“Yeh, well, kind of like that sort of thing. That kind of detail. ’Twas a long time ago. A bloody long time ago, and it’s not getting any nearer.”

“Yeh, but come on, seriously, really, you can’t remember who your first time was with? You’ve lost the name on your cherry? Ah come on! Don’t believe it.”

“Buckie was involved.”

”Ah well, okay, fair enough, but, so, if you don’t even know something as basic as her name, how do you know anything happened at all?”

“Some things you never forget, mate.”

Group guffawing ensued, tinged with the tiniest frisson of self-conscious tingling at how incorrect everyone was being.

Standards were about to plunge deeper.

“You had your first ride there, and now you can die there.”

First Ride There - Died There! That’ll be the slogan, on the ads, lads!”

More chesty knee-rolling guffawing.

Everyone was hooked on the roll now.

“Oh my god! First Ride There - Died There. Love it! And and and just think lads, you could be getting your pills from reformed dealers who sold you other ones when you were a teenager.”

“And injections from cleaned up heroin dealers.”

“And the Warwick’s DJs could be running the hospital radio!”

“Oh stop. Stop stop stop, it’s hurting! Like they could have still have all the old club nights. Like Sex Kitchen on Friday nights, getting down and dirty in the saucepans!”

“Yeh and Wednesday Night’s The Reggae Room, when patients are allowed to try alternative therapies. Herbal treatments all round, eh! Very nice, don’t mind if I do. To help the pain, see. Purely medicinal, like.”

“Yeh, and Thursdays could be Naked, with the extra buzz that nobody’d bat an eyelid if everyone just dropped their jammies and boogied down!”.

“Sounds great. Sign me up!”

“Yeh but who could afford it?”

A brief silence of buzzkill fell upon proceedings.

“Jeeze lads, for feck’s sake, we’re not quite ready for booking rooms in the nursing home yet. Get over yourselves, boys, for Christ’s sake. ’Tis a shame to see the Warwick get like that, and maybe it’ll be best to convert it, but hey, shteddy on with the tie me up to a drip stuff. We’ve still got a tiny bit of life to get on with, before any of us are ready to hand over our teeth at reception.”

©Charlie Adley