I’m sure I’ve been there before, though I don’t have any concrete memories to ascertain this fact, so to begin I will say to day was my first time in Dublin Castle. Viewing its entrance on Dame Street it seems something unsubstantial could be held behind it, this is far from the truth though as within my brief stroll around I uncovered a kind of fortressed community hosting public hearings, shielding the financial security of the state, gardens offering respite from the grey outside, old and new architecture cobbled together to serve any number of functions including in my case a conference centre. The conference added little of note to my life, other than a workplace psychologist informing her audience that feeling of exhaustion so many of us suffer from first thing in the morning is now termed TAT (Tired All the Time) and we can allieve this by setting aside time for ourselves in the day. Like Simons post below I like a bit of quiet time spent by myself during the day, now that it is a recommended acronym bearing ailment solution I feel quiet time has been turned into an extra thing to do every day - is nothing safe from these people who get paid to preach common sense?
Anyway, a chance to escape presented itself so I chose to venture to the lower courtyard and visit the sitting Payments Tribunal, one of the species on which I somehow wrote 10, 000 words on a lifetime ago. It almost seems you are walking towards a service entrance, the only clue you have as to something of note is the gaggle of photographers behind a barrier. Walking up to the door I pass a lady putting the finishing touches on the chalk painting that may be used to give a sense of proceedings in tomorrows broadsheets. Inside is pretty bog standard, a large room with cylinder shaped vents traversing the ceiling, I proceeded to join the almost add to the almost full set of seats set out for the public, Joe Higgins amongst having spotted Charlie Bird in the press section and no one of note, tome at least, in the legal representatives area. At the top of the room Judge Mahon presides, though his only words during my short stint there was to discuss and announce a break. In front of him sit a mixture of individuals, presumably the over paid legal representatives of much notoriety, examining the documents under examination on screens in front of them, said documents also projected on a screen for the public to view.
The extent of the hearing I was there for was confirming the findings, or lack thereof, by AIB regarding the origin currency of a number of amounts. However I managed to position myself I could not fully make out the faces of the questioner, determined to confirm every line of text written in front of him, nor the person in box, who specialised in one word answers. What was being achieved in this particular session was beyond me and it affirmed many of the examples of inefficiency I came across, researching the tribunals such as reading the entire volume of texts into record, procedure winning out over expediency. A strange and motley crew surrounded me, a mix of ages and gender, each possibly waiting for an unexpected turn of events. My day won’t allow me venture over tomorrow and Thursday I’d doubt there is little point going to see Bertie’s performance. The room seemed tired to me, perhaps it is the calm before the storm of the next few days. Whatever the weather it was intriguing to venture in and see this Tribunal, like the restaurant at the end of the universe, somehow about to tip over the edge but never quite doing so. Maybe this week will bring change.