They say that in politics it is important to know how to pick your battles.
There is often little point in sticking your neck out for a minor policy that will have virtually no chance of success but the stench of defeat could follow you around and make you look weak.
Perhaps someone should have told the leaders of Waterford City and County Council.
It would seem that they have bitten off more than they can chew after imposing a swearing ban in the public parks.
The council recently introduced a number of bye laws. One of which stated: “No person shall beg, gamble, use obscene or profane language, behave indecently or cause annoyance.”
People who use ‘obscene or profane language’ can be fined up to €1,270.
Other activities that have been banned include having a barbecue, smoking, skating, picking flowers and flying model aeroplanes.
As you might expect, this has not gone down well with many of the Waterford public who don’t wish to be told what they can do in their own time.
In an act of defiance, one group has organised the ‘BBQ, Smoking, Skating, Flowerpicking, Model Aeroplane Flying and Cursing Fest 2015’
The event will take place on 1 August in the city’s famous People’s Park and is advertised on Facebook. So far nearly 2,000 people have said they will be attending.
People are encouraged to bring: “Yourself, including all your barbeque, smoking, skating, flower picking, model aeroplane flying and cursing paraphernalia.”
The organisers are keen to make sure that this isn’t seen as an antisocial movement, rather as a group that doesn’t need to be told how they should behave.
The description on the Facebook page continued: “Remember to clean up after yourself and most important of all, have a good time in our beautiful public park.”
The council may have had good intentions as Sinn Féin councillor Pat Fitzgerald said: “I believe the law applies to swearing in an ‘antisocial / threatening context’. To apply it in any other context, would, I believe, be an unnecessary ‘big brother law’, an invasion of privacy and impossible to police.”
However, they will have to see this as a blunder. It is reminiscent of the episode in Father Ted in which the priests were instructed to protest against a ‘blasphemous’ film but only succeeded in making it the most successful film in the area’s history.
Take a look at the classic episode below