More than just a driver to us all

I was all set to write about the Crookstown Variety Show this week — to tell you about my involvement in the thing, and to encourage all to come along this Friday or Saturday night and enjoy the fun and the frolics.

And fun is an essential part of life, you see.

Sometimes, that can be overlooked, with all the running around we do.

Unfortunately, I am unable to write about Crookstown Variety Show this week, because a much bigger local story has come to the boil.

It’s a story that overshadows anything I could ever possibly write, about a stage production.

Popular local taxi man Tim ‘Shoteen’ O’Sullivan dropped a bombshell on us all last weekend, when he announced that he will no longer be ferrying inebriated fellows home from the pub.

Indeed, not only has Shoteen decided to call time on the ferrying merry fellows, he will desist from carrying drunks and sober passengers alike.

After five years of excellent service in this neck of the woods, Shoteen has called it a day. He is pulling down the shutters on his taxi business. He will be missed.

And for those of us who regularly called on him in our hour of need, he will be missed most of all.

You see, there was never a time in the day, or night that you felt you couldn’t call on Shoteen.

Sometimes, you didn’t even have to call him at all, he would just appear in the haze. Like that angel fellow in the TV programme, Highway To Heaven — through cloudy vision you’d spot him, arriving to ferry you safely home after a night on the tiles.

With us out here in rural Ireland in constant fear of the breathalyzer, Shoteen was in many ways a life-saver.

While those in urban areas have many forms of transportation, out here in rural Ireland, if you don’t have a local man willing to operate a taxi service, you have nothing.

And now, with Shoteen gone, we have nothing.

To be fair to the man, it wasn’t an easy job to perform. It’s no easy task to trundle up and down every boreen in the region collecting or dropping off this fellow and that. He should have charged us more, but he never did. He knew money was scarce.

Rural services like the one Shoteen once offered should be supported in some fashion.

Don’t ask me how this could be done, I’m no regulator in the taxi game — all I do know is that it can be very beneficial to all to know that there is a reputable taxi service in a rural community.

A lot of people talk about rural isolation, surely by supporting those involved in the running of a rural taxi service, you would be going some way in combating the curse of rural isolation.

You see, with Shoteen, it wasn’t just the spin that was enjoyed by all, but the banter also.

The craic going home in the taxi often times surpassed what passed for a good night of entertainment in the pub.

So thank you, Tim, for your time.

And on behalf of those who merrily travelled with you along the bumpy highways and byways of county Cork, we wish you all the best as you journey ahead in your new career.


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