Water Demo Organizer’s Uncommitted Approach To Pronouncing `30´ and `40´ Blamed For Turnout Figure Confusion


Many? Lots of? Definitely several people at yesterday’s Water Charge demonstration.

Difficulty in establishing an accurate figure for the attendance at yesterday’s Anti Water Charges demonstration in Dublin has been blamed partly on the unwillingness of certain protest group spokespeople to physically voice certain numbers, it has been learned.

Chairman of Dublin-based protest group H2-Whoa!, Mark Byrne, admitted after his live interview with local radio station Spin103.8 that the estimate of “at least 20,000 righteously indignant citizens whose voices will not be silenced” he quoted for his interviewer had certainly erred on the conservative side.

“We’d all agree it was definitely more than twenty thousand, that’s for sure”, he said.

Bleedin’ Low-ids

But I just have a hard time listening to myself pronounce ‘thirty’. I mean, I don’t think I pronounce it wrongly, per se, but whenever I say ‘thirty’, it feels to me I get stared at like I’ve two heads. I suppose I just need to settle on one version and then stick with it, no matter who I think is listening.

Depending on the audience it can go anywhere from a classic soft English ‘Th’ with the soft Irish ‘t’ all the way through to a hard ‘th’ followed by the American-sounding ‘urdy’. Ugh. How am I meant to be taken seriously?

I’m hardly going to go down the ‘tourty’ road, am I? Come on.

“Don’t get me started on ‘forty’, either. Fawrdy? Forshy? Fowerthy? No chance I was going there. Thing is, it probably was about forty.”

Foy-iver De Tree Tobler-owins

Byrne explained his nervousness about pronouncing particular numbers was then compounded by the desire to retain his credibility as a person capable of counting.

“Fifty I’d normally have felt relatively safe with, and it wouldn’t even have been a big exaggeration. But yesterday for some reason, right when they asked me to comment on the turnout, all those wrapping paper sellers on Henry Street suddenly flashed in my head and I got worried I’d be alienating a chunk of people by not saying ‘feefty’.

“Don’t ask me why.”

So that gets us to ‘sixty’ which nobody can mess up. Put ten random Irish people in a room and they’ll all say ‘sixty’. But there was no way there were close to sixty thousand people there, right? People would have thought I was nuts.


“Though I wish there had been, it’s just one of those perfect numbers we all agree on. Or how about a simple ‘half a million’. Yes”, he said.

“That would’ve been even better.”

Byrne stated that when he writes up his post about yesterday’s events for the H2-Whoa! blog after work this evening, he’ll probably put the number at around 43,000.

Byrne also outlined plans to emigrate to Spain in 2017, shortly after he turns 29.

Meanwhile, a representative of the Gardaí Síochána this morning put yesterday’s attendance figure at “Bouha couple ha hunderd, now fuck off”.