These days you simply don’t exist in a community if you aren’t on at least one committee and the more committees you are on then the more important you are…fact. And it simply goes without saying that the later the meeting goes on the harder working that committee obviously is. Many a morning tea break banter is filled with ‘sure I didn’t get home till after midnight’ or ‘the agenda was never ending’ and ‘I’ve another one tonight’. The Irish committee offers its members comfort in knowing that once you are part of one you can hide behind its name for almost anything you’d rather not say or do yourself like ‘Mary, I loved your idea but the committee think its total utter nonsense…like really terrible …awful….’ or ‘I’d love to honey but I simply can’t make your nephew’s 1st birthday party I’ve a committee meeting…yes at 2pm on a Saturday!’

It’s also an unwritten rule that most meetings in Ireland have to take part in the local pub as anywhere else is simply ‘too cold’ and sure we could die of hypothermia. This may be a small part of the reason the meetings ‘drag’ on or in fact why *Joe is on 20 committees (isn’t he a saint the time he puts into the community).  We are no different here on the Reign of Terror committee in Kells, Co. Kilkenny and with all the sub committees involved there may well be a committee meeting in the local 365 nights of the year!

A typical minutes of a meeting may look something like this…

1.       Chairman’s address applauding everyone on how amazing we are doing for such a small, rural community and wondering why RTE hasn’t contacted us yet to do a ‘behind the scenes’ look at just how we go about being so wonderful (Joan will look into this as her second cousin was on Winning Streak in 1995).

2.       Marketing sub-committee give update on their ongoing trojan work for the event on October 13th. It’s agreed we don’t need to pay any PR company this year as they are clearly doing an outstanding job without any paid help…the last Facebook post got 62 likes and 12 shares (we didn’t even know 4 of the people who shared-outstanding). The Facebook reach we have now is a credit to them and they’ve even branched into something called Instagram (many us don’t know what this is and some fear it’s a type of cult as marketing committee keep going on about our followers but they assure us it’s a good thing). There was also a Reign of Terror poster spotted in Dublin!!!…enough said about this high achieving sub-committee…we’d be shocked if the event wasn’t sold out by next week.

3.       Obstacle sub-committee break from their huddle and signal they want to speak by waving sticks in the air and their leader stands up. He reminds everyone about how much work the Obstacle committee are going to do closer to the event and everybody better be aware of this and be prepared to muck in or there will be a repeat of last year’s obstacle committee meltdown. Their ‘if we build it they will come’ mentality is second to none and they really don’t see the point of the marketing sub-committee at all. If you don’t get cold, dirty or injured then it’s not real work. Forget the Bookface thing and concentrate on getting Muck on the Face. This ‘clever’ play on words is greeted with a cheer from the rest of the obstacles group and it’s clear now that this is what the aforementioned huddle was all about.

4.       Joe arrives late giving his apologies but he was at another committee meeting.

5.       All hell breaks loose when Philip from the ancillary events sub-committee foolishly suggests giving the Reign of Terror marshalls sandwiches instead of burgers on the day of next event to save time. Burgers need to be given out warm during event whereas sambos could be given first thing at the briefing. In fairness he couldn’t have known it was a topic so close to a lot of peoples’ hearts otherwise we could have avoided the ‘burgergate’ that ensues. Billy from obstacles has to be held back and it’s clear when Noel excuses himself from the room that he is crying. Order is finally restored when the chairman makes an excecutive decision to stick to burgers again but it will be a long time before some wounds are healed.

6.       Joe excuses himself early as he has another committee meeting to attend.

7.       Finance sub-committee (just one person!) presents the budget for the coming season onto the wall. It is met with mixed reaction from the various Reign of Terror parties…sorry sub-committees. No one wants marketing to get anything…like how much can it be to print off a few leaflets (what else do they do again?) The Obstacles brigade demand the highest budget as they are clearly the most important group but they don’t need anything for a good while yet. The ancillary events committee, trying to make up for their earlier moment of lunacy, request a slight increase to their budget to add cheese to the marshalls’ burgers and this is met with a unanimous nod of approval. Alan has the final say and no one is getting anything more than allocated…end of…and if a group asks again a zero will be taken off the end of their given amount. Next item on the agenda so.

8.       Kevin from registrations (another lone reigner sub committee member) gives update on the online registrations system and suggests wave times for this year’s event. No one cares, comments or is really interested until the final wave time is released, as this time will affect the time of the final committee get together, in the local the evening of October 13th, post event clean up! All reasons and excuses are aired as to why the final wave should be as early as possible in the day and in the end Kevin deletes the final 3 waves of the day to keep tensions at bay (Alan from accounts buries his head in his hands and mourns the 3 waves of profit lost).

9.       Chairman wraps up by setting the date for the next committee meeting in a months time…well apart from the multiple sub-committee meetings, emails, whatssapps, texts, calls and smoke signals that will go on in between…right so whose round is it?

*No names have been changed to protect the identity of any committee members