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Sunday, 6 July 2014

Arts Council refuses funding to literary festival organised by Father Sean Fortune

Sean Fortune is the one with the shades and the crutches.

The Arts Council has, for the twenty seventh successive year, refused any funding at all to the Widdle In The Well literary festival founded and, to this day, directed by the late Father Sean Fortune. The Council  this year didn't give the festival sufficient funds to buy a small felt tip pen. The Council has refused to publicly give any reason for this inexplicable funding refusal.

Others would have used their own death (by suicide in 1999) as an excuse to give up. By not Sean Fortune, who is also a founder of, and mastermind behind, the Abbey Theatre, the Citizen Army, the Irish Country Women's Association, the Legion of Mary, and the League of German Girls.  
The Widdle In The Well is by far the longest running and most innovative literary festival in the metropolis of Muff. The festival began in the early 1750s when Father Sean Fortune discovered that there is a well in the town, down which William Butler Yeats once urinated. Since then, whatever the weather, each December 25th poets of the old Third Division South gather to read Haiku, blank verse, and the occasional raucous Limerick about pig farming down the very well Yeats once put to such excellent use. It was a bitter day, legend has it, and Yeats' prostate was aggravated. We have all been there. Or if we haven't, we will be. Except the feminists. And they've been other places. But I digress. Google the word 'Muff' to see for yourself just how much The Widdle In The Well has come to mean to the people of the locality. But, with their Dublin-centric world view, the Arts Council don't give a shit about what goes on in places like Muff. If it was held in Rathgar or West Cork or Galway Four, the Arts Council would be all over it like a fungal infection. But The Widdle, as the festival is affectionately known by afficionados, is not their thing. Bastards.

The poets of the old Third Division South have responded with  understandable outrage. Petitions are being circulated. Politicians are being fingered. Acts of terrorism are planned. 

The late Russell Murphy, also now a poetry events organiser, has been filling Twitter with exclamation marks. In an official statement Murphy said: "The Widdle at the Well is a festival which allows a few people to get together each Christmas Day and be not much good. The Arts Council should come out and be man enough to tell the public what their problem is regarding Sean Fortune. It's just personalities. And it's a disgrace that sort of thing should be allowed to get in the way of this annual celebration of exquisite mediocrity."

Poet and perfoming hog farmer Metoo McDim said: "I would happily allow Sean Fortune, or indeed, Russell Murphy to rub their slimed up penises back and forth across my Gran's corpse, if I thought doing so would lead to me being asked to come along and read one unryhming couplet about my pigs to an audience of hardly anybody. I've no time for all this office politics. What have they got against Sean Fortune? This is petty nonsense."

A number of prominent individuals and organisations have issued statements in support of the Widdle In The Well. These include activist Squeaky Frome; the late Oliver St. John Gogarty; Dana Rosemary Scallon's cat; and George Galloway's surprise third buttock. 

Both Maude Gonne-McBride and the late Klaus Barbie have given donations which will, it is hoped, enable the festival to take place this Christmas Day. At the opening of this year's festival, it's rumoured that Metoo McDim will do the dance of the seven Wellingtons while shouting out a poem about slurry and Iraq. Despite the undying hatred it continues to provoke from the Arts establishment, the Widdle will not die quietly.