PROC Lockdown Lives: Finbarr Makes That Call


This week as we continue our series of very serious current affairs articles called PROC Lockdown Lives, we bring you another story that is quickly becoming common all around Leeside.

All names have been changed and the voice you hear in your head when you read a quotation below should be a deep, distorted, sinister tone (like when Crimecall are desperately trying to make an item about someone who forgot to pay for their petrol sound like they’re looking for a serial killer), to protect the anonymity of those who have bravely revealed their stories to us.

This week we meet Finbarr who is walking across the North Gate Bridge.

Though young and outgoing he is single and lives alone. He has found the lockdown “extremely difficult” and longs for company, spending most of his day watching television.

He finished everything on Netflix on March 28th and had looked at all websites on the internet by April 8th (when you finish the last one, your browser automatically plays a video of Bill Gates congratulating you).

By mid-April ‘Barr had watched everything on the RTE player (about half of which was spent waiting for programmes to load up). After that he turned to reruns of Cork hurling matches. He can recite every passage of play from the 2004 Munster hurling final against Waterford, the subsequent All-Ireland final against Killkenny and whispers along to every word of Ben O’Connor’s speech from the Hogan Stand.

Now he stands near the bottom of Shandon Street looking up at a shabby apartment balcony overhead while two pigeons scrap over a manky looking chip in the middle of the road.

There’s nobody else around. He clutches a wad of cash in his hand. Even though there are reasons to justify it in his own head, he knows this is wrong. There are many other men doing this too and the young woman who he contacted seems to be fine about the whole thing, but he can’t make himself feel comfortable enough with that alone. It’s still against the law. 

He catches his reflection in the window of a closed down takeaway, but looks away quickly. Not now, boy. The absolute state of ya.    

He thinks your one probably won’t even recognise him from the last time he went to see her – like half of Cork, his hair has gone pure John Spillane.  

He takes a deep breath and uses a knuckle to carefully press the right button.

“Come on up,” she purrs as the door buzzes open, “been looking forward to seeing you”.

That puts him at ease a little as he steps inside and begins the climb to the third floor. When he steps inside the apartment a burly, but dapper man in his sixties unexpectedly passes him on the way out. They nod to each other but neither speaks.

“Now it’ll actually be Mustafa today, if that’s ok”, your one says apologetically, “I’m fully booked up myself today”.

Finbarr couldn’t give a Joe Mac and The Dixies who he gets. When you’re this desperate you’ll take anyone.   

A few minutes later, a good looking, well-built man with back flowing locks leans over his shoulder and strokes Finbarr’s thick hair with a gloved hand.

“Vot vud you like me to do for you today, my friend?”

“Blade zero all ‘round, kid. Take the whole lot off and give me a shave as well”, Finbarr smiles as he sits back in the make-shift barber’s chair and relaxes.

“No bother boy,” says Igor from behind a face mask, in his Cork-flecked Istanbul accent , “so c’mere to me, zid you see ze on the latest event centre? Eets a complete disgrace, no?”.

“Ahhh yes”, he thinks to himself, “these illegal lockdown highs are worth every cent.”