The Irish National Liberation Army have been continually threatening ‘bouncy castle baron’ Michael Darcy.
Michael Darcy has been consistently hassled and intimidated by a ruthless paramilitary group. Is he a journalist? A human rights lawyer? A no nonsense police commissioner with a penchant for scotch and moustaches? Well no, Michael Darcy loans out bouncy castles at children’s parties in Tallaght, Ireland.
The business is so successful and cash rich Mr Darcy has been referred to as a ‘bouncy castle baron’, the most prestigious title one can attain in the Kingdom of Funsies, second only to ‘candyfloss count’. However this success has attracted the interest of the local branch of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA).
The INLA were formed in the late 1970s during the Troubles in Northern Ireland and enjoyed a huge amount of public support when numerous INLA members took part in, and died during, the famous Republican hunger strikes of the early 1980s. When the Troubles wound down with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, many of the INLA’s gunmen were released as a condition of the peace process. Though the group publicly renounced violence in 2009, commentators argue that the organisation has turned to crime, particularly extortion.
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Extortion has an extensive legacy in Northern Ireland, with many of the paramilitary groups demanding what they termed a ‘revolutionary tax’, which is like describing a spot on the middle segment of the human centipede as a lodging complete with complimentary buffet and en-suite bathroom. Many of the paramilitaries have set up similar protection rackets in the Irish Republic.
The Irish police argue that there is definitely a connection between the recent threats and the release of former INLA commander Declan ‘Whacker’ Duffy, who was arrested in 2009 for admitting to INLA membership. Duffy has long been associated with horrific levels of violence, famously abducting and torturing six rivals in what came to be known as the ‘Ballymount Bloodbath’.
The INLA recently upped their intimidation campaign against Mr Darcy by planting a bomb underneath one of his vans. Luckily the bomb had purposely not been primed, but the INLA’s message was clear. Michael decided to take a big risk and not to give in to the INLA’s demands. Mr Darcy’s bravery and defiance has made a legitimately scary group look ridiculous. A criminal gang that attempts to intimidate and extort the owner of the bouncy castle business and fails is a criminal gang that Batman beats up in the first half hour of the film.
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Image by Rept0n1x via Wikimedia Commons