Dublin Zookeepers welcome a new arrival

Dublin Zoo welcomed a new arrival last weekend

Where are them Syrians?
Hassan Aboud - himself a zookeeper at Syria's Aleppo Zoo until 2011 - started at the zoo while awaiting the decision from the Department of Justice over his asylum application.

Hassan and his family hold the world record for the longest period at sea in a rubber dinghy for a full biological family. The two adults and three children also hold the same record for a family of five accompanied by a third generation. Hassan's dehydrated father-in-law was forced to drop out of the dinghy halfway through the voyage, due to exhaustion and death at the age of 73. He is survived by his daughter Faiza, her husband Hassan, and three grandchildren.

The family will be on display all day every day between the Chimpanzee enclosure and the Rang'Utan* exhibit, where you can see a profound sadness, and a deep intelligence, in their eyes.

The popular meerkats, located some distance from the Syrians' enclosure, have no idea what the fuss is about, but they are nonetheless very curious.

The State is unlikely to look favorably on many of the non-national applicants for residency here. Although the government is good at being "very shippy" in terms of rescuing refugees in the Mediterranean, their record on asylum seekers is quite poor relative to other countries in Europe.

Worse still, due to the lack of interest on the North African coast in the internal politics of Europe, those people currently attempting to flee the unrest - all potential future citizens of the European project - are dismissed for now by the Brussels administration as "floating voters". Hassan himself sees little value in following Ireland's domestic politics. When asked about water charges, his response was to wail and gesticulate wildly, insisting that he doesn't want to see another drop of water for the rest of his life.

*Rang'Utan is the less racist nomenclature for the species of ape formerly known as the Orangutan, as decided by the Sumatran Rang'Utan Council under its leader, King Flat-Faced Floyd.