Smiles Aplenty In Viagra Town

This wouldn't be the first Irish story concocted out of pure mist. But, as CBS News Correspondent Mark Phillips reports, this mist doesn't come drifting up the bay on tiny leprechaun feet.

This mist comes steaming out of the industrial exhaust of a pharmaceutical plant in the little town of Ringaskiddy on Ireland's south coast. And this mist, they say here, has turned this gritty little port town into Europe's new capital of love.

"There isn't a man without a smile on his face or a woman without a bigger smile," says Geraldine Dermitty.

The source of all this levity: the plant where they make something called sildenafil citrate, which just happens to be the active ingredient in Viagra.

And the locals swear something is escaping from the plant that's made them more, how shall we say, caring. Just ask little 11-week-old Sam's delighted dad.

"Well he's a good result since I moved down here, yes," says Kieran Kramer.

The local infant population, locals say, has soared.

When his son was born, Kramer says the maternity ward was packed.

"We were lucky to get a bed," he says.

About the only people who don't find this all mildly amusing are the ones who run the plant.

Asked if he finds it at all funny, Viagra plant manager Paul Duffy says, "No, not particularly."

Plant officials say emissions are strictly controlled by Irish environmental laws. No chance of a leak.

"It's a myth that could not happen and that does not happen," says Duffy.

The locals have another view. Just look at the windsocks around the plant, they say. The one up wind and away from the exhaust is flaccid, while the one down wind gets the full effect.

Of course there may be another reason for Ringaskiddy's allegedly newfound friskiness, and it might have less to do with proximity to the Viagra plant than with proximity to another famous Irish landmark. Blarney and the Blarney Stone is just down the road.

And whatever's in the air here, it hasn't interfered with the Blarney Stone's gift of the gab.

"Well you get the odd aroma from it, not an odor but an aroma - a wiff," says Duirmaid Considine.

So what does Considine do?

"I take a deep breath and hope for the best," he says.
  • Jaime Holguin

Comments

Follow Us

On Twitter