I must confess to actually feeling ashamed of being Irish yesterday morning. My only way of coping with this was to run into the sea here in Tramore. It was stunningly beautiful, all blue with soft fluffy waves. As it kissed my face like an excited puppy, I shouted out to it: No, it’s not the Irish landscape and seascape, it’s the social/political side of things.’
The main issue that was overwhelming me with shame was the fact that as country we seemed to be about as uncaring as it gets in the way we have handled a terrible, terrible fire on a halting site in which ten members of the travelling community lost their lives on October 10th. The second funeral of five members of one family was held yesterday and there was fighting and bickering going on about where the grieving relatives were going to be accommodated. Where were they going to go when they returned from burying a young couple and three of their five children? The very idea that any human being in Ireland should have to devote even a moment’s thought to such a question while overwhelmed by grief seemed to me to have crossed a line that I hoped I would never, ever see in this country of mine.
The second issue is clearly qualitatively different in terms of magnitude and basically belongs to the sporting world. However, I found it incredibly frustrating and, indeed sad, that arguably the best coach in Ireland’s sporting history, boxing coach Billy Walsh, had essentially been forced out of the country by what seems like small-minded backwardness that one would like to think has no part in Irish sport. As I was swimming, he was en route to the US to take up a new post. I could only imagine how disappointed and disillusioned he must have been feeling …..
The big bash for the Irish Blog Awards was on last night. I wasn’t in attendance but had my fingers crossed for my entry in the ‘Best Blog Post’ Category. It was the one about the Accident and Emergency Crisis in Ireland, something that matters hugely to every man, woman and child in this country, whether we like it or not. Alas, it didn’t win BUT I can say, with hand on heart, that I am delighted that the winning post is one which addresses yet another social issue and Irish attitudes. It relates to gay marriage and is very much about the way in which Ireland CAN broaden her vision and open her heart.
Yes, Anne Marie O’Conner, All We Need is Love. Hearty Congratulations!