Home » SOAP BOX: Hearts And Homes To Ukraine

SOAP BOX: Hearts And Homes To Ukraine

by Jimmy Rhatigan

IT IS QUITE natural to be skeptical when an Irish Government politician rolls out the mat of welcome for unfortunate people.

After all, we have become used to being dumped in the ditch when we were expecting a party.

That those now being offered the courtesy of our country are from war-torn Ukraine will add credibility to any invite.

But, given politicians’ habits of making promises that they seldom, if ever keep, it is just as well that men, women and children from the Ukraine probably don’t know the twisted mindset of so many of our public reps.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin was cheered to the rafters on Friday’s Late, Late Show on RTE as he whipped up hysteria of a kind by ensuring that those on flights of mercy from the Ukraine will be housed and fed.

Our new found friends will also be welcome to join our workforce in our habitat once dubbed an Isle of Saints and Scholars.

The pledge to innocent victims of war comes from a politician who in the past was filmed in an interview telling anyone who bothered to look and listen that his beloved Fianna Fáil would not have anything to do with those he might have termed the party’s noisy neighbours, aka Fine Gael. 


A few months after the interview that continues to be played over and over again on social media, Martin and his extended FF family cuddled up to the Blueshirts.

The courtship quickly blossomed and, hey presto, FF and FG were playing footsie in the same bed.

The one-time deadly enemies suddenly and perhaps conveniently found Cupid because it suited the political wants and needs of both parties that lean towards the right wing, despite preaching to the contrary.

The pair had kept their Fort Knox-like fortress safe from prying eyes.

Alarm bells were ringing and red flags were flying  as, on this occasion, it was  the Shinners that threatened to upset the smug ‘your turn now mate’ bliss of Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee.

Martin may have had good intentions, but it is he and many other politicians who have turned us into Doubting Thomases, Jimmys too, so it will be bated breath and crossed fingers until our new found Ukraine friends are settled in.


We no doubt that tortured families from the Ukraine will receive a huge céad míle fáilte from Mother Ireland.

Our country’s welcoming party will stretch to millions as people open their hearts and minds to troubled families, victims of a Russian tyrant who, akin to a majority of despots, doesn’t care whose blood is shed once his evil aims are achieved.

As a people we can empathize with the fleeing Ukranians. Our forefathers have been there, at famine times and frugal years of chronic unemployment when countless thousands headed for England, Australia, Canada and the US in search of work.

That Irish families are prepared to open their homes to Ukranians is a wonderfully Christian gesture as well as displaying a laudable ‘love thy neighbour’ trait. 

The hands across the world project just may be the catalyst that brings our people closer together as we face testing times, financially and, God forbid, possibly worse.

When what we call a Home, Sweet Home project is a success, it may just press a gaping emergency button.

A similar campaign could certainly help to solve the growing scourge of homelessness in our communities.


Indeed, it could also change the mindset of those on high whose priorities would appear to be geared towards boosting the finances of developers and investors rather than to encourage the building of homes that could be afforded by young couples or indeed any youth eyeing a place of his or her own.

Back to the pledge by Martin and let’s hope that our self-styled geniuses of Irish politics will make the mat of welcome campaign easily accessible for local families and for those who will make Ireland their home for months, years or possibly forever.

Any kind of transition can have teething problems. That is understandable.

Our belief is that with love in their hearts, our people will make the flight of the Ukranians a pleasant and warm experience, even though most displaced will no doubt long for a return to their roots.

We all love our native place but we appreciate kindness too at times of torment.

In the past our country has been the recipient of love from kind friends at the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

It was in the 1840s that the Choctaw Indians collected today’s equivalent of 5,000 dollars to help our people during the so-called Potato Famine that ravaged our nation.


If our people were designated to organise this project, it would certainly be a success.

Our fear is that politicians whose track record on keeping promises, is, as we mentioned earlier, an absolute disaster.

Victims of the Cervical Cancer Scandal were assured that they would not have to endure the stress of any court hardship for justice.

Shamefully, any ‘word of honour’ was perhaps merely idle or soothing talk when the object may have been to take the heat out of any community fires of anger.

We could write a book on incidences where our people were fooled and fooled again.

But, for the time being we will simply welcome our guests, do everything we can for them and hope that our public reps won’t throw any spanners into the works.

After all, our people are taking a huge burden off Government by volunteering to open up family homes.

Finally, as a gesture to those wonderful doctors, nurses and dedicated colleagues who risked their lives on the frontline fighting Covid, Government should today distribute the €1,000 promised to heroes who dared death to save others.

Our understanding is that not a Euro has yet been paid out.

That is an insult to brave warriors at hospitals like our own St Luke’s General and indeed is also an affront to those who passed away in the line of duty.

Breaking any promise to those people would be a scandal.


Perhaps the answer would be to hand the reins of power to Sinn Féin at the next General Election?

There will be those who will see that as a positive move and there will be others who will, for whatever reason, want to hang on to the trinity of FF, FG and Green.

The likelihood is that SF will take control despite protestations and plots by the present regime.

Any changing of the guard could bring new hope, or maybe same old, same old.

Then we will have to search again for a Government that will cherish its people and not itself.

Related Articles