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SOAPBOX – The Plight Of A One-Legged Man

by Jimmy Rhatigan

Our Government is about as useful as a one-legged competitor in an arse-kicking competition.
Leaving many other matters crucial to Irish families aside for the time being at least, the verdict on the performance by FF, FG and Greens in our fight against Covid-19 has been a disaster from A to Z.
Uncertainty, incompetent and dithering are words that come to mind.
Our belief is that if and hopefully when any root and branch investigation is published members of our Government will be before the courts answering charges of incompetence, recklessness, irresponsibility and worst of all, sheer neglect when dealing with the life and death of our people.
The latter accusation may be challenged as a wild one but our belief that it is a fair charge as, against the wishes of teams of medics and scientists, politicians opened up our country last Christmas, the crazy gamble failed.

Families lost loved ones to a killer disease that still stalks our people.
There have been several acts of sheer stupidity that led to the deaths of parents, grandparents, sons or daughters but the latter we would consider is a crime for which Government has to answer.
Reality is that a guerilla war against a deadly enemy we cannot even see has been used by politicians to court favour through populism.
Worse still, time after time, in a disrespectful and utterly disgusting game of ‘I stepped out, he stepped in again’, party leaders have been jostling for positions with microphones, massaging their egos.
It was a kind of shameful arrogance that at the very least belittled their positions of power and at worst, questioned where they stood in what should be a team effort between politicians and people.

Several sectors of our business communities, many of them huge employers, have been battered from pillar to post as staff, with meagre financial help, struggled to pay mortgages and battled to feed and clothe children.
We think in particular of the bar trade, restaurants, our taxi service, entertainers particularly singers and musicians.
We accept and we believe that these particular groups would have no problem playing their part in a life and death war but on reflection and with objectivity we would have to agree that owners, management and staff in these jobs were left to swim in a sea of sharks.
Will they all survive?
Sadly, probably not.
Fair play to those who do as their resilience will outshine any feeble attempt at support by Government with taxpayers’ money.
The less fortunate will not even be thrown a rope in their efforts to scamper to a river bank with sharks (loan sharks and vultures perhaps?) in hot pursuit.

It is a repeat of the horrible episode that saw thousands flee to all corners of the world in a desperate survival attempt.
The latter were abandoned after Fianna Fáil and The Greens left us without an arse in our shared trousers when the IMF moved in.
Sadly, a tragic tale of disaster has been the lot of Irish people as FG and FF dominated power, shared the loot and to Hell or to Connacht with the decent sons and daughters of poor Mother Ireland.
It is in this context that we are expected to trust our politicians as we ease into another opening up following locking down.
A combination of populism, as ever craved by FF, FG and Greens, to be fair egged on by a very tired and lockdown weary nation, is the background for another walking on thin ice venture into the unknown.

Add in the fact that some scientists and medics are sounding the alarm bells as numbers testing positive for Covid are still uneasily high and the India variant is running wild.
We again find ourselves on the cusp of another potentially deadly fall into an abyss that could lead to hundreds or even thousands of more deaths.
Admittedly, Government and NPHET, the National Public Health Emergency Team are both on the horns of a dilemma.
Government will be damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t.
If any opening turns out to be sound and safe, Government parties may just get the popularity it is prepared to put lives at risk for.
We hope to Christ that all goes smoothly particularly as the very livelihoods and survival of so many depend on a return to business.

Regardless of what way any potentially dangerous gamble No. 2 goes, we remind that our politicians are paid more than enough and should display the courage of their convictions and display mercy, balance and common sense as they edge us towards a possible Bermuda Triangle.
Bringing our latest pandemic escapade down to brass tacks, what is happening is that we are all going on a cruise on the world’s biggest ship and the great hope is that we will all return safe and sound to an Irish port.
So it’s ship ahoy and God save all who sail in it.
In relation to the journey we will abstain from any comparison with the plight of our friend, the one-legged man.
Even if an analogy is tempting.

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