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SOAPBOX – When Doctors Get It Wrong

by Jimmy Rhatigan

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan and his partner in prime time television, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar got it wrong when they discovered that big numbers of young people had partied at the heart of dear old Dublin.
Both gave the thumbs down to the alfresco celebrations and while they didn’t resort to any tough language, they made it clear that they were not happy.
The public figures, both medical doctors, were disappointed that youngsters had let their hair down.
Their reaction was somewhat akin to some school teachers of another time who were far too quick to resort to the bata thereby creating a barrier between themselves and students.
The negative reaction may, in the eyes of some been warranted, but we suggest that clever men would have taken a different route.
Doctor and doctor could have turned a negative into a positive.
They could have accepted that it was inevitable that young guns would eat, drink and be merry as pandemic restrictions were about to be eased by Government.

They would probably have won the hearts and minds of the young people had they admitted that it was not entirely shocking, even surprising that friends and soul mates gathered in big numbers to empty beer tins.
Then, instead of adopting a ‘thou shalt not’ attitude they could have appealed to young people to do their utmost to observe social distancing in any future gatherings and perhaps added a rider that tidying up after a party would also be appreciated.
Leaving their rubbish behind them was perhaps the only mortal sin committed by the revellers but again they were not totally to blame for the piles of rubbish that were strewn around the streets as it seems litter bins were very scarce.
Others were probably peed off that doorways and any nooks or crannies may have been used as public toilets and yet again the entire blame is not with our youth as, like in many towns and cities today, public latrines can be as scarce as hens’ teeth.

To have young and not so young on the same wavelength is a huge bonus in local communities.
Sporting clubs, theatre groups and many other bodies singing from the same hymn sheet is always a positive.
The pandemic brought a much longer than expected lockdown, not all of it well handled by politicians in particular.
So the TDs and their buddies along with their friends in medicine hardly expected that young men and women would ignore an opportunity to enjoy what the youth might call normal life again.
We accept that young people and indeed some not so young cannot be allowed to put the lives of others at risk but the way to encourage a united front in any community project is surely to encourage rather than to wield any aforementioned big stick.
Parading on TV on a very regular basis, advising, preaching, warning, may have its place in the eyes of the medical profession and the politicians who have continuously done their utmost to make sure that doctors don’t steal their pandemic thunder.

We should give the great majority of our people a collective thumbs’ up for their magnificent co-operation in the fight with a deadly enemy.
Young and young at heart have and continue to play their part in a war that still has to be won.
Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh said when translated means praise the young and they will come.
The proverb is a wise one.
Meanwhile the Government collection box to balance the books has already started and again the modus operandi by Government is, to say the least, abysmal.
Firstly came the announcement that PUP, the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, is to be phased out.
That was quickly followed by a pocket grab with hikes in Local Property Tax.
Sadly, politicians have already begun to turn the knife into the backs of our caring and most unquestionably obedient people.

There is no doubt that once more, just like they did following the financial crash master-minded by Fianna Fáil, they will fleece Jack and Jacqueline Citizen and then reluctantly thank them for paying up.
A reality check reminds that people did not willingly cough up after 2008.
Government dipped its filthy paws into pockets, purses and wallets and then tried to convince us that we were happy to part with our hard earned money.
Make no mistake about it, we are set for a repeat performance as politicians at most levels have feathered their own nests and are about to kowtow to local councilors with a hike of €8,000 before the manure hits the fan.
Yet a majority of us appear to believe that slavery is long dead in Ireland.
What fools we are.

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