Let us start by stating the obvious. Nobody is against ‘opening up the country.’ Where there is serious disagreement is about when and how we can achieve this ‘liberation.’
Won’t it be great when all restrictions are lifted. The freedom to book a flight, go to matches, concerts, have a meal in a restaurant, slide into a regular seat in church, meet the lads in Bartley’s and hug a friend.
But hang on a minute, folks. Hang on for a couple of months more and we will be out of this. I, like most of my generation, am pretty well ‘alright Jack’ with my double vaccine – but there are an awful lot of citizens still not out of the wood. Once again, we proclaim that nobody wants to be the last man shot in the war. I fear Covid more than I covet the pleasures of above.
Of course I understand the frustration of everyone who is totally fed up with Covid Restrictions. But the government isn’t the enemy here: NPHET isn’t the enemy either: Covid is the enemy – and the rest of us should all be on the same side. There is too much wild talk and ‘alternative facts’ being kicked about in recent days. Reckless ‘solutions’ being bandied around amid bitter criticism for those in authority who are trying to save lives.
Yes, the government has made mistakes and NPHET is hardly infallible, but the current level of vitriol is wide of the mark. They are ‘damned if they do and damned if they don’t’.
Last October there was a chorus of cries to ‘give us a Christmas’. Such was the demand that the government caved in and opened up the country in December. People died as a result and those who were clamouring loudest for the opening up, soon became the most vocal critics of our leaders for doing so.
Pressure from these usual suspects who are against everything, cannot be allowed to discredit medical science again. When they cannot come up with anything valid to counter Dr Holohan’s recommendations, they blandly state that his findings should be “reviewed”! Doctor Fauci had to deal with the same blunderbuss style attack from Trump and his ilk in America.
There is also a faction of cheerleaders against NPHET because it is an ‘unelected body.’ If I got a heart attack on the road and woke up to somebody giving me resuscitation, I wouldn’t be asking by what authority he was saving my life!
It is an indisputable fact that restauranteurs and publicans have carried more than their share of the lockdown burden. Other businesses such as those supplying building materials have done better than ever before. It isn’t fair and it is to be hoped that those struggling businesses will get a ‘bounce’ to make up for their losses later in the year.
BUT … none of it is worth one human life and if we are ‘under siege’ – as I read in one newspaper; it isn’t such a bad siege. Everybody has enough to eat. There are no snipers watching to blow your head off if you go outside. There are no cluster-bombs dropping out of the sky. And we are not without hope …
This past eighteen months has been especially tough on children. But strangely, children have a greater acceptance of the ‘now’ as it is than do us adults. Young people are resilient and they bounce back quickly. When some of my grandchildren were complaining and talking about being ‘bored’, I told them the story of Anne Frank.
The government gets criticised for changing the advice that it gives to the people. But it is Covid that keeps changing and we all have to react to that change. In March of last year we thought we would be out of lockdown in three months. But definitely given another three months we will be there.
Finally, when we do start feeling a bit sorry for the situation in which we find ourselves, all we need is to think of those who didn’t make it through. Five thousand people have succumbed to the virus in Ireland and four million worldwide. Most of us know somebody who would be alive today only for the curse of Covid.
I remember a political debate on RTE many years ago. A mouthy would-be politician claimed that because this country survived the famine, it could withstand anything. The late Jim Mitchel TD replied; ‘only those that survived the famine survived the famine!’
This is how it is with this horrid pandemic. Vaccine will save us all – same as it has beaten polio, smallpox, TB, and many more killer diseases in our lifetime. Just hang in there for a little while longer …
Temptations, unlike opportunities, will always give you a second chance.