Posted on 23rd May 2020

Slane Castle

This week I have to admit that I am feeling seriously discombobulated.  It all started on Claire Byrne Live when she and Joe Duffy went to McCoy’s Pub.  Yes, I am talking about the fictional pub on the set of Fair City.  They were doing it to illustrate what the interior of the pub would look like observing social distancing rules and, more particularly, how the customers would cope.  The answer is, not very well.  Now, I’ll be blunt, this is an atmosphere wrecker.  It would take the heart and soul out of so many places that over the years I used to frequent.  Where now for the cosy chat over a pint or two ?  Now you see in glaring lights one of the reasons why we need a vaccine.  These places are part of the social fabric of the country.  They are one of the main attractions for tourists.  Social distancing may well sound the death knell of some of our favourite places.  I feel tempted to do a mini Rip Van Winkle and go to sleep until I wake up in 2021 in the midst of a right old session in my favourite place.  Don’t get me wrong here, more than most I am conscious of how dangerous this disease is because of my condition and I do regard complacency as a danger.  However, and this is hard to be specific about, there is something wrong in the tone about the plethora of rules and regulations to be imposed upon us.  I thought myself a little bonkers to be thinking like this, but after checking it out with a few friends, find I’m not alone.  Still ever the optimist I look towards Denmark where the infection rate is going down and there is something vaguely resembling normality returning.  However, nobody seems to be entirely sure why Denmark is being so successful.  We can only wait and see.

If all of this is deeply unsettling, particularly if you are involved in the hospitality sector, the bigger national picture is deeply concerning.  I am frankly appalled by the length of time it is taking our elected politicians to form a government.  I understand yet another week has to go by before we will see any tangible progress.  Now that Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, the proconsuls of Europe, in a ground-making move have backed the principal of shared indebtedness, the European Commission is going to borrow €500 billion, which will be used to assist the industries and regions worst hit by the virus.  However, for this to work it needs to be passed by the 27 and already Austria, Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden have said they are in favour of loans not grants.  We now urgently need a proper government representing the nation’s interest at the table negotiating on our behalf.  These are real bread and butter issues.  Suppose Brexit goes pear-shaped, decimating our agricultural sector ?  Suppose this fine weather turns into a drought ?

Get on with it.

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