TOUGHEST ROAD STRETCHES OUT FOR EVERYONE

God, I feel depressed. The onward march of this virus seems relentless and terrifying. However, we know in our hearts that the answer to this is controlling our own behaviour. I am sorry to tell you that there are many examples of collective madness. I have been told of a gathering of GAA followers in my own county numbering some 300 people. Apparently many drank from the same cup. At least 30 are now said to have Covid and with many matches scheduled for this weekend it is hoped that this kind of lunacy is avoided. Ultimately such behaviour is selfish because the end result is that the transmission ricochets through friends and families, causing illness and possible death. We are about to head into a long hard winter and the last thing that any community needs is such stupid and reckless behaviour.

It is tough, damn tough, and it is going to require great resolve to deal with the extraordinary restrictions that are, and will be, imposed upon us. However, just think for a moment of the consequences if we can’t put a halt to the transmission of this virus. Our hospitals won’t be able to cope. What happens if, God forbid, such a situation arises ? Are our frontline staff going to be taxed with deciding who does or does not get an ICU bed ? In other words, who lives and who dies. How would you feel if that was a friend or member of your family left on a trolley. Get the message, it is literally in all our hands, keep our people alive.

Now to something to cheer us all up. Yes, we are about to see the finale of the Brexit Show. The Taoiseach, ably assisted by my local T.D. Thomas Byrne, has been out in Europe on our behalf. As I predicted months ago this is reaching somewhat of an impasse over Fisheries. We don’t know exactly what is going on but I do hope our 2 Soldiers of Destiny are savvy to the machinations of Emmanuel Macron. Personally I regard the French President as an overly arrogant man. He is entirely insensitive to the British attitude to sovereignty, particularly with regard to its territorial waters. There has already been clashes between French and English trawlers. We would be wise to take notice of the German approach to the matter. Their press for example have asked why the French can catch 84% of the fish off Cornwall while the Cornish boats are limited to 9%. Significantly Angela Merkel said last week that the recent accord between Britain and Norway showed a “constructive” approach and that the implication was that “agreements can be found”. So much of what one reads about Brexit is negative but I still remain hopeful that a deal will be cobbled together. I find it hard to believe that the parties involved would allow a No-Deal scenario to be unleashed in the middle of a pandemic.

So, where is the hope ? Well to start with the budget has been warmly received. It was also reassuring to see evidence of real cohesion from the Government. Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform, Michael McGrath, was impressive on Primetime on Thursday night. They should roll him out more often.

Finally, to some real hope, I get the impression that Donald Trump is tanking.

17/10/2020