Last weekend we got some good news. My wife had got a slot for her second jab of AstraZeneca to be administered this Sunday. She would have preferred Pfizer but will gladly take what is given, most particularly with the highly transmissible Delta variant circulating. Still, vaccination brings liberation. Over the weekend we were visited by some close friends bearing strawberries and cream. It was both delightful and weird. We had not seen each other for over a year and sitting down outside to indulge in one of summer’s delights over good conversation was positively uplifting. I was in total isolation for so long that I find it a bit strange to be around people. Also as I haven’t managed to visit a barber yet, people are finding an encounter with me a bit of a shock.
The Delta variant is a heart-breaker. The government are clearly unsure what direction to go in and matters can’t be helped by the fact that the hack of the HSE makes the data more challenging to interpret. However, we have a major problem. Our hospitals are now full with ordinary patients and if you pile a lot of patients with the Delta variant on top of them, the situation will gradually develop into a crisis. In a sense the government has no alternative. It must do everything to stop the spread of the Delta variant and speed up the vaccination programme. It seems to be inevitable that the re-opening of Bars and Restaurants will be delayed. In the meantime a suggestion. Is there any rational reason why fully vaccinated customers can’t go to their favourite establishments? I’m sure that there many family owned businesses dotted around the country who would welcome the opportunity to cater for the vaccinated. Whilst I’m at it, one piece of gross market distortion that is taking place without people noticing it – many Restaurants are by their good fortune enabled to cater for customers outside, on the street or otherwise, mainly in public spaces. They do this rent free and rate free. This in essence gives them an unfair advantage over Restaurants with no outside space. Perhaps governments and local authorities might bear this in mind going forward.
It is with utter exasperation that I look on as the saga of the National Maternity Hospital rumbles on. Quite frankly I wish the Sisters of Charity would show some charity and just gift the site to the Irish nation. One has a suspicion perhaps with the foundation that by retaining ownership of the land they think they can impose some form of a Catholic ethos on the institution. In modern day Ireland that borders on being offensive. It is terrible that such a major infrastructural investment is caught up in such an unseemly wrangle. I hope the Taoiseach may be able to find a solution.
Finally, more news from outer space. Astronomers from Cornell University have identified 29 planets that are “potentially habitable”. Aliens from these planets may have been watching us. A prime candidate is a planet called Ross128B. So have they visited us ? That would defy all known laws of physics. All the more reason to see what the US UFO Report contains.