It was a glorious day yesterday. I took a walk. There was a light breeze. I saw a butterfly , it was a very energetic cabbage white. It flew some distance. By watching the butterfly I said to myself how thankful I am to be alive and to be able to savour nature and to try to get a rhythm to my life. If my illness and this cursed pandemic has done anything, it has deepened my appreciation of these things. Then this morning I looked out my bedroom window and the first thing I saw was a cabbage white, a sign I thought, and then the good news that my latest CT scan showed everything stable. Suddenly the colours are brighter and there is a lightness in my step. But it doesn’t for one moment mean I have forgotten those in hospital living under Covid restrictions and with no visitors.
Having missed a week with my column I wish to announce the delight in our household with Ivana Bacik’s win in Dublin Bay South. The Labour Party have made a long and honourable contribution to Irish political life and I often think Brendan Howlin’s role as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform from 2011 to 2016 is under-appreciated. He and Michael Noonan made a formidable team. Would one place Pascal Donohoe and Michael McGrath in the same league ? Perhaps not, but they have yet to be truly tested because it is when this government starts to rebuild both our society and our economy that their contribution will be judged. That will require team-work – a Fine Gael and Fianna Fail Minister working together for the betterment of the nation. What then the difference between them ? Will Fianna Fail be absorbed or just disappear as the result of the Bye Election suggests. Frankly their candidate was hopeless. I watched a couple of her TV interviews in disbelief. No wonder the likes of Barry Cowan are jumping up and down and demanding the leadership provide an explanation for this and the result of the general election. Still those aspiring to lead Fianna Fail can at least take consolation from the fact that the Bye-Election result has considerably dented the credibility of Jim O’Callaghan. He might even have a difficulty holding onto his seat. In a strange way the Taoiseach seems semi-detached from all of this with his position as head of government and father of the nation for the moment secure. Apart from the crazy “meaningful Christmas” he has done a reasonable job and his relatively conservative approach to the pandemic may end up placing us in a safer place. Well what of the Blue Shirts ? If the Tanaiste really wanted to retain the seat he would have made his peace with Kate O’Connell but I’m sure his ego got in the way. So even throwing the ministerial kitchen sink behind posh legal eagle James Geoghegan couldn’t get him over the line.
But back to where I started with that cabbage white the importance of nature. As America suffers a crucifying heat-wave and Germany and Belgium are lashed by floods, isn’t our temperate climate so benign. Still no-one of us will escape the effect of climate change so this week I was delighted to see Bord na Mona, previously renowned for plundering our bogs, embarking on the process of transforming itself into a green energy company and an incubator of new jobs that will be truly green. The future must be green.