Posted on 30th December 2022

As this year draws to a close, I find my thoughts turning constantly to the war in Ukraine.  This week I watched the film 1917 which was produced and directed by Sam Mendes.  Using the long shot technique, it was an immersive experience.  More than anything else it left me with that sickening feeling you get when you think about man’s capacity to inflict savagery on his fellow human beings.  What hell life was in those trenches during the First World War and here again we are seeing the same terrible waste of life in Europe.  Russia has now cast aside any pretence of adhering to the Geneva Convention or the rules of war.  Now they are systematically trying to destroy the infrastructure needed to supply electricity and water to the civilian population.  They bomb hospitals and tower blocks.  I know we are a neutral nation, but it is hard to be neutral in the face of this evil onslaught.  Nobody in Europe is safe from the machinations of this dictator Vlad the Bad.  Our government must be vigilant in monitoring the activities of all Russians attached to the Embassy here.  Ireland has become a more enhanced target since the growth of our high-tech industries and the Trans-Atlantic cables present obvious targets.  Putin respects no boundaries.

So our new-old Taoiseach is out and about.  Better to be photographed in the winner’s enclosure at Leopardstown than appearing in a video shot in a Night Club.  He is going to focus his attentions on housing and, presumably inspired by his encounter with horses, says he will introduce “Carrot and Stick” measures.  In truth he has no choice.  The crisis in housing is at the heart of discontent with this government.  They are starting to make inroads into the problem but need to speed up the process to halt the rise of Sinn Fein.  The Taoiseach is right to recognise that many of the Ukrainians who have come here will stay, so it is right to now start factoring in their numbers into future requirements.  They will become valuable members of our society.  However, it is not just recent arrivals that need to be housed but a significant number of our own people.  Students who have to travel ludicrous distances to their places of study.  Doctors and nurses who can’t find accommodation close to their place of work.  Sons and daughters paying high rents and for whom a house or apartment is merely an aspiration.  This must change because it is fracturing society.

So to the New Year.  Sunny side up.  Harry Styles comes to Slane and we are back in business.  I have already been through my wardrobe and can’t decide what to wear.  Have to say I’m really looking forward to it.  Most importantly we have a wedding in the family.  A cause for celebration.  Happy New Year.

The view of Slane Castle from the hill