As communities count the cost of last week’s horrific and unprecedented weather where roads caved in, bridges collapsed, lives were devastated, animals drowned and cars and homes were swept away, I have to say it’s a miracle nobody was killed. And as I heard Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran TD promising to do everything he can to help, pledging to “ensure that every possible assistance is available to persons affected by the event and to ensure that damaged road and bridge infrastructures are addressed as soon as possible”; I have to say I believe him. I believe Minister Moran will do everything he can to help those poor unfortunates trying to pick up the remnants of what is now quite clearly a disaster region. My heart goes out to each and every one of those families.
With Ireland moving into unchartered waters (no pun intended whatsoever folks), it’s clear that climate change has not only arrived, it’s here to stay, and last week’s horrors are a sign of scarier things to come. And don’t think it’s just going to affect those of us living in so-called blackspot areas, it’s going to affect us all and what we need is leadership and a long-term plan. And while the much-touted €430 million ‘flood relief’ budget is an impressive amount, our Government (the bigwigs in their ivory tower in Dublin) need to get to grips with the fact that we are a little island resting precariously on the tip of the Atlantic – meaning we are dangerously exposed to the elements – and stop engaging in an annual clean-up operation and instead put in place intervention strategies for flood prevention! We need to impede and block this ruination, devastation and destruction of property and avert the desolation now being felt by families in Donegal!
The good and the brave people of Athlone, Athleague and other plucky Roscommon residents (and readers in surrounding counties) know too well the type of structural and financial damage climate change can cause. Add to that the emotional tsunami that can erupt in the aftermath as hard-working families realise they’ve lost everything they once held dear.
Now while Leo eventually touched down in Donegal, uttering what could arguably be Discover Ireland’s new tag line…you have to see it to believe it and pledging “a very strong central Government approach to assist the people of Inishowen in the weeks ahead,” I want to know why his initial response was to make a Twitter video rather than make an immediate visit to the stricken area? Perhaps he didn’t have his designer waterproof socks ready? That must be it.
He did say “If we continue to manage the economy well so additional revenues will allow us to increase that budget in years to come and I’m sure that will be done.” Reassuring, but can we be confident he’ll deliver? In the meantime, perhaps as he’s so fond of trawling social media, Leo could do some research around the impact climate change is having on this country and the ways in which we can tackle it ASAP!
There’s something about Mary
Former teacher, now Minister for Breaking Rank…sorry, Minister of State at the Department of Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor believes teachers who do the same job should get the same pay. Well I’d imagine that’s what Mary said, but the Sunday Indo quotes her thus: “Everybody that does the same job deserves the same pay” – and, as any good teacher and grammar tyrant like me will tell you, the word ‘who’ refers to people and teachers are people and the word ‘that’ refers to things and teachers are not things.
Aaah but I digress, and wonder if Mary may perhaps be a little contrary due to her own two-tier pay experience since Leo unveiled his dream team revealing she wouldn’t be getting the extra annual €16,288. I mean, imagine being forced to eke out an existence on a Minister of State salary of €124,439. As soon as my heart stops bleeding I’ll set up a ‘go fund me’ page. Promise!
Look, while I’m all for equal pay for equal work and support teachers, and while Mary probably saw this as an opportunity to climb on her high horse, I’d like to remind her that there’s a lot to be said for experience and it’s obvious newly-qualified teachers won’t have the same experience as their seasoned colleagues. You see, I believe this situation is not so much an equal pay issue, rather it’s a starting off salary issue, but I’ll give the lovely Mary an ‘A’ for serving as a highbrow cultural surrogate for those who believe in a universal working wage, irrespective of experience or qualifications.
Ros Comáin Abú!
I was disappointed for the Roscommon U-17s’ who put up a heroic fight in Croker last Sunday but despite the fact it just wasn’t their day, the team should be enormously proud of themselves. They’ll take that title and bring it home next year. I’m sure of it. Maith thú go léir. Ros Comáin Abú!