Watching Vincent Browne from Sligo last night would do little to inspire. The first thing that struck me was how the ‘creep’ of deprivation in this region could go almost unnoticed and I mean by we who live here. Hard to expect others to notice, that we don’t notice ourselves.
Erosion of services, interesting word that, erosion, it means ‘the gradual destruction or diminution of something,‘I’ll just leave that there. Daily business closures, desperate human stories from the frontline that is everywhere, poignant, heartbreaking, largely invisible were it not for the empty streets, the towns devoid of life, and on it goes, barely audible above the atmosphere of endemic acceptance, because I can’t decide if we are like the frog that slowly boils to death and never stirs at all or if it’s worse, that quiet acceptance.
Much like the way we have accepted emigration to the point that we romanticize it; it’s we who are eroding.
The lovely boy’s competition (a reference to a popular comedy programme in Ireland) as one woman in the audience called our panel of male representatives, all cried in unison, channelling the old school confidence of as much as 40 years in some cases, in public office, as much as a thousand years between them perhaps.
‘Jobs’ they cried, beating their chests…‘Jobs…we need jobs…jobs are the answer, GIVE us jobs, where, are our jobs?’
The plot of ‘The Quiet Man’ the big man being the man who left and then returned to save us all is still the plot we hang our hopes on. Well guess what, there are plenty of quiet men if that’s what you want, men who keep their deepest beliefs quiet for love of the vote, out of fear, ambition or worse, tradition, but there is no big man.
Am I the only person who thinks we need to stop looking outside for jobs? At least to the exclusivity of anything we could build ourselves?
Why must we keep looking out to the west, over the sea?
Give us a factory.
What matters it won’t stay forever, be built on what we have to offer, jobs.
Cllr Rourke defended his trip to New York for St Patricks Day….He doesn’t know if we understand but he can meet with people over there (big men inferred) like the IDA (one example he gave)
Up he stood and without a hint of irony, told all assembled he was going in this capacity, torn from the bosom of his family, that’s right, not one of them would accompany him. And he would have to pay a man to do other work for him while he’s in America with the rest of them. Thank you Paddy.
If this mentality, this culture, needs explanation as to what’s wrong with it, because to be fair he’s just one small example, a symptom of a system that’s not fit for purpose but supports him, then I put it to you, there can be no recovery.
This is not the 1950’s, but it might as well be. Has the conversation, have the faces changed? NO but the world has. We need to start questioning and really thinking seriously about our acceptance of the way things are, of the way they’ve always been when what we need is innovation, creativity, courage, thinking.
Vincent Browne is a TV journalist in Ireland. Over the past few months he has been broadcasting live from venues around the country. In every region elected and other public representatives were invited to sit on the panel with the audience made up of people from the local communities who had the opportunity to share their individual stories.
All government party elected representatives declined to participate.