I was optimistic – for a minute.
When I heard people talking about a two-tier society and discrimination and inequality, I thought for a moment that maybe there is an appetite to tackle the problems in our country and, indeed, the whole world.
I was thinking of the homeless. I was remembering the Sixties when people like Mairín de Burca who was among those who led the Dublin Housing Action Committee which demanded – and won – the battle for more housing in our capital. It was shortly after a tenement building collapsed on Fenian Street (the irony of the name!) killing four people.
And I thought of our homeless now in a country where we regularly see mansions for sale for €4 and €5million (and I do not begrudge the wealthy their success) – but we can’t provide basic accommodation for families.
And I was thinking about our addicts, our thousands of unfortunate addicts not one of whom stood up in class as a twelve year old and answered the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” with “I want to be an addict sir, toothless and living in a sleeping bag in an alley off O’Connell Street begging for money to buy my drugs.”
Yet we think that once they’re out of sight, it’s ok. We provide NO facilities, not injection centres, few hospital beds and no opportunities to save their lives – other than the brave efforts from volunteers like those at Merchant’s Quay and other such places.
And I was thinking about the Third World where the idea of a vaccine for Covid hasn’t even been mentioned. I was delighted to see our teenagers queuing today to get vaccinated and thought how great it would be if rich countries helped the poor countries to vaccinate their populations. I was thinking of obscene show offs like Branson and Bezos put away their mirrors for a minute and looked at the world and spent their billions helping others, how much better the world would be.
Then I looked again. The two-tier society, the discrimination and inequality had nothing to do with any of the above.
It was all about having to show proof of Covid vaccination before entering a pub or restaurant.
Hold God Almighty, if that isn’t THE most First World problem there ever was.
Are you checked and maybe even patted down at the airport as you fly out on holiday? DO you have to have a passport? Might they look in your luggage? Yes. Is that a problem? Well, no sure we want the plane to be safe, don’t we?
Can you get into a pub if you’re carrying, say, a knife or a gun? No.
Can you get in if you’re drunk? No.
Because the idea is to keep customers safe.
And that’s why you have to prove you have been vaccinated against Covid which has killed more than 5,000 people in Ireland in less than two years.
Safety rules. Like speed limits and traffic lights.
It is hard to believe that we have people who are demanding the right to endanger others, that these people are given space on airwaves and other media to spread their dangerous message and that they actually believe it is some kind of inequality or discrimination.
The truth is, they are selfish, arrogant and I’m sorry to say, stupid.
If they choose not to have a vaccine, that’s fine. It is their choice. But they must also choose then not to put the rest of us at risk by entering crowded places.
(I laugh when I see people on social media saying they will refuse to get vaccinated and will boycott pubs and restaurants which demand to see Covid passports. Eh, that’s the idea. Doh!)
They clearly don’t care much about others and they clearly care nothing for those in our world, the billions in our world, who are really and truly suffering every day because the so many of the well off in the first world, frankly don’t give a damn.
It’s sad. And actually infuriating.
But that our world now…