By Jimmy Rhatigan
WHEN IT comes to nominating heroes, as a people we are simply hopeless cases.
The Kilkenny Observer asks readers to take the latter as an observation rather than a criticism.
For, at a time when we have enough doom and gloom to last us for the rest of our lives, our view is that, where possible we should have a balanced mix as we communicate.
In other words when passing on not so good or bad news to our people, many of them living in fear, we should do our utmost to make sure that any see-saw of words is not tilting too much to one side.
For instance, every Tommy, Dick and Harry, Mary, Martha and Madge too, seems to be dead nuts on delivering the breaking news.
Ten more dead, 200 more diagnosed with Coronavirus.
It is repeated, repeated and repeated again on Facebook and other forms of social media.
Sadly, some newspapers, television stations and radios, local and national could not with any straight faces eyeball any judge and utter the words: Not guilty, M’lud.
It is akin to a race to see who gets there first with the dreaded statistics.
We won’t labour the point.
But we will mention Facebook for the second time in five paragraphs.
It was interesting and a bit puzzling too to read a string of messages lauding Health Minister Simon Harris in particular and giving kudos also to Taoiseach Leo Vardakas for their parts in leading the fight in what some would call World War 3.
Fear not, I am not going to upset the verbal see-saw.
But I believe it is being somewhat disingenuous pushing our medical people to one side while giving near deity status to young Simon.
Blue shirt PR
The reality is that it is our country’s Chief Medical Officer, Tony Holohan and his team who are calling the shots and passing on any scripts to Simon.
Or perhaps, more accurately, Dr Tony passes the message to PR gurus who dress it in its best garb for Simon to deliver.
A Facebook Page that had a cavalcade of words to rival mourners’ cars at a President’s Funeral, was almost unanimous in its praise of the Fine Gael boys.
But for a neutral it smacked of being a Blueshirt PR exercise.
The giveaway perhaps was the uttering: Where are the Shiners now or words to that effect?
To be fair to Simon he does his delivery job exceptionally well and comes across as a man with a caring heart, a good guy.
Simon has a wonderful presence, a sound soul, a man who would love his greater family to bits.
Closer to home
Leo may be a man of similar traits.
But his Achilles Heel is that he cannot get that message across.
Finally, we would suggest that if you want to nominate a hero or indeed heroes in our battle with Coronavirus, you should look closer to home.
Swing your mind to St Luke’s General Hospital where so many different professions shine so brightly, to local testing stations and to GPs’ surgeries where so many brave men and women of many abilities, trades and occupations are putting their lives on the line for us as they give so unselfishly of themselves.
What any of the latter say, with respect, is anyone’s business and no one’s business?
What they do is out of this world.
There can be no greater sacrifice than to risk a life in the hope of saving another.
For the cause
Let’s remember also the teams of volunteers who have come forward, medics who returned from Australia to fight for their Motherland, paramedics, members of our Defence Forces, nurses and doctors who enlisted or came out of retirement for the cause.
Those of us that can with hand on heart say that we are not affiliated to any political party believe that it is important that credit goes to whom credit is due.
Any wall of fame should not be controlled by those who may wish to fire a few more shots in Civil War politics or indeed to further their greed for power and wealth.
That Mother Ireland has hundreds of thousands of loving and courageous sons and daughters there is no doubt.
That is the legacy that will be passed on when Coronavirus is beaten.
Our army of professionals and volunteers has a wonderfully clean copybook.
Let’s not give anybody the opportunity to blot the work of class.