Irish Examiner View: The beating heart

Irish Examiner View: The beating heart
The Ballymacelligott Support Group are working to deliver groceries from The Halfway Shop, Ballymacelligott, each Tuesday and Friday to help locals during Covid-19 pandemic . Photo By Domnick Walsh

One of the phrases that enjoyed a brief currency as the last economic crisis unfolded was that “when the tide went out, a lot of people were found naked”.

It’s different this time, to use another cliché from those unhappy days —when the tide went out, this time old bedrock long taken for granted was revealed.

Marginalised communities sliding towards history found they were far more resilient than they had imagined. They were reinvigorated by the crisis, not cowed by it.

Today, we report on how the pandemic has renewed community spirit and a Kerry village in an unexpected but entirely uplifting way. Ballymacelligott, like many small communities around the country, was forced to look again to its own resources when isolation became necessary.

Some time ago, local man Pat McCarthy put his money where his heart was and, despite compelling evidence against the idea, opened a shop in a village where other businesses, including the post office, were memories.

Now his Halfway Shop meets his neighbours’ needs and offers an outlet for local food producers excluded from bigger markets because of travel restrictions.

It has become a community focal point in a long-ago sort of way. It would be, of course, foolish and patronising to romanticise Covid-19 but, equally, it would be foolish to turn our backs on inspiring, silver-lining defiance, even if it arrives in the quietest, most unexpected ways.

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