Aoife Moore on #Golfgate: One night of barefaced arrogance the final straw for heartsick public

Many have labelled this week's scandal as an "error of judgement", which is the very least of it
Aoife Moore on #Golfgate: One night of barefaced arrogance the final straw for heartsick public
Pictured:A Dublin schoolteacher known as 'Kay', confronts Taoiseach Micheál Martin on Bridge Street in Skibbereen over the Government's handling of school reopenings. Picture: PA

 

Aoife Moore

There's an old saying in Irish politics: "Eaten bread is soon forgotten," but I'm willing to wager whatever bread they served in the Station Hotel on Wednesday night, might stick in the throat a bit longer.

Many have labelled this week's scandal as an "error of judgement", which is the very least of it.

Neither I, nor my colleague Paul Hosford had any real idea what we had started when we wrote the story of 81 of Ireland's "best and brightest" on Thursday. We, in a stark reflection of the country itself, and like thousands of others, have made our own sacrifices, foregoing our respective weddings in order to respect public health guidelines.

We spent hours poring over a story of how those who have ready access to the top table of Irish life, were able to forgo government guidelines and enjoy a luxury that was not afforded to us.

Many in receipt of a public wage or pension were able to sit down and laugh and eat together, to remember their friend, to celebrate their successes, just like everyone else would like to do.

 

A SWIFT AND FURIOUS BACKLASH

The backlash was swift and furious, and was expected. This sick, sore and tired government, still in its infancy, has been carried by the goodwill of the Irish people for weeks, and it appears one night of barefaced arrogance has been the final straw.

Good people often make bad decisions in the moment, but it's not this moment we should be worried about.

The wider implications of this fall-out could be devastating. We have seen how populations react when those in charge do not appear to be taking their own rules seriously. Our nearest neighbour has struggled to get a handle on their community transmission amidst a battle for public sentiment after Dominic Cummings took off to Barnard Castle to check his eyesight.

Across the Atlantic, the bodies of the dead are piling up in freezers because their leader, a stained tupperware lunchbox of a man, would not and could not take the pandemic seriously.

I don't believe there is a person alive in the state who could remember a moment in their lifetime where the mood of the Irish public had become so fraught and the blame does not lie anywhere other than the door of Leinster House.

 

STATE-ORDERED LONELINESS

A delayed wedding is by no means the worst compared to what some of our team mates in the 'Green Jersey' have endured, and it is at the Government's peril that they continue to ignore this.

Some of us have said our final goodbyes to loved ones through iPads and windows. Last breaths have been taken in the reflection of some Apple-branded glass, hands held by strangers in hazmat suits, with no final word of familial love in their ear.

We have worried about the elderly people we know and the elderly people we don't, and about how this phase of state-ordered loneliness will affect those without loved ones to call their own.

Children with additional needs have regressed so quickly that once-determined mothers have been reduced to tears on nightly news programmes trying to defend their guilt at needing a break, and desperation for their children's future.

We have lined roads and abandoned funerals, we have starved grandparents of embraces and filled ourselves with banana bread and notions that it "won't be too much longer now".

Delayed hugs, delayed kisses and parties and presents. Postponed funerals, and wakes and celebrations of life and love, all held in our new earth-bound purgatory we call the "new normal".

Good-hearted and hard-working people have spent years at the coal face trying to convince a jaded Irish public that there is good that can come from government.

The lack of young people and women in Irish political life is not an accident; it's a symptom of the cynicism that exists, the belief that those who walk the halls of power are in it for themselves, for the large pay packets for "doing nothing", and that they disregard real people and their real problems. And now, after all this, who can blame them?

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