Why can’t we get obvious things right?

I CANNOT understand why simple improvements are overlooked in this country.

1. Within weeks of moving to Ireland I visited a tennis club. As it rains more often than not, my first request was to see the indoor courts. I was guided down a corridor and onto a basketball court that was lined with what appeared to be masking tape. Many here love the sport and we could become serious European competitors (after a few years of solid youth programmes) if people could play more than the two dry days we get each month.

Other areas that require protection from the elements are bus stops, school entrances, taxi ranks and supermarkets. Listen, we know it rains a lot here, but we should know how to function in it.

2. Litter is a problem in most cities and towns. The sporadic distribution of small cylindrical containers cannot contain the amount of rubbish that is produced on our streets. More often than not, there isn’t one in sight. Hmmm, I wonder why there is rubbish on our streets?

3. The ridiculously recurring incidents of violence on our streets make many think twice before having a late night out. Much of this violence occurs night after night in the same areas (takeaways and other post-pub congregation spots). Somehow, those appointed to protect us never seem to think about positioning themselves in areas that might prevent the onset or escalation of such incidents. It doesn’t take a mastermind to create a presence where it is needed to thwart drunken thugs.

4. The most used words in our justice system are ‘suspended sentence’. This probably dissuades our law officers from bothering at all, as any thug captured is more than likely to be on the same corner the following night. Why are our judges so reluctant to incarcerate violent offenders who repeatedly jeopardise the safety and well being of the rest of us? Without strong consequences, there is no deterrent for offenders to repeat. If we need new jails, then build them and implement a zero tolerance approach so that we don’t waste our time and money trying the same defendant for the same crime month after month after month.

5. Mass transportation is necessary to reduce the number of vehicles on our roads and consequent pollutants in our environment. To link all corners and the centre of this small island with timetables that support business travellers isn’t a complicated engineering feat. Just do it - or build bigger roads to support the resulting traffic flow.

This list could go on ad infinitum, but the point should be clear... doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is evidence of insanity.

Tom O’Leary

Fair Green

Dromore West

Co Sligo

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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

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