JOANNE O'RIORDAN: We had a lot to be grateful for in 2013

Well Christmas 2013 is nearly upon us and with less than a week to go I must admit this year has been ok.

Yes we might be potentially in ruins for years to come but we don’t have it as bad as many people.

Take a look at the people of the Philippines recently hit by the awful Typhoon Haiyan, destroying everything in its path.

Sure, some of us are surviving, barely able to pay bills and food, but imagine your whole life is washed out in 10 minutes, thanks to Mother Nature.

Imagine how awful it must feel knowing your loved ones were swept out to sea.

Imagine seeing your house , something that you loved and cherished and called home, flattened by strong winds and flood waters.

How about your business, or the place you worked gone, your village gone, everything gone.

Even closer to home, think about all those homeless people and animals wandering our street, trying to find meals.

How about we spare a thought for our Irish soldiers out on peacekeeping missions in Syria and every other war-torn country that needs protecting from vulgar, murderous groups.

These people are out risking their lives for the protection of our country, so the least we could do is think about them for two seconds.

Let’s think about the people in rural Ireland who feel trapped and alone on a day that is supposed to be a day of family, love and celebration.

This year, since we’ve officially been through five years of recession, why don’t we take a moment to breathe a sigh of relief. Even though our economy is growing at a very slow rate we know that we, as Irish people, have finally come together and throughout all our anger and hatred at people who messed it up for us we still have managed to unite together and pull our country out of this mess.

As Charles Dickens once said in A Christmas Carol, “At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge,” said the gentleman, taking up a pen, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. ... We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices.”

I hope 2014 brings us brighter stories, positivity and lots of smiles for the future.

Because if anyone deserves it, we do!


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