THERE were times when it felt like the lockdown would never end.
The quietness, as the saying goes, was deafening. It felt like everything had changed forever.
Now, and it seems so quickly, everything is back.
The roads are busy again. People are back at work. The shops have reopened.
Even the pubs, or some of them at least, are serving.
Things aren’t normal, they aren’t quite like they were, but it feels a lot like it used to.
We might have to go back, of course, might have our own version of Leicester, but as of now Ireland feels a lot like Ireland again.
Without, though, the tourists.
There’s the odd UK car on the road, though they were spotted even during the lockdown, but that’s about it.
If you listened, though, to Ryanair we’d all now be hopping on planes and going on holiday.
We’d all be taking our annual summer holidays as if Covid-19 had never happened.
Michael O’Leary, once talked up by so many as the man who should be running the country, insists that whatever the health experts say he knows better.
He even recently argued with a radio host on RTE who pointed out that we might be better off taking our health advice from medics rather than a man who runs an airline.
So even as Tony Holohan, the Chief Medical Officer for the entire country, urged people not to travel abroad in their own interest and in the collective interest, Ryanair just wants us all back on those planes.
Health is one thing but this is so nakedly about money that Michael O’Leary, if you ever had any doubts, clearly puts cash above everything.
Above you and your family’s wellbeing, that’s for sure.
But are we really that desperate? Are we really that spoilt?
After all we are only being asked to miss one summer holiday and in doing so protect all the sacrifices we made during lockdown in the first place.
In the face of a global pandemic that doesn’t sound like the most heroic of sacrifices.
Of course there are people working in Ryanair and in the wider tourist industry whose jobs must be under threat, but can we really risk our health on that basis?
Certainly, does anyone want to risk their life to satisfy Michael O’Leary’s greed?
We’ve all at this stage seen the scenes of overcrowding at beaches around the UK and, to a lesser extent, here in Ireland.
So much of that is understandable. And so much of it too is ridiculous.
As adults surely we can make decisions wisely. We can be expected to act in a grown up way. Unfortunately those who can’t be trusted have collided with a severe government misstep.
In the hullabaloo over our historic civil war ending government of Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael something has gone missing.
The Chief Medical Officer is pleading with us not to travel just as the planes are on the runway and ready to go.
It is as if a garda has stopped you and said you can travel on this road at 200mph but please don’t. Some fool is going to do the 200, aren’t they?
When the consequences could be so fatal what harm would there be in the government introducing a travel ban for the rest of the year?
It won’t please Michael O’Leary but it would save lives.
I will always remember at the height of the Celtic Tiger that there was a woman on the radio outraged about how her family holiday to Lapland had not lived up to expectations.
We had reached peak Celtic Tiger daftness. Surely we are past all that now.
Surely the economic collapse and a global pandemic have taught us all about priorities.
Surely being asked to go to Kerry or Donegal or Clare instead of Spain or France isn’t too much of an ask?
Surely after everything we’ve been through we can forego a summer holiday?
Irish society responded so well to the restrictions of lockdown and there was a remarkable cohesion between government and people.
It would be more than a shame if we sacrificed that and so much more for a sun lounger and a cold beer.