Days off for­merly known as bank hols

Irish Examiner - Farming - - COVER STORY - Cor­ma­c­sea­

An­other pure truth is that we don’t any more have bank hol­i­days as we used to ex­pe­ri­ence them.

How can you call it a bank hol­i­day when the hun­gry lit­tle wink­ing eye of the ATM is work­ing away fever­ishly all the time that the bank build­ing is closed for busi­ness. Those ATMs are also sym­bolic of the move by the bankers to sharply re­duce the hu­man staff lev­els be­hind the cashiers’ desks.

Soon they are likely enough to dis­ap­pear al­to­gether and I, for one, will miss them. The lit­tle green ro­bots of the im­pend­ing fu­ture will never be as friendly and, where nec­es­sary, as oblig­ing, as the cashiers be­hind the glass on the bank coun­ters.

Not at all, be­cause those flick­er­ing ATMs in re­al­ity rep­re­sent the green eyes of the big yel­low god named Mam­mon.

How­ever, I’m drift­ing slightly away from the point I wish to make to­day, as we emerge from the dread­ful weather con­di­tions launched upon us yet again, over the ex­tended Easter break. We’ve had to cope with snow and sleet and floods and tor­ren­tial rain from one end of the is­land to the other. Ac­cord­ing to the fore­casts, it is far from over.

We should not be surprised at all.

After the as­so­ci­ated cli­mac­tic changes of the past 20 years, it can now be vir­tu­ally guar­an­teed in ad­vance that all the tra­di­tional bank hol­i­day breaks that lie ahead for the na­tion will be marred and marked by in­clement weather. Ac­cord­ingly, in the in­ter­est of to­tal ac­cu­racy, I sug­gest here and now that we should be­gin to adopt the phrase “Dank Hol­i­days” in­stead of “Bank Hol­i­days”, from this day forth.

We can be cer­tain that the weather will be dank and wet and dreary when the time ar­rives.

We can also be cer­tain that the weather will be es­pe­cially un­kindly wet and cold on the Mon­day, which used to be the bonus for the work­ing man and woman, dur­ing the gen­uine bank hol­i­day week­ends of by­gone years.

Yes, let’s call them Dank Hol­i­days from hence­forth, and then we will never be dis­ap­pointed.

There may be a his­tor­i­cal ex­pla­na­tion for the foul weather which wraps it­self around our for­mer bank hol­i­days, when you come to think of it in any depth at all.

Is it not true that the young Je­sus of Nazareth, when dis­patched down here by God the Fa­ther first hit the head­lines of the time by los­ing his tem­per with the money­len­ders and bankers at that time in­fest­ing the Tem­ple in Jerusalem.

De­spite be­ing ap­par­ently only a young coun­try lad, he strongly evicted ev­ery last man of them from the holy ground of the Tem­ple. Fair play to Him for that. Fol­low­ing on down through the cen­turies from that evic­tion, is it at all a rea­son­able as­sump­tion to­day that bankers and money­len­ders are not highly re­garded in Heaven? This may be es­pe­cially true in this state at the mo­ment, when one reads that there are over 10,000 Ir­ish men and women, and close to 3,000 chil­dren who are home­less. Some of them, by all ac­counts, are try­ing to sur­vive in less liv­ing space than was avail­able back in the day in that small sta­ble in Beth­le­hem.

And the fi­nan­cial ac­tions of our banks, in evic­tions and fore­clo­sures and the sale of dis­tressed mort­gages to vul­ture funds have sig­nif­i­cantly con­trib­uted to that scan­dalous state of af­fairs. Con­cur­rently, ev­ery hour across the me­dia, our banks project them­selves to us as be­ing ready, very will­ing, and im­me­di­ately able to im­prove our lives with ev­ery pos­si­ble kind of fi­nan­cial pack­ages and in­duce­ments.

The im­ages and the mes­sages give the im­pres­sion that one has just to walk into their bank, and they will in­stantly fund your dreams and projects.

In all fair­ness, after an­other Dank Hol­i­day, those mes­sages jar with the raw re­al­i­ties sur­round­ing those 3,000 home­less chil­dren and their fam­i­lies. Is it enough to say in small print be­low the smil­ing face of the banker on the screen that, “terms and con­di­tions ap­ply”. They cer­tainly do. Any­way, I hope all of you are re­cov­er­ing from the Dank Hol­i­day week­end.

Pic­ture: Andy Jay

Rac­ing from the rain: at Cork Race­course, Mal­low, on Easter Sun­day.

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