Let’s not forget the vulnerable and the weak after all the festivities are over
EVEN the most c ynical among us will surely agree that t he s e ns e o f c ha r i t y a nd g e ne r o s i t y t ha t s u r r o u nds Christmas is something to be welcomed and encouraged. Certainly the seemingly endless queues and the non stop audio barrage of Christmas tunes can be irritating but there is much to enjoy during the festive season.
Arguably, the nicest aspect of Christmas is the way in which it brings communities and people together to help the most vulnerable in society.
Millions of Euro is raised every year to help the poor and needy; people take the time to look in on elderly neighbours and, in general, there is a tremendous willingness to help others. If only it were like that all year round.
People are, of course, generally decent and throughout the year many will go out of their way to look after those who are in difficulty and who need a helping hand.
Unfortunately, there are just as many for whom charity is typically an annual affair and who tend not be as generous in July as they are in December.
It would be great to see that change and while we pat ourselves on the back for helping good causes at Christmas we should remember the vulnerable all year round.
A cold night in the summer can be just as hellish an experience for someone sleeping on the streets.
That elderly neighbour whose family never call will be just as lonely on the 25 th of August as they are on Christmas Day.
The scores of homeless families whose dismal plight is hidden behind hotel doors will need houses as desperately next June as they do this week.
The Government and big business tend to use Christmas to cast themselves in a caring light and wash off any unpleasant tarnish their reputations picked up during the year.
The Government that has failed to get any meaningful grasp on the housing crisis will suddenly find a few free houses that can be presented, on camera of course, to some despairing families.
Spare beds will suddenly materialise on hospital wards only to disappear in the new year while cash strapped departments will find enough spare change down the back of the minister’s couch to fund a few, camera friendly, charity donations.
Meanwhile, the retail giants who pay their zero-hour contract workers pittance will spend millions on glossy campaigns that mask their naked avarice in a schmaltzy sentimentality.
Such brazen cynicism would usually be quickly shot down – particularly in our social media obsessed era of constant outrage – but somehow at Christmas companies and governments are able to get away with it.
In the next few days many of us will be making New Year resolutions for 2019.
Anyone seeking inspiration might consider this suggestion. In 2019 we should all resolve to do all we can for the needy all year round; to ensure the weak are never forgotten and to make sure those responsible for the plight of the vulnerable are always held to account.