It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad world in Dublin, better off in the country
ATRIP to Dublin at the weekend to see some friends opened my eyes to the huge disparity that exists between urban and rural life in our country. With two young children Dublin is a city I avoid, apart from the biannual trip to the zoo or the airport because of the logistics and the expense.
Don’t get me wrong, there are so many things about Dublin that I like. The fast pace of life, the choice of places, pubs, venues, the gigs, Trinity College, I could go on, but while getting a taxi into the city centre the thought occurred to me that that 40 minute journey (on a quiet Saturday afternoon) could well be a 70 minute one-way trip in to work every morning.
Effectively people are spending around four hours a day commuting. If they want to go out it’s the price of a taxi for the babysitter (as well as the money she charges) and don’t get me started on the cost of renting a property, (buying being clearly beyond the means of the ordinary Joe Soap squeezed middle class worker).
To rent a property, afford childcare and all the other ancillary costs that come with living in Dublin, you’d need to be on a very good wage and even then you’d be hard pressed to afford the basics.
The city was buzzing with life and you’d have to say on a summer’s evening it was had to imagine a better city to live in – in your late teens and twenties. Maybe it was the infectious city buzz but we ended up singing and playing guitar until the early hours.
But when you have a government that claims to be for the middle class worker who gets up at 7 a.m. and contributes to
society week in, week out, until they collapse into retirement (which will probably be at the ripe age of 80 by the time I get to), and see the opposite in microcosm in the lives your friends are leading, it boils the blood. So many people are caught up in a vicious circle of survival, oscillating between debt, feelings of guilt for not being able to spend enough time with their children, and exhaustion. In the town where I live if I get stuck in traffic for five minutes I start to lose it, whereas in a city multiples of this inconvenience are the norm.
People will say that it’s a choice to live in our capital, but with seemingly endless American companies locating there, something’s got to give. People, especially those working in specialist jobs, often have no choice but to work in Dublin. This may change with new work practices being introduced across the EU, but you don’t have to be Albert Einstein to realise that the government needs to think outside the box, or the Dublin commuter belt even, when it comes to a spatial strategy and developing job and living opportunities in our towns and smaller cities.
SPEAKING of crazy, did you hear the joke about the leader of the world who suggested using a nuclear bomb to blow up hurricanes before they reach the shore. The news broke over the weekend that President, you guessed it, Donald Trump allegedly made the bat excrement crazy comment during a high level meeting with officials, one of whom is reported to have said: ‘Sir, we’ll look into that.’ The report went wildfire and prompted a response from the President who flatly denied he ever made the suggestion. The only problem for Trump is – like the boy who cried wolf – the line between truth and lie has been blurred so much, it’s virtually impossible to know where his truth starts.
Minister Katherine Zappone who announced new childcare relief measures last week.