It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad world in Dublin, bet­ter off in the coun­try

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - OPINION - david looby [email protected]­ple­

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.

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