Would the last person in rural Ireland please turn out the light?/ No progress up the social ladder
2018-10-01 12:45:15 -
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Would the last person in rural Ireland please turn out the light?

 

Elderly residents of the Irish countryside find themselves in the middle of the social spectrum. At one end, there is the organised thuggery aimed at them by individuals who regard the houses of rural residents at their own pick’n’mix.

A state of lawlessness exists in rural Ireland. Criminals operate without fear or hindrance, leaving behind traumatised victims of their nefarious deeds.

While the loss of material goods is annoying, they can be replaced. What cannot be restored is the sense that a person’s living space will never be the same following an unwanted trespass.

At the other end of the spectrum is the closure of rural post offices – representing a pre-mediated use of an economic instrument to balance the company’s books at the expense of people’s access to services.

The State-driven programme to denude the Irish countryside of the financial, commercial and digital infrastructure which allows rural society to function is helmed by a city-based culture.

The social contract between the Government and its citizens has to be maintained, regardless of where it makes contact with human society.

Behind the political spin lies an attempt to rewrite the terms of this contract in favour of Irish citizens who are city-based, digital natives, and regard the Irish countryside as a weekend playground.

A rural post office is more than a commercial space bedecked with An Post livery. It is a community heartbeat, echoing on rivulets that reach into the homes of rural residents while providing the intangible known as human contact as it dispenses the tangible known as postal services.

As they enjoy their twilight years, why should the rural elderly bow the knee and change the way they engage with public, commercial and social services?

Living and being part of a society that they helped to create, they are being portrayed as fossils refusing to embrace the digital times.

Has it come to pass that your place of home determines your engagement with society? If that is the case, then would the last person out of the Irish countryside please turn out the light?

 

John Tierney

Ashtown Fews, Co Waterford

 

 

No progress up the social ladder

 

The recent RTÉ programme The Rich List should set alarm bells ringing, but it won’t.

While one section of society in the EU gets richer and richer, another cannot get secure job, can’t get overtime, and can’t move up the social ladder.

We were warned four decades ago that this would happen, and no one listened then. Are they listening now?

 

Patrick Confrey

Rathfarnham, Dublin 14

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