independent

Saturday 26 July 2014

We protest most vigorously... in a passive, silent kind of way

Published 12/06/2013|05:28

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A barge going past Slane Castle in 1910 – what a way that would be to gatecrash the Bon Jovi concert this weekend!

WE DESERVE this spell of beautiful weather (or the Heatwave of 2013 as it will henceforth be called in years to come). We really do.

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The winter was so terminally long, I was starting to feel we were trapped in an episode of 'Game of Thrones' and even when the sun did shine, it was always threatened with immediate banishment behind a never ending throng of hovering dark clouds.

I'm sure all who could made the absolute most of it, whether that was toasting one's buns in the garden or at the beach, or heading en famille to a favourite beauty spot to soak up some of those elusive rays.

You can be guaranteed that what most people didn't immediately do was to leap in their cars and hot foot it to protest against a plan to build a supermarket in a park.

Yet that's what the vast majority of the citizens of Istanbul have been doing, even though their midday sun probably puts our entire heatwave in the shade.

We're just not that great at protesting in this country, especially when it would impinge on our entire 'summer'.

Before you point out that there have been very successful protesting campaigns, which have resulting in decisions being overturned, of this, I am fully aware.

The Senior Citizens, or the Grey Army as they like to be known, are fantastic at that sort of thing, although as someone pointed out on a radio discussion last week, they don't have to take the day off work, or look for childcare to take part.

And of course there are 'professional protesters'; those who will turn up to the opening of an envelope just to complain it wasn't made of recycled paper.

No, I'm talking about the ordinary folk, who really do hate some of the stuff the Government does, but don't see how taking to the streets will change anything.

The protests in Turkey have garnered massive international exposure, and that is over a threat to a popular green space, something which has happened countless times in this very town, never mind the whole country.

Objections get made via the official route, and usually promptly ignored, and we are all left giving out in retrospect at something we are really not very pleased about at all.

But would we have taken to the streets to protest about it, whatever the weather? I doubt it very much.

Perhaps it is the endless heat that makes tempers flair in countries like Greece and Turkey, when the citizens reach the end of their collective tether at Government policies.

But I think hail, rain or shine, us Irish will always find an excuse to exercise our complaining muscles with our tongues rather than our feet.

* On another note (but not altogether unrelated), a kindly gentleman by the name of Gerry Doherty dropped me in some beautiful old snaps this week of a Steam Launch by the name of the Ros na Righ, which used to travel between Drogheda and Navan via the Boyne Canal in the early 1900s.

This gorgeous barge used to take leisure passengers along this picturesque route, and as you can see by the photograph, would sweep right behind the majestic Slane Castle.

Now, instead of all the supermarkets/shopping centres/retails parks we got lumbered with during the boom, surely it would have been a much better investment to get that priceless tourist attraction up and running again while the cash was flowing.

I doubt there will be the kind of investment necessary to revive this for eons to come, but what a resource that would be to the Boyne Valley tourism drive to be able to do that now.

Not to mention being a smashing way to gatecrash Bon Jovi this weekend...!

Drogheda Independent

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