A Eagarthóir, When Horace Curzon Plunkett and friends formed the Irish Organisation Society Ltd in 1894 they had a vision of a rural Ireland that would offer people reasonable prosperity and a good quality of life. Their slogan: Better Farming, Better Business, Better Living, was intended to inspire and reinvigorate a society that had suffered repression and hostility for far too long. The co-operative movement that had its genesis with Plunkett and friends served Ireland well for many years and gave hope to holders of small farms and their families.
The present terrible recession, born of greed, arrogance and political inertia, is once more devastating Ireland, urban and rural. There is a spreading pall of hopelessness and frightening despair. Farmers are unable to fodder their precious animals. Many families are struggling to put food on their tables. The young men and women are forming vibrant GAA teams in Sydney, Auckland and Dubai.
Plunkett's vision would certainly raise a question mark or two over the salaries and perks of some of those in the top echelons of the co-ops. It would do so especially as farmers are being asked to pay up to €45 for a bale of sometimes mediocre quality fodder.
Plunkett's dream would not condemn some of the elderly to spending half of the day in bed because they cannot afford to buy fuel for the fire. He would most certainly call into question the mentality of those intent on further increasing the cost of coal by the addition of another carbon tax.. It's not the emissions from the chimneys' of the aged that will result in the devastation of the environment.
We all know full well that our country has been almost destroyed by greed, incompetence and politically motivated land zoning on a vast scale but the gospel of despair is merely a recipe for still more repression, depression and emigration.
Our country cannot recover unless a sense of hope is restored. Normality cannot return unless optimism replaces the present gloom. People must be encouraged to generate revenue through involvement in positive projects.
The health and safety of a people is best guaranteed by involvement and employment rather than by impediments, stop signs and imposed fear - physical and fanciful.
Le Gach Dea Ghuí.
Michael Gleeson (Cllr).