Opinion: What we wouldn't give in the country for a small bit of congestion
Last week, the Taoiseach launched 'Ireland 2040', variously described as a report, consultation or plan.
I turned on the live link to the launch. No matter how I moved the volume sliders, I couldn't raise Enda's voice above a murmur. Undeterred, I logged on to the website ireland2040.ie.
There, a number of documents revealed the start of a process whereby individuals, groups and agencies can make suggestions about how Ireland might deal with present and emerging social, economic and environmental challenges. The intention is that they will feed into a plan.
I live in rural Ireland and could make no connection with many of the challenges: things like urban sprawl, congestion and the housing crisis.
That is not to dismiss these, because I know they are a reality for a great many people.
But it really is ironic.
Dublin is feeling the problems of having too many people, while many rural areas are feeling those associated with having too few. Both are bearing the brunt of infrastructural shortcomings. What wouldn't we give for a bit of congestion!
What did make a connection with me last week is news of the imminent closure of our local shop, in Ballacolla. It's a traditional village grocery, selling newspapers to locals, ice creams to kids, the odd ham sandwich to a passing tourist.