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No room for half measures in the last chance saloon

Editorial


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Health minister Simon Harris is calling for behavioural change, recommending the wearing of masks. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Health minister Simon Harris is calling for behavioural change, recommending the wearing of masks. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Health minister Simon Harris is calling for behavioural change, recommending the wearing of masks. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Prolonged stress can trigger an instinct of self-deception, its roots set in hopes we can banish from our minds recurring dangers. We can't. Unfortunately, denial doesn't render them non-existent. The pandemic period of suspended animation is winding down, but slowly.

Our economic, social and political worlds are reopening, not as they were, but as they will have to be.

The paradox is that the only way to hold on to what we most value, is to change.

Every failure to recognise this reinforces risks and undermines advances. Health Minister Simon Harris advises: "While we continue to make progress, we should not forget this virus is still among us." He was marking the fact the level of Covid-19 is remaining stable.

But while the reproductive rate remains below 0.7, remain it does, so the threat is very much still with us.

Our interactions must continue to alter.

Mr Harris is calling for behavioural change, recommending the wearing of masks.

Hopefully if we do what is asked the desired response will be achieved. But no one is claiming it is going to be easy.

Masks or none, the way we work, rest and play will be unrecognisable.

We must get over it, in order to get on with it. But the notion of being restricted to just 90 minutes in the pub may nonetheless be seen as taking one liberty too far.

A national apostasy, especially after such a prolonged drought.

Sure, we bowed the knee to six weeks locked in our houses, noses pressed against the pane; but a limit of an hour and a half in the local?

The notion is enough to leave us at once shaken and stirred. Fair enough, we've come a long way in our relationship with the demon drink since Brendan Behan said: "I only drink on two occasion, when I'm thirsty and when I'm not thirsty."

But we have been subsisting as if our whole bizarre existence had been conjured up from Flann O'Brien's verse: "When money's tight and is hard to get And your horse has also ran, When all you have is a heap of debt - A pint of plain is your only man."

Now all's changed...

It will soon be 20 years, since we did away with the Holy Hour.

Further proof of our advanced civilisation - if it be required - can be measured in the fact we have endured nearly a century's worth of them in the past few months; all without revolt.

The truth is, however, many's the parched punter who has merely been sustained by the magnificent sight of the effulgent oasis they saw in their mind's eye.

To finally discover, having completed their crawl across their individual Saharas, it is nothing but a 90-minute mirage is indeed a cruel and unnatural thing.

It might even be the last straw. And as any publican will tell you, only the smuggest of smug teetotallers takes any comfort in the last straw.

Irish Independent