Sinead Ryan: What's the point of an army if they don't help us all?

Sinead Ryan

When I wrote last week that we should get some burly unemployed men to wield some shovels and spades and get our icy roads gritted, there was a veritable outcry.

It was as if I had suggested we put them into orange jumpsuits and chain them at the ankle.

If we weren't paying them, we shouldn't ask them, seemed to be the general reaction.

Well here's a load of burly men we are paying -- handsomely -- who seem to be doing very little to help our citizens: the army.

It seems just 750 out of the 8,500 strong defence forces were pressed into service on our frozen streets and footpaths during this dreadful icy spell.

Honest to goodness, what is so difficult about getting the best prepared servants of the State ALL out to grit roads, shovel ice from the treacherous footpaths and deploy salt to where it is needed.


Except for those in active service abroad, just what, exactly, are the rest doing?

Marching in barracks?

Doodling with war games?

Seriously -- what is the point of a neutral country having an expensively trained army if it cannot get out -- en masse and in force, to help its citizens when they are finding it impossible to get around.

This is their job.

The NRA assures us we have more than enough salt, sand and grit.

What it doesn't have is the manpower to shift it to where it's needed.

Today, despite assurances that we'd be getting no more snow, many of us awoke to a fresh covering of the stuff.

It's funny that when a bank cash delivery has to be made, suddenly there can be troops, guns, land-rovers and all such things supplied at a minute's notice.

But when it comes to helping the elderly, infirm or even ordinary workers -- they're nowhere to be seen.

Priorities as usual are right up there where they've always been.

We'd be better off with a cabinet of snowmen running the country.