Sunday 25 February 2018

Life goes on in real world

John Greene

John Greene

The new Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney says Ireland should take great heart from Cheltenham last week. "As a country, we should take pride in our success and encouragement from our achievements," he said.

The question Minister, is why?

Getting 13 winners -- our best return ever from the Cheltenham Festival -- was a fantastic achievement but has absolutely nothing to do with the 'current economic climate' and plenty to do with the fact that despite the all-pervasive sense of doom and gloom there is a nation of people out there just trying to get on with life.

Because what seems to have been forgotten amid all the talk of corrupt, inept and greedy bankers, developers and politicians is that Ireland is populated mostly by folk who live reasonable simple lives with relatively straightforward ambitions, trying to provide for their families and their community as best they can. These are the sort of people for whom the Cheltenham Festival, or a football or hurling match, or junior rugby or soccer is more an expression of what they are than some kind of mission statement as to what their country, as the minister put it, "is capable of". They are the sort of people on whom this country was first moulded, and on whom it must now be rebuilt.

Coveney also spoke of the value of the horse industry to this country and name-checked counties involved with producing a winner last week -- in this at least his comments were of more relevance, and he will be better served in future sticking to the point.

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