Have you ever been truely bamboozled by something? Brought up short by an incongruity your senses just cannot reconcile?
Let me give you an example and see if you know what I mean.
Navan in Co Meath is the fifth largest town in Ireland (according to Wikipedia anyways). 25,000 people live there.
It’s an hour or so from Dublin by road. Thousands of commuters travel everyday to work in the city.
Now, you might be thinking that such a large sized town would have a rail link with the capital. But no – you can’t get from Navan to Dublin by train.
Here’s the astounding thing though. Navan does actually have a railway station. And train tracks. And level crossings. All working and operational. Everything you need for trains to run. And trains do run from the town.
The rub though is that they don’t carry people. Only lead/zinc ore from Tara mines to Drogheda port.
So here’s the situation that flummoxes me.
One of the largest towns in Ireland and main dormitory centres for Dublin has a working railway line. But it doesn’t transport passengers. And the situation has been like this for over twenty years. Yet all the way through the Celtic Tiger years very little was done.
Is there a context where this makes sense? Is there a logic I’m missing?
Surely the investment would have been worth it to remove cars from the road?
And still is?
Yours in befuddlement.
The Irish Times reports a proposal being considered by the Irish Government to implement a limited subsidised childcare scheme.
It might be surprising to realise this doesn’t exist already; maybe even more surprising that there is opposition; and perhaps most surprising that those opposed to caring for children consider themselves ‘pro-life’.
Does David Quinn know it’s not 1950 any more?
And the same point as with abortion, applies to this scheme – if you don’t want to avail of it, fine, but don’t set your own personal perspective as the inflexible arbitrary norm for everyone else.
And has he seen the costs of living recently? Does he know how much the average person earns? And that in the vast majority of cases one income is not going to keep a family fed, clothed and housed?
I’m guessing most of the people he knows are rather well to do, upper middle class, as comfortable financially as they are conservative socially.
But his little world is a fantasyland, a mental Jurassic Park of an imagined society that never actually existed, except for a tiny number of very privileged people.
For everyone else, life isn’t and never has been as Quinn imagines – it’s rather more demanding and at times desperate, with worries about making pennies stretch and holding everything together day by day.
A little subsidised childcare might go a ways to making things a bit easier. I can’t for the life of me see what’s wrong with that – I don’t have any kids, I won’t benefit, but I think it’s a really good idea, and not unfair or unjust to me in the least. I’m fairly certain a lot of people think the same way.
I can’t fathom how or why Mr Quinn views the world as he does, but his outlook seems to lack, or expressly deny, understanding, empathy, and basic humanity.
I suppose we live in hope, and one of these days, like Mr Scrooge, he might yet develop a heart…..
Spotted this chap on Grafton Street.
The message resonated – well worth reflecting on…. the people we pass everyday sleeping on the streets are people, just like us, with hopes and dreams and fears and pride…. unlucky in life, not lesser beings….
There, but for the grace of fortune, go I…… And you…….
Truth (and the most insightful historians & history) derives from empathy not judgement:
Neil MacGregor: ‘Britain forgets its past. Germany confronts it’