A loved member of my family is being irrevocably harmed by the state — a state denying him the right to work, a fundamental human right. He is furloughed like so many others. Those working in health care and essential services have had jobs to go to throughout this time. Yes, it has been difficult and challenging for them but their status and self worth is at an all time high.
What was happening pre-pandemic? Dozens of people dying every day from the ‘flu, from disease, on waiting lists. A crisis of trolleys in corridors embarrassing the nation due to our hopelessly inefficient unfair (public-private) system. And now the hospitals have become untouchable with NPHET acting as the puppet master while the government is the puppet.
It can’t get much worse. The lights have been turned out and we are told they won’t be turned on again until at the earliest May. Meanwhile everyone is quietly trying to circumvent the rules by meeting friends for walks, going to parks, keeping sane but feeling guilty because it is not strictly to the letter of the lockdown level 5. The less confident amongst us feel like criminals.
Parents are desperately worried. Everywhere. They see their grown up children, young adults who should be spreading their wings, crumbling, regressing, confidence knocked out of them, fear, depression, lack of hope. Self harm. Suicides.
By not giving us anything since the end of December, by not letting us work and socialise (safely), by keeping us in a constant state of fear, the government is in danger of radicalising us all.
It is notable that those advocating for continued lockdown, working from home (everyone has that kind of white collar job don’t they?) and keeping retail closed, all have well paid high-status public sector jobs.
Published Irish Examiner 20 March 2021, with thanks to the editor.
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