Ireland - The price of progress!
fadó, nuair a bí mé óg, say
fifty years ago, if you were motoring through a village
or town in any part of Ireland in the small hours of a black
stormy night, the streets would be deserted; not a light
would be seen, not even the smallest flicker peeping through
a window, nothing but the pitch black darkness; a ghostly
silence reigned the dark deserted streets and the only noise
would be from your car engine, barely audible above the
sound of the rain battering the windscreen and drowning
the monotonous flapping of your wiper blades. You might
feel apprehensive, unsure of what lay ahead, maybe, a fallen
tree or a flooded road or worse.
Suddenly, the headlights of your car would show up a lone
figure in the recess of a shop doorway or perhaps standing
motionless at a street corner. Just as you looked at it,
the figure would flash a torchlight and signal you on in
the direction you were going. It was letting you know it
had observed you and decided you were in no danger, and
that you were under its protection and the road ahead was
safe. You relaxed them and felt safe. You knew that you
would meet the dark reassuring figure several times again,
maybe in unexpected places, before journeys end.
Do you know who or what that dark figure was and what it
was doing there at that God forsaken hour? Ill tell
you! That was the figure of a member of the respected force
of the Gárda Síochána, quietly protecting
the slumbering town or village and the occasional traveller,
the like of you or me, who might be abroad at that unearthly
Let me ask you this! Where is that dedicated guardian of
the peace to day? Ill tell you! He left us long ago.
He left with the local Garda Barracks like Gowna, Glengevlin,
Ballyhaise and Blacklion ; he departed like the small shopkeeper
and the country shop and the cheerful sound of children
playing in the village street. He vanished with the srútháns
and the shucks and the hedges around small fields and the
small farmer briaring up a gap; - dimthing sé
léis na sceachanna in a bí na mílte
éanlaith in a gcónaí. He vanished like
Shining castle in the parish of Killann, like the fairy
forts, bog lands and the lark in the clear air; all vanished
imperceptibly over time.
We didnt notice their going until they were gone;
gone like the Fair of Kesh and the train from Killeshandra
and the great railway station of Belturbet where passengers
on the narrow-gauge line from Leitrim and surrounding counties
could transfer to the Northern line for Belfast and where
an army of Cavan supporters travelled to Dublin for an All-Ireland
final. All these services and facilities withdrawn in the
interest of progress, material prosperity and the economy.
Thats what the Powers that be told us
and thats what they tell us still; they decide the
paths of progress.
My God! - What a price for what? - For what they call progress?
And they tell us that you cant stop progress, and
so it continues; the country post office is one the way
out, the small farmer is disappearing from the face of the
earth and the ancient domains of the Dalcassions, King Brian
Ború, and the kings of Ireland, will eventually become
vast uninhabited regions where the small farmer will be
as rare as the snipe and the corncrake.
Some of this progress occured years ago and some of it is
currently coming to its logical conclusion. How much of
it was real progress? Real progress must retain the excellent
features of our culture and society as well as the social
fabric of our heritage.
You may ask where did all the good features of our social
fabric disappear to in the interest of progress? They went
down the corridors of time. And the sad aspect is that their
wonders were never experienced by our present generation.
Can their wonders ever return? Of course they can. There
are two ends to every corridor and they will return someday.
That day good men and women will have taken action; order
will have been restored and man women and child will be
able to walk our streets and roads again without fear of
being molested. Family and country pride will return. That
day we will be proud once more to live and live for Dear
Taken from Breffni Blue