We must stand together but stay apart
“There is only one universal passion: fear” – how true! George Bernard Shaw, who made the statement, didn’t live to see the arrival of the Covid-19 Virus, but he would have witnessed the other great pandemic – the Spanish Flu. There has never been a period in our lifetime when fear gripped the world in the manner in which Coronavirus has. This tiny microbe, roughly one -900th the width of a hair in your head, has waged war on the human race and we are all in an almighty battle to stop its spread. We, in West Cork, are no different to anyone else in our vulnerability, but we do enjoy a unique reputation for our resilience, our sense of community and our positivity. Let us stand together, while still staying apart, in the weeks and months ahead and hope and pray that we all stay safe.
Telling you about the contents of this issue seems quite insignificant in the scale of things at the moment, but we do have a jam-packed 80 page edition despite a most challenging few weeks. In this regard I wish to thank the main players in The Opinion team – Jacinta, Helen, Tricia and all our contributors and photographers for their co-operation and assistance. Thanks also to Aylin and also Mark, Doreen and Mick at SNAP Cork, our graphic designers, and to Ceara, Richard and all the KC team at our printers in Killarney.
We publish a number of garda-related stories in this issue: the new Garda Mobile App that’s set to revolutionise roads policing; the setting up of the long-awaited Protective Services Unit in Dunmanway and the re-opening of Ballinspittle Garda Station with the popular Garda Noelle O’Dwyer in charge. Skibbereen and Bandon Credit Union has changed its name to Access Credit Union and Bandon Business Association plans a major campaign to progress the town, commercially and socially. Bantry is set for a bumper cruise season (coronavirus permitting, like so many more developments and events) and Caulfield’s SuperValu Bandon welcomed a new manager in Alan Owens who has made a number of very significant improvements. New businesses have also set up in the centre of Bandon and whilst everything is slow at the moment, things will improve in time and there will never be a greater need to support local. Kilmacsimon Rowing & Swimming Club enjoyed a most successful season in 2019 and we give the vibrant club generous exposure. Tricia Tyson interviews Anne Riordan of the Irish Heart Foundation about the need for communities to register Defibrillator locations throughout West Cork. Sean Lynch, Innishannon tells us about the incredible Christy Shiels who, at 80, still toes the line in darts. John Bohane gives us an update on O’Donovan Rossa GAA Club developments in Skibbereen and also highlights the success of Bantry Ladies Basketball and Football teams. Paudie Palmer, despite the lack of GAA games, provides us with a thought-provoking column. In Arts & Entertainment, we bring you details of the recent Ovacare fundraiser for Ovarian Cancer in Clonakilty, the very successful Bandon Harry Potter Quiz, the recent White Lady of Kinsale production and photos of the Aladdin show in Skibbereen. The Carbery town also boasts a second novel, ‘Gabriella’ from the pen of Caragh Bell. Kilbrittain Tractor Run continues to attract huge participation, which raises vital monies for Autism. Jim O’Mahony gives Tricia Tyson the details. Adrienne Acton writes about the Modern Cork Woman and on a sad note we carry appreciations on the late Dan Lordan, Old Head and Raymond Crowley BE, Bandon. Obviously our social photographic coverage is limited, but we have a number of events featured which, as they say, just made the cut. Conscious of the absence of St Patrick’s Day parades, we decided to go down memory lane to the national feast day 2010 and we hope you enjoy the trip. However, to the credit of the Bandon Girl Guides, with the support of An Garda Síochána, Bandon staged a novel car parade, which attracted a good number of vehicles whose owners honked horns and waved flags through the town to create a Paddy’s Day atmosphere. Usually when clocks go forward at this time of year, there’s a spring in our step in anticipation of longer days and finer weather. They hopefully will still come, but for 2020 we must continue to practice social distancing, stop shaking hands and hugging and continue to wash our hands regularly. We should still look forward to sunnier times, when panic, fear and uncertainty will hopefully leave our lives. Don’t ever forget – we are all in this together and we will come through it with the help of God and our magnificent medics and, may we say, brilliant politicians who have stepped up to the mark in an incredible manner. Well done Leo Varadkar, Simon Coveney, Simon Harris, and Micheál Martin for his co-operation. Remember, “Hope is the feeling you have that the feeling you have isn’t permanent.”
Live in hope over the coming weeks!