The Editors Corner February March 2021

Eoin Meegan

With restrictions set to remain in place until March 5th at the earliest, many people are really beginning to feel the strain of this third lockdown. There’s just something about long dark evenings that makes days seem longer than they are. However, these fears should not be compounded with uncertainty and confusion as to what the future holds. Our government needs to make a final decision on whether the Leaving Certificate is to go ahead this year, as well as whether to reopen schools for children with autism and learning disability, many of whom may suffer long-term impairment if denied access to education for a prolonged period. Others are suffering due to the cancellation of elective and non life-threatening procedures, as well as outpatient appointments. And there must be increased vigilance for those who find themselves in abusive relationships with coercive partners during lockdown.

With the national debt at over €219 bn (equivalent to €44,000 per person) there will be a big price to pay for Covid. This time, it must be carried by those who are in a position to do so, those who can afford a modest tax increase, who can afford to dig deepest. The government cannot get away with pulling another fast one, as they did after the banking collapse, and have the bill foisted onto working people and those least able to bear the burden. We need a new breed of economethics in this country, starting now.

In this issue (online only due to the restrictions) NewsFour is happy to introduce a new feature: a fiction page, open to established and new writers alike, starting with a story by Brid Fitzpatrick (pg.14) which we hope you enjoy. Elsewhere we look at the fallout to the harrowing report into the Mother and Baby Homes released last month (pgs 4-5), while on pgs  6-7 we have a special feature on the history of vaccines, a topic of interest to nearly every citizen in the country at present. It may be spring but the perennials of the season, the Six Nations, Valentine’s day, Mother’s day in March, and of course St Patrick’s Day will all have to be enjoyed from afar, as they are scaled back or perhaps likely to disappear entirely this year. Dark as these days are we are never without hope. We will get through this and come out the other side a stronger and more united people. Let’s set our short-term aspiration to stay safe and be able to enjoy a summer with friends once more, and our long-term one to build a new, post Covid, world of equality for everyone.