There are over 11,000 positive cases of COVID-19 per day and 50% of nursing homes have an outbreak of coronavirus.
Yet, we hardly give it a thought as people shed the masks in response to the removal of restrictions.
We’re done with the pandemic although it might not be done with us. We’ve moved onto war. What does it do to us if we’re having war for breakfast, dinner and tea? It’s in the newspapers and on the television.
Social media brings the atrocities into the living room and bedrooms in alarmingly graphic reality.
I try to imagine what it would be like to be in a shelter. If it was my family, where would we be?
The noise of gunfire and shelling is grating. We are following it. We’re trying to understand what has gone wrong with the world. We have feelings of anger against Russia.
At the same time, we feel compassion for the Ukrainian people. I try to imagine what it would be like to be in a shelter. If it was my family, where would we be? Would we be in one of the city car parks.
These thoughts are horrible
Thinking about it, we don’t have too many underground car parks in Cork. Where could we go? Would us farmers stay with our animals and remain in the countryside and allow fate to decide. Would I flee without my adult children who’d have to make their own decisions? Would my sons be actively involved in the fight? Philip is already an army officer. That answers that question.
Could my disabled daughter, Julie flee with her toddler son Ricky? I doubt it. She’d probably come to us. So yes, we’d probably stay in our home and manage as best we could. These thoughts are horrible and surreal as war has come too close to us. It is affecting everyone bringing down our moods. There is a sense of foreboding that is hard to escape.
We took our peaceful Europe for granted. All the work at negotiations resulting in treaties and agreements only lasts while all countries honour them. Now, we are realising once again the fragility of peace. It can never be taken for granted. It was so nice to travel Europe freely. Crossing borders in the European Union was easy with just our passports.
A few years back we went on holiday to Croatia and Slovenia, acknowledging that we’d never been to eastern Europe and were planning to take in more countries in the future.
For some, the ethnic, cultural, religious and political differences in eastern European countries can make them less appealing
It was a lovely experience. We’ve been to Greece twice over the years. We’ve been to Poland to visit Auschwitz, a chilling legacy of World War II where Jewish and vulnerable people were exterminated. Those countries are as far east as we’ve been.
For some, the ethnic, cultural, religious and political differences in eastern European countries can make them less appealing. There is always an underlying fear of volatility and conflict. That fear has turned into a reality none of us could have envisaged. I always thought I might visit Russia sometime. It is now well off limits.
Irish people are going to open their homes and hearts
The situation worsens for the people of Ukraine daily. We look on helplessly. Irish people are going to open their homes and hearts to our fellow Europeans that are being displaced. Anyone who can is contributing some kind of aid. The generosity of people is remarkable. Seeing 25 massive container trucks leaving Dublin for the Polish-Ukrainian border was quite emotional. It looked tangible and real and hopefully will alleviate suffering for the people that cannot get away.
We truly are a wonderful nation
The destination of the money we pledge and the aid we purchase is important. We need to know that it is getting to where it is supposed to go. We are witnessing unselfish volunteerism from so many people. We truly are a wonderful nation. I got three different notifications of collections happening which indicates just how many people are actually involved in this humanitarian effort for Ukraine.
While we all get uses to this new conflict, we are also beginning to understand that it will mean higher fuel prices, higher fertiliser prices, possible unavailability of fertiliser and grain which will all lead to difficult situations for farmers.
This war will bring about changes that need to be navigated carefully.
Food security is a real concern. With the new committee – the National Fodder and Food Security Committee – established to explore issues for farmers, we hope it will have the teeth and foresight to make the necessary decisions.