Loss, memory, life, and hope - all in a week’s work

I hope you had an opportunity to enjoy the last four or five days of beautiful sunshine. It was amazing and, really, I hope you had more than a few minutes to yourselves to appreciate the welcome spring weather.

I can only imagine the dread and foreboding that is hanging over Black Sod in Co Mayo as the families mourn and await news of the final two missing crew members. The body of Captain Duffy has been recovered and his funeral is this week, but the diving continues to find the other two crew members. We all hope that they will be found because, in that way, the families can have closure on their two loved ones. All four were on a mercy mission, and as they had so often done before, working to save people and putting themselves on the danger list.

I am very moved to hear of all of the volunteer work which is going on in that area in Mayo, where meals are being prepared daily for up to 200 people, and it all a voluntary effort. So much good in people to try to help in a perilous and fraught situation.

It is a great pity that the two main parties in the North cannot reach an accommodation. The fear is, of course, that what will happen next is another general election. In the end, would that solve anything?

I watched on RTÉ TV the full funeral of Martin McGuinness. I got a chance of a lift up and down to the funeral, but did not go because I hate being in big crowds and that would have been the outcome, particularly when one looked at the TV and saw the thousands who marched around the coffin. The whole funeral was almost biblical in its epic proportions, and I am glad that he had such a fitting funeral commemoration.

The outrage in London on Westminster Bridge was dreadful. Particularly in the simplicity of it all. What chance has any group of people when the only weapon used is an ordinary car? And yet the carnage of death that followed reminded me of the Wordsworth poem - Upon Westminster Bridge - which he wrote in September of 1802:

“Earth has not anything to show more fair:

Dull would he be of soul who could pass by

A sight so touching in its majesty”

Of course, William Wordsworth was describing it at dawn, when all else was asleep in the city, and yet the mighty River Thames flowed on and he stood on Westminster Bridge looking at it. It is an innocent scene for anyone walking on that bridge. Little did they think that a car could come and cause such devastation. No city is safe after an episode like that.

Theresa May is set to trigger Brexit with no one knowing what the outcome will be, as no one has yet entered into talks regarding it. We have daily reports on the radio about what it could mean, or should mean, but really no one can know anything until the actual talks between the EU and the UK emerge. People find that the EU is very aware of the importance to Ireland, in particular the importance of the Peace Process, to the whole affair. With that importance in mind, I am glad that Enda Kenny will be there for the beginning of those talks.

We had a lovely, happy, domestic event last Sunday here at home. Each year we remember my dear Enda, now 16 years dead. We have a special Mass for him and invite all the grandchildren and our close friends back home here for talk and food together. Enda never knew any of the grandchildren as the eldest of them is 14 and he is, as I said, more than 16 years dead. But the children are so aware of him because they watch out every year for what they call “Enda’s Party”. So, he is enmeshed in their minds with the idea of a party and fun together, and isn’t that a good thing? That is the way he would love to be remembered.

We all had a really happy day together, and when everyone was gone that night, in my own mind, I was happy too and feeling close to Enda even though he is so long gone. Everyone who comes to it each year knew Enda well and is glad to remember him at this yearly event.

Did you watch the soccer International last Friday night? I sat down to look at it and to enjoy it, apart from the very unnecessary injury which captain Seamus Coleman had to endure – his leg broken in two places by an unwarranted attack upon him. Compared to either GAA or rugby, the game of soccer, to me, always seems so tame. The players appear to just tip the ball from one to another, but of course it is not like that at all. It is a game of great skill and I fully understand that. Ireland are doing very well and will be going on to greater things now that they drew with Wales.

As I write this piece, An Garda Síochána are coming under immense scrutiny. I watched the Garda Commissioner as she was, on Six One News on RTÉ, being interviewed by Brian Dobson. We all have cause for worry if things go wrong in the Gardaí because, of course, every one of us relies on their care and protection which they give so generously all over the country.

I hope the explanations add up and that the present difficulty is resolved. I have never met Nóirín O’Sullivan, but I like the look of her and the talk of her, and I hope that there eventually will be a good outcome to all of the unanswered questions. The whole matter is very disturbing and, as I say, I hope that we will over the next few days and weeks have a satisfactory explanation and outcome to all of it.

We’ll talk again next week.

In the meantime, go safely.

Slán go Fóill,

Mary O’Rourke

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