Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?

They say that the concept of Christmas lights emanated from the location of the season in the darkest time of the year. When the days are the shortest, when even the light from the stars is covered by the dark clouds, creating a big dark curtain over the world and allowing our weary eyes respite from the bright summer sun.

On Sunday we turned the corner with the shortest day of the year. Now, every evening, however so slight it may be, there is a lengthening of the day. The darkness does not totally envelop us until a few minutes later each day. And the turning of the seasons reflects the mood at the moment. Yes, it has been a gloomy time. No business has been unaffected by the downturn in the economy. However, we should not allow this downturn in the economy to create a downturn in our confidence.

These are indeed unprecedented times. Institutions which were deemed unsinkable have sailed into icebergs of uncertainty. Experts whose advice we’d have accepted without question in the past are now treated with disdain. Government is seen as inept and incompetent. There is no job that is seen as permanent or secure. Even the permanent pensionable ones in the civil service are eyed enviously and that citadel of invincibility may soon be pierced given the times we live in and given our growing intolerance for accepting the status quo. That drive was exemplified by the desire of our senior citizens to stand up for what they had worked for and force down the Government into an embarrassing U-turn.

The doom and gloom merchants predict that no matter how bad it is now, come January, February and March, it will be much worse. But will it? And should we allow it.

And it is from that generation that the rest of us should take the lead in turning this country around. The start of each year carries with it an impetus — an energy that detonates to allow us to aspire to different things. Normally, these take the shape of resolutions that disappear with the sight of the first chocolate eclair.

Let us have the confidence to face down the consequences of the recession.

The last time there was a recession in this country, we knew no better. We could not envisage that there would ever be a way out of it that did not involve Holyhead and the boat. We knew no better. Then we had not even tasted cappuccinos and lattes.To us then panini was an Italian left back, fettucine was an opera singer.

Now we know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how many months it can take us to get there. And when we do reach there, we will never be as gullible again. It will be an interesting and defining year for us all.

• Finally, on behalf of the management and staff of the Galway Advertiser and Galway First newspapers, we wish you a very happy and fulfiling Christmas. We thank you for your loyalty and for allowing us the opportunity to inform, entertain, and occasionally infuriate you over the past year, not only here but in our newspapers in Kilkenny, Carlow, Athlone, Mullingar, and Mayo. We thank you too for your comments, both for and against our commitment to allow as many diverse voices as possible to be heard through our pages. As the Galway Advertiser enters its 40th year next April, we look forward to serving you again in 2009 and remaining your favourite newspaper.

Thar cheann an Galway Advertiser gach dea ghuí i gcomhair na nollag agus na hathbhliana.

declan varley [email protected]

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