2001-03-31 / Columnists

Meet The Irish by Harry McGuirk

Smugglers are said to be responsible for the crisis of foot and mouth disease, which is terrifying Ireland. Thousands of animals are being slaughtered and burned like a holocaust. A great portion of the animal victims do not have the disease. There is great fear in the land of "forty shades of green." There are tears not only in the country farms but also in the town lands. The plague can drop on anyone’s doorstep. It is a worse dilemma for the UK, which has brought out its army to burn and drop carcasses into huge craters. Some of the pits are unused airports left over from the war.

I made a tour of some of Dublin’s best-known hotels and found myself in the biggest one with just two other people who I didn’t know. It looks like it is going to be a lean season for visitors. Expensive restaurants may as well hang in the best way they can (great chefs don’t come cheap). No one can forecast what is going to happen next. Will a million killed beasts be enough?

In this town of Dublin, which is being returned to its former beauty and glory from liberal Sean O’Casey’s plays about the horror of horrors of slums and cattle boats, which were overcrowded fleeing to England, Scotland and Wales. When people are prepared to go to jail for stealing visitors baggage; and the stock exchanges are rocking and rolling; and the lousy weather, it’s not going to be a good season.

"Babes In Arms"—It has come to pass lately that school children have taken matters into their own hands. Thousands of young scholars have gathered around Ireland shouting slogans demanding justice for "school goers." It’s kind of like a tiny tot revolution from Dail Eirean to County Council meetings. The "garda" were seen lifting away kids who would not move themselves off the roads.

It’s going to be difficult some say. Who’s going to handle the tiny tots of the future even if they get holy days off? The question is, should teachers around the world get the same pay and equity as cops, firemen, and other civil servants? Teachers are already on strike and it is reported that the kids were applauded by motorists’ moms and dads.

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