Imagine Ireland

Let’s look at what changes have been made in Ireland due to Covid19. What do you think of the changes? Can you live with them? Are there any benefits?

Over the coming months I plan to explore these changes. First to acknowledge them individually and at a later date, delve into the bigger picture of each one. I think it’d be good to consider if any of them have a place in Irish society after Covid19?

Who could have imagined these changes in Ireland :

Theresa O’Donohoe

29 March 2020

For a peek inside a transition vision here is my vision for a Transition Town in 2025:

I live in a town with two bakeries, a brewery, a dairy co-op, flour mill, a butcher, soap maker, technology company and numerous other businesses. We have a community farm out by the allotments. I work 4 days at CESC, the Community, Enterprise and Social Centre, so I don’t have time to grow enough food for home. I pay a set price to the dairy farm every week then I email an order for fresh eggs, cheese, yogurt and butter. I pick up my vegetables whenever I need them from the farm or in their stall at the shop. I usually get to the market in town each week. With so many people working from home, or on 4 day weeks, there’s a good buzz there on Friday.

The town is powered by the solar panels on all the roofs, 3 hydro systems on the waterways, anaerobic digesters at each farm and the wind turbine behind the GAA pitches. Due to the growing export market the towns energy co-op is looking for 2 more engineers and a project manager to assess our capacity for expansion. My daughter hopes to get a job there now that she’s qualified. My youngest is an apprentice at the joinery and my eldest son works in the community bank. I hear all the news from the primary school as my eldest daughter teaches 3rd class. The children learn in a way that suits them best so this term maths is being taught through football. Age Action meet them at the community garden once a week to share skills and stories.

The repair cafe is usually hosted by the Men’s Shed and the whole community gathers with their fixer uppers for a cup of tea. We got my radio working last week and fixed 2 bicycles for the youth club. When the pandemic struck 5 years ago we learned a lot. We found out how much we relied on imports for most of our food and energy. We realised we were more productive working for less hours and lots of our work could be done at home. We learned that we can’t live without the arts. We learned that privatising essential services doesn’t work. Being at home and caring for others all day isn’t as easy as many people think. The people we relied on most during that time had been taken for granted for years. We realised that we had lost our way and made sure not to return to business as usual. Our communities have become stronger and more resilient since.

Our response to Covid-19 can help us imagine and create a better society, one built on principles of community resilience and public participation. These are principles close to the heart of what An Taisce is about and this was part of a post I had published on their website.

I am reminded of my poem about Gleninagh Church. As I sat in the graveyard, on a beautiful sunny day, I imagined what life was like for the parishioners.


Gleninagh Church