The spirit of Daly and Davitt still lives on in Mayo

by Auld Stock

TIMES are tough, and will probably get a great deal tougher.

However, hard times generally bring out the best in people.

Historians tell us that, when plagues and pestilence made their appearance, good times followed.

The Bubonic Plague, the Great Fire of London and the Spanish Flu were all earth-shattering events which resulted in the deaths of millions of people.

And they occurred when medical facilities were non-existent, sanitary equipment unheard of and communications were of the most obscure kind.

During the Great Famine one million Irish people perished.

The people of Mayo, browbeaten and evicted in their thousands, were thrown to the wind and the weather.

Even when they cobbled together the fare to go to America, their suffering wasn’t over.

Many passed away and were thrown overboard to a watery grave.

However, those who survived the crossing were hardy souls. Paddy Reilly sings of their trials and tribulation in that stirring ballad, ‘The Fields of Athenry’.

Those turbulent times are a far cry from 21st century Ireland.

Our health system has its failings but the frontline workers, doctors, nurses, porters, cleaners and cooks are the real patriots of our time; it should not have taken the coronavirus to bring their work and dedication to the attention of the authorities.

The virus is still rocking our nation, striking at young and old.

However, this is a time when the people of our country must stick together, show a sense of unity and purpose and live up to our slogan, ‘You’ll never beat the Irish’.

In the darkest of days, when all seemed lost and our backs were against the wall, we fought back and repelled the enemy.

Today our weapons don’t carry bombs nor bullets.

They are simple deterrents like regular hand washing, keeping a reasonable distance between ourselves and our friends, staying way from large crowds. Casual enough stuff but sufficiently effective to snuff out the enemy.

The people of Mayo, as so often in the past, are leading the way. The spirit of Davitt and Daly, two great patriots in the past, is alive and well in our county where the figures for the incidence of the virus are quite low.

I saw Frank Chambers from Newport, a former member of Mayo County Council, on RTE and he displayed a deal of common sense when he spoke about Covid-19.

This is not the time to slacken our efforts or take matters for granted.

The battle still rages.

We are confident the people of our county will never show the white feather and display their steel-like qualities . . . like ‘the boys from the County Mayo’.

That’s the kind of spirit we now need.

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