Saturday night saw the passing from this life of Pope John Paul. An event touching so many across the world with compassionate grief and remembrance. The news of the death was met across the world and in Ireland by Taoiseach Ahern with there’ll be no day off for the Irish people.
The Taoiseach’s remarks backed by the businesses of Ireland have been met angrily by political opposition and public opinion polls. Giving the citizens of Ireland a day-off for remembrance was a precedent set upon the horrific events of 9/11. The cynical mind would suggest with such large US investment in Ireland that this was the motivation behind the national day of mourning back then – if only there was substantial Polish investment we might see a recurrence? For me, the Pope’s passing was yet another land mark event in my life. Not being the most devout of Catholics but still appreciating that a great life and a great presence had passed from this world regardless of any would-be associations throughout the life of John Paul. Radio, TV and newspaper polls are ringing through urging the Taoiseach to change his mind on the day of mourning – business is steadfast against it. When did we become so horribly capitalist in our attitudes to life that we can no longer appreciate the sense of loss and collective grief surely felt by many on this island? I’m not saying that everyone is effected by it but the government still forces no alcohol on Good Friday, amongst many other religiously founded rules. Why not a day of mourning for the leader of the strongest faith in Irish society? When did business run people rather than people run business?