Because of a selfish few we are now all at risk in Tipperary


Billy O'Riordan


Billy O'Riordan

Because of a selfish few we are now all at risk in Tipperary

The old town walls of Clonmel and Old Saint Mary’s after the recent snowfall

It was a perfect dovetailing of events for Clonmel’s children. Rare happenings which we could only dream of as young children. I refer of course to the recent snowfall which coincided with school being cancelled for the younger folk of the town and county.

The gentle white fluffy powder did more than cover our mountain tops and rooftops with a bright blanket of snow, it did much more. It distracted us all for a brief few hour from the ravages of COVID-19, going on all around us. Children and adults alike came out to peer at nature’s surprise, with others staying inside glued to radio reports of ‘treacherous roads’ with advice to avoid such and such place. The kids up my end of town were out in force – snow is the only thing which can take ‘em away from their play stations and phone – determined to make the most of it. My driveway was “raided” many times for fresh snow. One child telling me with a trace of annoyance in his voice that his competitors were, “using bags to hoard the snow”. 

Our recent snowfall was a much needed, short lived source of distraction and within no time, we were back to talking about Covid again. Yes, it seems that some people had such a great Christmas that they almost killed us all. For one reason or another, some people could not stick to some basic rules and now we are all at risk.

At the time of writing, the numbers of Covid cases are growing exponentially with our health workers working flat out to keep our hospital services functioning. For many, this Covid pandemic is an abstract thing, something happening out there, somewhere else. Be assured that the pandemic is having a direct impact on the citizens of south Tipperary in numerous ways. We see for ourselves the economic impact that it is having on our town of Clonmel. The unseen effect is in the hospital and care home settings, as well as in the private homes of the sick and the vulnerable.

Fear not everyone because the vaccine is on its way. Just like in the old westerns the cavalry would ride in to save the settlers, who were usually surrounded by disgruntled (rightly so) natives. Our Minister was filmed on RTE beaming from ear to ear standing beside a fridge full of the life savers. Now maybe I am wrong, but instead of admiring the vaccines in those lovely new fridges and taking photographs next to the fridges, wouldn’t it be in all our interests if they – instead of looking at the vaccines – decided to send trucks to the four corners of Ireland, inject us all, thus enabling us to get on with our lives. Just a thought.

Something occurred to me as I walked around town lately, that is, people have become slightly fearful again. There is a slight hesitancy as you greet people followed by a look which indicates, I am going to “keep moving”. I observed this characteristic in people at the height of the first lockdown and it is understandable given the recent surge in cases, that people are more guarded around other people. I am in the “At Risk” group so I completely understand the need for people to be vigilant and cautious. On this point of social distancing, I have a unique system of communicating with my next-door neighbour. You see, during a storm last winter one of our boundary fences blew over so we decided to leave it down. So, if I want to chat to him, we text each other and appear in the back garden. I speak to Tom while standing in my own garden and him likewise. When we are vaccinated the fence will go back up. 


My uncle Larry passed away in recent days. Larry was very close to my father (Billy Snr) with Dad playing the piano and Larry doing the singing. We are most upset to lose two close relatives in such a short space of time. Larry was a very talented singer, quick witted and a true gentleman. We spent many a Christmas night listening to Larry singing around the piano, entertaining us all young and old alike. All our thoughts are with Helen, Rhona, Dara, Jim, and Gregg.

Rest in peace, Larry.