Éist! – what kind of Society do we want?

drawing by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

What is more important? – that we resolve this economic mess that the speculators and their political cronies have got us into – or that we look after each other and try to live good and worthwhile lives?  I’m sick of the cutbacks, the broken promises, the unkindness, I’m sick of it.

Now I’m not going to make a big rant here (although you know I could) but it wouldn’t help me, I’d just get all riled up, and that wouldn’t help anyone. But I’ve two things on my mind today so here goes.

First, to quote from Jeanette Winterson in The Guardian: There is more to life than the material world can provide, and art is a clue, an intimation, at its best, a transformation. We don’t need to believe in it, but we can experience it. The experience suggests that the monolith of corporate culture is only a partial reality.  In other words – isn’t there more to life than balancing the books. But day in and day out we hear about the state of the economy, the need for cutbacks, the sacrifices we have to make…  I really believe that Irish society will be the poorer if we keep cutting funding to the Arts. In the Celtic Tiger years, we built the infrastructure, we built fancy new art centres all over the place. Now, by denying them funding, they are being left empty. What a waste! See more about “What art is for” at

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2002/nov/25/art.artsfeatures1

Secondly, I’m talking about Irish culture and, in particular, the Irish language. You might’ve heard that the Coimisinéir Teanga Seán Ó Cuirreáin (the Language Ombudsman) resigned in protest recently because of the lack of political support for his efforts. You guessed it – severe cutbacks in the Irish language sector too. Read a good article by Seán Mag Leannáin about this at

http://www.thejournal.ie/readme/irish-gaeilge-native-language-loss-1291938-Feb2014/

Anyway, there’s going to be a major demonstration in support of the Irish language in Dublin on Saturday, the 15th of February (see Lá Mór na Gaeilge).  It will begin at the Garden of Remembrance at 2pm and there’ll be lots of music and craic.

Bígí linn, for goodness sake, Bígí linn! Or don’t you think that there’s more to life than balancing the books? So my question for you today is: What kind of society do you want?

PS: The image above is one of the pieces from my upcoming solo exhibition:  Dídean/Home, in Port Laoise in March/April 2014. More about that later.

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