Post corona ... what should it look like

I have touched on some of this thinking in the Education thread …

I personally believe that the Sacred Heart lamp in the hall for those growing up in the 60s/70s/80s - and long before - has now, in the roaring 20s (and what a fcukin roar this year is!) been replaced by the one and only global God …money. And long before 2020 too.

Our whole social, political and economic existence is now guided by money. You bloody genius I hear you say … that was always the way. But it wasn’t. It was never solely a question of money that guided Govt policy on all matters … but as the late Kenneth Wolstenholme said … it is now.

Another thread mentioned airlines and in particular Aer Lingus. Once a jewel in our crown but now privatised - and doing quite well … until this virus. But it was somewhat understandably privatised as it was haemorrhaging money - the same as many other State/semiState bodies … due to lack of accountability, bad practices and basically no real consequence for poor governance.

This is a real issue with our infrastructure as such. If it’s essential you can’t really privatise it (see electricity, health and yup …water) - therefore often having to endure ridiculously high cost bases, bad practice and an uneconomic service. But if you can offload the ‘loss’ then Government policy has consistently been to get shut of it - get rid of the headache, let the private sector smash the eggs, take the heat and ultimately, make the profit.etc.

It’s part of what we are …

Governments have been unwilling and/or unable or have lacked the political stomach to reform key services, choosing instead to offload and sometimes retain a shareholding. That’s politics. If the problem can be offloaded, then …

Take our roads - no take them - but not beyond 2km. But here have been massive improvements in my lifetime - EU money and latterly our own. The M50 (mainly) and some others, are gold mines. What do we do? Flog their maintenance/management to private companies who then go on to cream it. Why would the State not manage an asset - a vital piece of infrastructure - that more than pays for itself. It makes no sense.

Take NAMA. We pay ultra billions and end up with a massive portfolio of gold, silver, bronze … and shite. What is the key criteria for disposal? Money - pure and simple - money. Our little country had become so corrupt that NAMAs remit was basically to ‘maximise the return to the taxpayer’.

Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to say of a site in Blanchardstown or Rathfarnham that ‘yes we can sell it for €16m but if it is given to the local GAA/soccer/rugby/sports club then the return will be multiples of €16m’ … but it never happened. John Costello was blue in the face looking for some kind of weighting for social capital. We still don’t have any such thing. Absolutely no value, no worth, no sense of the real benefits of certain investments. The real social dividend. The dividend that builds communities, cohesion, solidarity and physical and mental wellbeing. Well its only 2020 I suppose.

Surely we can move past Key Performance Indicators and the likes? If the government gives €1m towards mental health we should not have an official in the background looking to see how that returned €1.01m or better. Surely we can weight investment in terms of the societal good it does. Surely we can invest in people and communities. Never mind people before profit - it should be people before everything.

This bast*rd of a virus has taught us quite a few things - mortality probably first. Family. What we really need. What’s important. What matters. If we don’t change now it will never happen.

We can’t come out the other side of this catastrophe without real change. Let’s start valuing people, communities. Let’s value life. Together.

Post corona should be a whole lot better - but that is down to everyone.

So what should it look like?

13 Likes

Great post a Chara, I’m going to bed, but, I’ll respond to you amárach. Óiche mhaith.

Before Corona:

After Corona:

3 Likes

I do believe some positives will come from this.
One that comes to mind is that I know of some people (particularly elderly) who hadn’t seen eye-to-eye with some relatives and former friends who, out of genuine concern for one another, got in contact again and have become closer than before.
I am hoping that a more caring society will emerge, also.
Pollution levels have fallen. Maybe the penny might drop with some climate-change sceptics. I know it won’t for all, sadly.

5 Likes

I have a war’n’ peace reply to this in mind, but don’t have the time at the moment. Will try later

I have long since argued largely unsuccessfully that we live in a society not an economy. It becomes frightening when that stones Brendan Ogle is in agreement

I do see long term benefits on the demographics of the country, hopefully our kids might be able to afford to live in Dublin if they choose to
Remote working will hopefully lessen the ongoing centralisation of Ireland.
But that’s a 10 year view
Short term I see nothing positive, a lot of doors closed nationally that will never reopen
A health system that is even more dysfunctional, a social welfare state,
I’ll stop before I depress myself and everyone else even more

1 Like

No doubt, the negatives far outweigh the positives, especially in the short term.

Smashing idea for a thread Dub but too tired!

They certainly need more park’n’ride plus rail link to Navan. Airport cannot be ignored either. What to do?

I haven’t clicked on that link @Iomaint, but it looks contradictory on the headline and the tag.
“NBRU calls for … plans to be shelvee”.
“A union rep … has written … calling for radical changes”.

They want bus-connex shelved and other plans extended. There is some sense in what they say.

I think it will go one of two ways and I’ll use the aviation sector as a part example. Post virus, big business will just get bigger through amalgamations. Those with large capital bases will endure the next few years by streamlining their cost base and when consumer demand eventually returns you will be left with just Ryanair, Easyjet, IAG, Lufthansa and AF/KLM. Others, some already in a mess will not survive without government bailouts. €20 flights will be the norm at the start as a means to try get people flying again but when competition goes and demand returns the era of low cost flights may end.

On the flip side, the world may become more local both from a community and business perspective. If people still want local business, clubs, amenities and a town centre at the end of this they need to support local by buying their products and availing of their services if they are in a position to.

A move to more local perspective for large business will be key to this in my opinion but I’ve doubts it will occur. Globalised capitalism has basically failed during this crises. The vast links and inter dependencies have crashed the global economy in a manner not seen since wartime. It has literally been the analogy of a butterfly flapping its wings leading to a hurricane through cause and affect.

How will these companies react, will they go the airline route of dog eat dog or will they move their supply chains closer to their markets to minimise risk? One will see some wealth redistribution but the other is status quo. My guess is some goods will have to be made closer to home, how much I dont know.

Regardless, in an age of digital living, and minimal human contact I hope humanity is restored at the end of this. Human history is littered with disaster after disaster but it’s our communal nature that gets us though it.

3 Likes

it would be nice if it was a whole lot better, but it wont be.

a lot of the items you mention happened as a result of a fad in off balance sheet spending, in the belief that the government should be small and in the belief that private enterprise is the answer to things. so, the state pays for infrastructure in terms of capital outlays which the private sector cannot come up with, but then gives the infrastructure to the private sector to run in exchange for a gradual return which, apparently, covers its costs. Except it never does, because of upgrades, and the private contractor is allowed to keep making profit from it well after the reason for it being there has been achieved. When private companies too big to fail, fail, they get bailed out by the state, when people fail, they are not (unless you have some “importance”)

Covid19 has not changed this one bit. Today in the UK manual workers are going back to work. In a handy twist in the interpretation of “Working from home”, two months ago if you could not work from home the state paid for you if you couldnt come into work. Now, the state isnt and you are expected to work unless you can from home. Fittingly, Nannies, Housemaids and Cleaners are allowed to work again. The UK has had several weeks of press coverage talking about “furlough addiction”, and comments sections/social media is suddenly filling with bots giving out about people sitting on their arses getting well paid for doing nothing. MP’s were lining up to back this line of thought and then, a few weeks later, we have the chaos and stupidity which is happening (officially) today over there.

The same here, of course. For three weeks now, starting the week leading up to the bank holiday weekend, there was a sudden concentration of the media minds on the economy. We had commentators and experts who, starting with quiet grumbling, built things up nicely to a crescendo in the run up to the suspected government meeting to relax the lockdown. So we had people saying things like “the HSE and their experts shouldn’t be straying into economic policy” and how the Government is supposed to govern, and not be merely kowtowing to the advise of Tony Hollohan. There were also the first mouthing offs from TD’s, frustrated at their lack of power and attacking the public health authorities with their pesky concerns on public health, as opposed to the publicans health. There were also plenty of leaks to the effect that there was “conflict” between the HSE and the government (mirroring the UK in fact) between those who cared more about you living or dying and those who care more about you working and paying your taxes. Even if there wasnt any such conflict (there was) the point of the leak was to assure people that the government was worried about your pocket as much as your granny’s health, and we got a relaxation of the lockdown which was decided by politics and not expert advice.

And, even then, it wasnt enough, as irish media has been obsessed with pubs and hairdressers, and so have the TD’s as they follow the lead. Sure we’ve flattened this thing, put on your masks and get the ■■■■ out to work. There you go, I even mentioned the M word.

So, now, in the absence of a vaccine, or even a widely available anti-viral, we are being urged, slight nudge here, and there, to get back to work. That doesnt auger well for some post pandemic happy time. You may also have noticed the drip drip slowly starting in the media to the effect that we are in for massive austerity to pay for all of this, not in fact, what Leo et all actually promised at its start. Keep an eye on that because it isnt being leaked and hinted at for nothing.

1 Like

I can see logic in some of the things suggested.
I don’t think an underground link between Connolly and Heuston is need now, however. The Luas serves that purpose. An underground link wouldn’t shorten the journey time significantly, in my opinion, to be viable.
I would also be wary of NRBU’s track record with new initiatives. I am sure that once everything is in place with all of the new infrastructure, they’d go looking for pay rises for their members in order to drive trains and buses, etc on new routes.

DART underground does much more than what the Luas does, though. It was literally ready to go, but was cancelled so the few millions that it was going to cost in 2015 and 2016 could be diverted into the election warchest. The actually waited till the final weeks before work had to start (in fact it had already started) to pull the plug, and did so on a very obviously made up basis (on where the tunnel should come out in inchicore). Everyone agreed it was the best solution for many of the cities (and the GDR) public transport problems.

Luas to Finglas and onto the Airport

Surely a Dart line branch off to the airport would cost more and have a worse effect on traffic etc than a luas line.

1 Like

DART branch wouldn’t work with the existing two tracks into connolly, which is where the extra DART trains from the airport would have to go (unless you change at Clongriffin :astonished:).

OTOH, DART takes a lot more than Luas, or the Metro. I should point out that what the Metro to the Airport is, is a slightly bigger Luas tram, and not an actual Metro. In other cities a DART train wold be a Metro.

1 Like

The DART spur at Clongriffin would work if Northern Commuter trains were diverted away from Connolly to Docklands Station. Clongriffin would become a much busier station as an interchange but they have already built the platform capacity there to handle it.

The downside of the above is the Northern Commuter line terminating at Docklands is not feasible without another Liffey crossing to connect to Tara or Pearse, preferably both. I think the idea then was that underground connector would extend to Hueston to join the networks.

In my view I think Luas extensions to the likes of Finglas and Ballymun can look after the Metro issue for the North City. Swords is the obvious issue where hard rail is concerned even though it has a good bus network via the M1 and Tunnel.

Both options, second rail line across the Liffey and Metro, are expensive and it’s probably one or the other and the political will seems to favour Metro. But in my view, i’d fix our working, albeit ailing Victorian infrastructure first before building a Metro. Not having another line across the city some 120 years after the current one is a joke.

most of the northern trains dont terminate in connolly anyway (apart from Enterprise), and the problem bit is between Howth Junction and Fairview DART depot. in there you have to cram all of the DART, Northern line commuter and Enterprise. In theory, you can simply divert some of the existing DART’s or Northern Commuter to the airport but that has severe knock on effects.

The DART underground was supposed to come up at docklands, but it served a re figured DART network (line from Naas was to go north, line from Greystones was to go to Maynooth)

The Naas/Northern line DART would eliminate the Diesel Commuter train need and so you can easily divert enough to run an airport spur. This line was the one that would have run under the city centre, joined up with the Luas at Stephens green, go to Heuston to link up with the rail services there, link with the other DART line at Tara Street… it sorted a lot of issues.