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There is always light to be found in nature

May 7th, 2022 3:10 PM

By Southern Star Team

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EDITOR – This year’s Darkness into Light event has a special resonance, coming as it does after the long months of lockdown and the recent weeks of living hell unleashed by a greedy dictator.

And that’s without even mentioning the climate emergency, rising fuel costs, debt concerns, and the countless other slings and arrows that seem contrived to keep our hearts heavy and the smiles off our faces.

There are so many reasons to be downright miserable, depressed, and yes, suicidal ... as we make this often rocky, sometimes hazardous, and occasionally frightening journey across time and space.

But I say it’s still worth staying the course. No matter how desperate or overwhelming the odds appear, we mustn’t lose hope.

I found the early days of lockdown oppressive and almost unbearable. It was straight out of a dystopian novel about a futuristic society where life was just not worth living.  Sometimes it felt like being under house arrest, or confined to an open prison.

Except that life IS, I believe, worth living. A week or so into lockdown I found that walks in the countryside, even if restricted to 2km could be uplifting and therapeutic.

Like many others, I rediscovered aspects of nature I’d forgotten about or blithely taken for granted.

Padraig Pearse in his poem The Wayfarer eulogised about seeing a squirrel in a tree, butterflies, and rabbits playing in a sunlit meadow.

When I first read the poem in primary school it meant nothing to me. I just wanted the class to end so I could get home. But lockdown recalled for me its emotional homage to nature. Breathing the clean country air during lockdown seemed a privilege.

We couldn’t travel very far, or go to the pub, but we could re-connect with Mother Earth. So, lockdown had its upside, once you began to cope with it.

Some problems that people face are not so easily resolved, but equally we know that almost every problem, however scary or devastating it might appear, can be solved, or shared, or avoided ... especially if we seek help with it.

The reminder we hear so often from voluntary groups to ‘pick up the phone’ is the best advice going, because it’s true that there’s always someone out there who can help turn things around.

A great case for avoiding suicide, I believe, is the fact that, according to research, almost every person who’s survived a suicidal attempt and had a Near Death Experience (NDE) was relieved that the attempt failed.

Some of them believed that a loved one on the ‘Other Side’ had encouraged them to give life a chance.

Whatever one’s religious belief or lack of it, I think it’s interesting that survivors of suicide invariably give the thumbs up to living, despite the often distressing or seemingly insoluble issues that led to the suicide attempt.

Sure, the world is full of horrors and dark clouds can obscure the minds and pathways of any human being, but there’s hope too; helping hands ... support available by just reaching out.

It doesn’t have to be darkness for any of us, no matter how daunting the hand of cards that life has dealt us.

So, before contemplating or taking that final step, why not talk to someone?  There’s light, too, in abundance, and relief, and rainbows in the sky, and solutions that maybe we hadn’t thought of. Always.

John Fitzgerald,

Callan, Co Kilkenny.


Working from home or from remote locations has its limitations

EDITOR – There is justification for opposition to the Right to Request Remote Work Bill 2021 given the poor administrative reliability it can create.

The business of checking a few emails in the morning and heading away for the rest of the day is nonsense and will bring down any business in no time. Not to mention the country if it becomes too pervasive.

This problem is beginning to grow since the practice of working from home has come in. Since new working arrangements have come in during the Covid era, a noticeable gap is all too evident in follow up emails or phone calls not being replied to as efficiently as it would in an office environment.

And often with no supervisory backup leading to long costly delays — especially with junior front line staff who cannot make decisions on their own if things go wrong.

In addition there’s the very popular excuse of ‘I am only working from home here’ to deflect responsibility. Having some people work in the office and others at liberty to stay at home or other remote locations can undoubtedly lead to difficulties for clients and customers.

Working from home is not an answer to the increasing volume of work/lifestyle complaints either and we need to nip this in the bud because there will be significant conflicts of interest involved. Good and reliable administration makes sure that people are kept at the best performance and know what is going on in the office minute by minute, rather than relying on their laptops, desktops, or tablets for emails and time consuming webinars — for what could be redundant in an hour’s time.

It is of course possible for people to work at home, but where are the checks and balances, should someone decide that now is not the time to deal with something even though it is pressing?

There are none, especially if executives have not heard from junior staff because they have gone out for a bit.

Or executives themselves are guilty of the convenience of just leaving it for now and getting back to it when it suits them, when out of the office. This country will make no progress whatsoever unless its administration is good, reliable and accountable.

You can put all the money you want into something, but if a good administration is not behind it, it will eventually decline and decay to nothing other than bad reviews.

Working from home or other remote locations has its limitations and could lead to laziness, sloth, chronic inefficiency, and absenteeism if it is not very strictly supervised and controlled. The new normal could become very abnormal and detrimental when it comes to novel work arrangements.

Maurice Fitzgerald,



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