‘A new window into the decade ahead, a chance for a fresh start’

December 30th, 2020 10:05 PM

Dr Tara Shine

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Ray Murnane, Bantry, who was left partially paralysed following a motorbike accident at age 45

I would like to see more people have access to swimming and other activities like cycling. Not just the infrastructure to allow for this, but that we raise our consciousness about getting people to these places and activities. 

So, for example, I can’t access the water where there are steps – I would like to get rid of steps, both physical steps and psychological steps. I think we need to start looking at each other in a genuine and honest way. 

I am surrounded by support, but what about people who on their own?

West Cork is so beautiful. Everybody should have access to everything that it has to offer, be they from the travelling community, another culture, another religion, our artist community. Nobody is as fortunate as us, to live where we live. We carry ourselves in a certain way. Let’s elevate that a bit and make this place accessible to everybody, not just one kind of body. 

We might be able-bodied now, but that could change at any time. We are, after all, at the mercy of what we create.

Dr Tara Shine, Kinsale, environmental campaigner and activist

MY wish for 2021 is that we learn lessons from 2020 and use them to shape a better 2021. We reconnected with our communities, with our families and with nature in 2020, and that is something to carry into the years ahead.  We also learned that rules can be broken and that anything is possible – that should free our minds to imagine a better society for us all to live in, with clean air, connected communities and opportunities for all.  So 2021 is a new window into the decade ahead, a fresh start and a chance to prioritise what is important to us in terms of our wellbeing and quality of life and a chance to find a new, more sustainable way of living on planet earth.


Steve Redmond, Ballydehob, open water endurance swimmer

I couch basketball, and I am chairman of Skibbereen Eagles club and my two kids play. I want to see the young players back on the court. 

We got two games played this year with the under 18 boys and then it closed down on us.

You miss it so much, the training, the preparation and looking forward to playing games. It’s what I do in the winter, when I don’t swim so much. I feel very sorry for the young guys – the sports centre has been closed, they couldn’t use it. It is like an actual pain, not to see any basketball or watch it live, it’s an indoor sport and that’s the problem.

Skibbereen Eagles had the second biggest membership in Cork, but this year has decimated it. We are going to have to start letting the young guys play again, they really need it.


Alicia Joy O’Sullivan, Skibbereen, college student and climate change activist

I would like to see more compassion for ourselves and each other.

On the one hand, we have seen much kindness, strength and bravery in 2020.

We’ve seen people value having more time with their family and making the most of what we have and who we are with. On the other hand, we have seen true ugliness in humanity. We have seen those who contracted Covid-19 shamed. We have seen the selfishness of some people who believe the regulations don’t apply to them. 

I hope we can all leave 2020 with increased levels of appreciation for our family, friends, and neighbours. There are so many things in life right now that we cannot control. Let’s focus on how we react to the challenges that life throws at us.


Rachael O’Donovan, Glandore music teacher whose lockdown videos went viral 

In 2021 I would love to expand on my musical performances. One thing that I have really missed is the feeling that I get from playing to a live audience. 

It is a wonderful experience to see people’s reactions when they listen to you playing music and I cannot wait to experience it again. A few different names in the music industry have been in contact with me about possible future performances, which would be amazing.

I am investing in some new equipment for both recording and performing that I think could revolutionise the way I play the piano – I am very excited about it, but I do not want to give away too much yet! 

It has been amazing to get messages from so many people on social media saying that my music during lockdown has either put a smile on their face when they were having a bad day, or it is something they look forward to hearing – that makes it all more worthwhile for me!

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