Symbolic Fight Against Snowfall Sadly Symbolic

Sligo – As winter in typically unsporting fashion kicks the country while it’s down from taking a combination of economic bankruptcy and Fianna Fáil in the balls, neighbourhoods have come together to clear roads and driveways, help each other fetch goods from the shop, and work as a community to protect our nation from the harsh cruel world, thus offering Ireland a heart-warming symbol of what we might be able to achieve – symbolically.

Local man Dan O'Callaghan sets about the Sisyphean task with the hope that his shovel can make a difference.

Local man Dan O'Callaghan sets about the Sisyphean task with the hope that his shovel can make a difference.

Nowhere has this futile patriotic spirit of symbolic action manifested itself more clearly than in the town of Tubbercurry in Co. Sligo, a dimly flickering example of how little can be achieved by grassroots community action in a time of national crisis.

Local man Dan O’Callaghan (39), a former software engineer who has been unemployed since January 2009, said the snowfall had really shown him the spirit of togetherness in the face of hardship.

“When I looked out the window yesterday morning and saw banks of snow rising up like the mountainous tsunami of national debt left us by Fianna Fáil’s bank guarantee, I could only feel despair,” said O’Callaghan, a keen reader of the poetry of Yeats.

“But then didn’t I see Jimmy Sweeney across the road come out into the blizzard with a shovel and just get down and start shovelling, and I thought to myself, ‘that’s the spirit of O’Leary’s Ireland!’ So I grabbed my shovel and went out there to give him a hand.”

Tubbercurry parents, after looking at their bank accounts, told children the snow was Santa's Christmas present this year.

Tubbercurry parents, after looking at their bank accounts, told children the snow was Santa's Christmas present this year.

Soon a dozen neighbours had appeared, armed with traditional farming implements, ready to do battle against the harsh elements.

“God, we made short work of the snow in Jimmy Sweeney’s driveway,” said O’Callaghan proudly. “Then we went down the street, clearing out everyone’s driveway. Twasn’t long before we had them all cleared.”

“The funny thing was, it felt for a moment like we were doing somethin’ positive for the country, really attacking our problems as a community and getting in there and getting something done,” he said, while his neighbours nodded in agreement, all united by that strangely symbolic glow that the nation’s problems could be tackled by local action, just like the Tubbercurry snowfall.

“Of course, €85 billion euros would need an awful lot of shovelling!” said local wag Micky Fennessy, to the rapidly fading amusement of the other men, who realised that it would actually take an awful lot of shovelling, a thought that slowly drained the smiles from their faces.

Jimmy Sweeney begins to realise the scale of the task facing Tubbercurry, nation.

Jimmy Sweeney begins to realise the scale of the task facing Tubbercurry, nation.

“How many kilos of money would that be now?” asked John-joe Whelan, leaning tiredly on his shovel amid the ever-falling snowflakes. “If we said it was all in €20 notes?”

“Jayz, I don’t know,” replied Jimmy Sweeney, scowling. “T’wud be fair heavy now, I’d say. ‘Tid be as if it snowed like this for a month without us doing anything about it, and then trying to dig ourselves out.”

They looked around with increasing hopelessness at the snow rapidly filling the recently cleared driveways like the 5.8% interest rate endlessly renewing the Irish national debt.

“Should we clean them out again?” asked O’Callaghan, trying to sound enthused by the Sisyphean task.

“Why?” asked Henry Tompkins gloomily. “Sure there’s nowhere to drive to anyway. The next street is all snowed over and the main road is totally impassable. The most we could do is drive up and down the street, and sure we could walk that.”

From the comfort of his ministerial Mercedes, Biffo praised the public service of those keeping his road clear.

From the comfort of his ministerial Mercedes, Biffo praised the public service of those keeping his road clear.

The men lapsed into silence.

On the radio came an announcement by Taoiseach Biffo. “I would like to commend the public-spirited efforts of all those keeping our nations roads clear in tough conditions,” said Biffo, whose own public spirited efforts involve steering the nation into bankruptcy while showing a complete disregard for the democratic will of the people. “It is at times like these that the true sense of public service shines through. I believe it is important that these efforts are acknowledged,” said Biffo with breathtaking hypocrisy from the snug comfort of his taxpayer-paid Mercedes-Benz.

With that, the men threw their shovels down in disgust and went back inside, as snow continued to swallow up the countryside, turning all our once green fields white.

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