So I may get some backlash from this statement but I feel I need to talk about this.
Leo Varadkar is making a visit to Letterkenny this September 11th while Donald Trump is coming to Ireland in November. I respect and appreciate the anger that people have towards these two cretins and yes, we should voice our opinions towards them with protest and make them know what we think of them.
However, should we direct all our energy to them and focus on nothing else or should we perhaps focus our energies on helping to build a better community for ourselves and others?
Leo Varadkar and Donald Trump will not be visiting those who are struggling to make ends meet, those who are being threatened with eviction notices from their landlords who want them out so they can up the rents of their properties, those waiting in hospitals in trolleys to see a doctor or those fighting to save our post offices and seek out solutions to bring in broadband into rural areas.
No, Varadkar and Trump will be seeking business deals for the millionaires so that they can make a buck and leave the working people of our Ireland out of the loop once again and to foot the bill to who else but the working people!
And so when Leo comes to Letterkenny and we get out our banners and shout from megaphones and the like, what will you be doing after wards? Will you simply walk away back into the grind again until the next protest?
When Trump hops on his plane in Dublin, will you too wrap up your anti-Trump banners and put away the megaphones and go back to doing nothing in your community to empower and to build up a movement that will make real change for the people?
I believe that protest has its place of course and we should indeed get our voices loud. I also believe that once the noise has dampened and the protesters have left, we should carry that energy on to more action and more work, join in movements, go to meetings concerning your community, be part of your community through the bad and good and not just when the popular flavor of the month comes along.
Get involved in something that affects you and your community. Seek out the solutions and alternatives and build from that place. Do not just seek out and complain about it but rather, seek out the problem and transform it for the better.
There is a housing crisis going on where ten thousand people, nearly four thousand children, are homeless, in temporary accommodation or on waiting lists for social housing. There is a health care crisis going on were tens of thousands are waiting to be treated by doctors and nurses, waiting on trolleys for hours and days on end. There is a complete lack of Broadband service in rural areas throughout Ireland and post offices are closing down everywhere.
Protest has its part to play but protest alone will do nothing to change anything.
By promoting the solutions and alternatives to people, by working closely with your community and hearing what people are going through and what they want in their community, by working towards the solutions rather than protesting about the problems, only then can we make the change.
With great power comes great responsibility - A well known quote. But what is more poignant is: with great responsibility, comes great power.
If you wish to get to get involved and make a difference, if you want be part of the movement for the alternative and play your role big or small, in shaping a future for Ireland we can be proud then don’t stand still anywhere. We were not born to stand still.
Be The Movement!
Finn O Donnell is the People Before Profit Letterkenny Branch Organiser and a Long Lane resident. Mr O’Donnell has continually highlighted the issues of the Long Lane before, speaking with other local residents and highlighting on social media. Last year, the PBP representative organised a protest outside the premises of Gleneaney House in Letterkenny to highlight the living conditions of the building. He has also wrote a follow up article with No Bones on the aftermath of the protest and is also a founding member of the Homeless & Housing Coalition - Donegal.