To meet the demands of social media, the reporting of news, good or bad, has to be a fast and efficient process. To that end, I’ve been tasked to write media statements for both a positive and a negative outcome in advance of the decision by ABP. At first, I thought this would be a fairly straightforward task but as I sit to write I’m projected into two diametrically opposed futures. As with any two-party decision, there are winners and losers. Here’s a glimpse into what the future could hold…
A negative outcome
One future scenario sees a negative outcome, where ABP grants permission and the development goes ahead, I see an entire community shell shocked. People meeting on the street, shuffling awkwardly, looking at the ground, long pauses in conversation not knowing what to say. A wake-like atmosphere, as people come to terms with what lies ahead of them, a daunting, uncertain future. The loss of a loved one or in this instance a loved and cherished thing, like a community and a town irreversibly changed. The people of Gort, the losers in this future scenario, will bear the burden for future generations to come.
An entire community reminded of the decision every time they draw a breath and inhale the shitty, eggy smell that permeates the air as far away as our beloved Coole. Reminded every time, they leave one of our many fine pubs after a great night with friends and walk home backlit by the flame stack glowing like a North Sea oil rig, higher than our church spire and visible from every quarter. Reminded every time they have to squeeze hard and pull back on a child’s hand as they attempt to cross the road between another slurry laden tanker roaring through the town. Reminded every time of the once peaceful and serene Golden Mile and Riverwalk now framed by the country’s largest slurry plant a stone’s throw from the town.
In the other camp, champagne corks pop and a few people celebrate their victory. The green light, the go-ahead, the all-clear. Excited plans are made for expensive foreign holidays, perhaps a new car or a second or even third holiday home. We won, we got one over on them, we duped the whole town. The celebration of a few to the detriment of many.
It has taken some time to write these words, for no reason other than it’s a future that’s worrying. The celebration of a few to the detriment of many.
A positive outcome
An alternative future scenario sees a positive outcome, where ABP upholds the decision of Galway County Council and permission is refused. The development is refused, quashed, flattened, a dead duck. People cross the road to confirm the news, phones are checked, messages sent. Can it be true? After a three-year fight, is it gone? Can we now move on? Corks are popped that evening, happy smiles all around. Plans are underway, a party, a celebration, a celebration of the power of people. The people of Gort, a steadfast community galvanised into action, not for personal financial gain but for the benefit of all. I can see the party in my mind’s eye, music on the riverwalk on a summers evening, laughter and chatter permeate the air, not an acrid eggy smell.
These words flow easily, this is the future we want to see.
For now, we will have to wait for ABP to decide our fate. Let’s hope it’s for the benefit of many not the few.
Good words Ciaran highlighting the not so certain future of this wonderful town. Well written and accurately expressed.
Any news? Bill R.