The Rewind

Opinion: This Is Not The Time For 'Ireland's Call'

Opinion: This Is Not The Time For 'Ireland's Call'

Ireland has asked a lot of its citizens these past three weeks.  Our doctors, nurses, paramedics, firemen and guards have heroically risked their lives day after day, but most people have sacrificed something. Tens of thousands of people are out of work. Those working from home are dealing with a subtly challenging new reality that often involves child-rearing and working at the same time plus extreme exposure to family members. It's been hard for everyone, and we're only three weeks in. It's likely to get harder.

The conventional wisdom of most plain folk in Ireland is that our government has performed laudably in this difficult moment. They seem to be communicating honestly and with maturity and calmness. As such, they've earned the good will of the vast majority of Irish people. People are staying indoors.

So it would be an extreme pity of the government chose to flush it all down the jacks by going all in on 'Ireland's Call'.

At a press event today centred on how the creative community might help Ireland cope with Covid-19, Tania Banotti, head of Creative Ireland, said the organisation Sing Ireland is planning to organise an 'online initiative' where people can submit recordings of Ireland's Call to inspire Ireland's frontline medical workers.

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Sometimes, you just need to shout 'stop'. If you'll allow me to speak on behalf of Ireland's medical workers, the last thing anyone wants to hear after a 12-hour shift in an ICU ward is 'Ireland's Call'. The world's cutest child collaborating with Taylor Swift and Christy Moore couldn't make 'Ireland's Call' bearable. And because content like this will inevitably be shared beyond frontline medical staff, the people at Creative Ireland need to realise that they're jeopardising Ireland's collective response to this crisis by subjecting all of us to this kind of thing. We've been treated like adults throughout this process by the government and the HSE, but the prospect of watching user-generated Ireland's Call videos on Easter Sunday is enough to make one want to organise a block party.

Just look at the replies to this.

We have so many great songs, a national songbook that goes back centuries. 'Ireland's Call' has become a marketeers anthem for Ireland. Pick any inspiring song that comes from Ireland. Please don't do this to us. We're begging you.

Donny Mahoney

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